Accessibility statement

Healthcare for international students

For details of accessing healthcare in York, including finding a doctor or seeking emergency care, see our healthcare  page.

All students, regardless of nationality and length of course, are entitled to the following free National Health Service (NHS) treatments:

  • Emergency treatment
  • Family planning services, including contraception
  • Treatment of certain communicable diseases
  • Compulsory psychiatric treatment
  • Testing and treatment for coronavirus, which includes being vaccinated

See the NHS Choices information for Visitors from outside the EEA about free services.

Am I eligible for further free healthcare in the UK?

Whether you qualify for other NHS treatment depends on nationality and the duration of the course you are studying.

Studying in the UK for 6 months or less

You will likely not be eligible for free NHS treatments, apart from in the limited scenarios listed at the top of this web-page, unless you are a Student Visa holder. 

Paying for healthcare can be extremely expensive therefore it is very important to arrange travel insurance, which includes medical cover, before travelling to the UK.

Citizens of EU/EEA/Switzerland should also note the following;

  • If you are an EU citizen you should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your resident country before travelling to the UK. This card enables you to qualify for free NHS care for both un-planned treatment and pre-existing medical conditions, for the duration of your studies (up to 6 months). An EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and it is advised that you should have both during your stay.
  • If you are a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland; you may not be able to use your EHIC card to access free NHS treatment, unless you arrived in the UK before the 31st December 2020.
  • If you are a citizen of Norway you can use your Norwegian passport to get medically necessary healthcare for free (for example an accident or illness that can’t wait until you get home) for the duration of your studies (up to 6 months).

Studying in the UK for 6 months or more (Student Visa holder)

You will have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of your Student Visa application, entitling you (and any of your dependants) to free NHS care while you are in the UK.
Babies born in the UK to international students are only entitled to free NHS treatment until they are three months old. After this point you must apply for a dependent visa for the baby and pay the IHS fee.

Indefinite leave to remain in the UK (including EU Settlement Scheme)

If you have indefinite leave to remain to reside and settle in the UK you should qualify for free NHS treatment.

If you are a EU,EEA or Swiss citizen, living in the UK by 31st December 2020, you should be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme. Settled and pre-settled status holders will be entitled to free NHS care. The deadline for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme is 30th June 2021 and you can find further information on our EU advice web-page.

Refugees and asylum seekers

As a refugee or asylum seeker both yourself and your dependents will be exempt from NHS charges. For further information on support please see our dedicated webpages for refugees and asylum seekers.

Non-UK resident British or Irish passport holder

You should be eligible for free NHS care while you are residing in the UK for your studies. You would not, however, be eligible for free care if just visiting the UK (e.g. a holiday) or were only travelling to the UK for the purpose of accessing healthcare. 

What NHS services might I need to pay for?

Even if you are entitled to NHS treatment there are some services you will be required to pay for:

  • Medicines prescribed by your GP
  • Some GP services such as travel vaccinations and obtaining a sickness certificate - ask your GP about costs
  • Ongoing treatments for an illness which was present before entering the UK
  • Dental treatment
  • Optical treatment

If you are under 19 years of age, you can apply for the HC1 certificate which exempts you from some of the charges above.  See information for those visiting or moving to England on the NHS website.

Do I need private medical insurance?

If you are not entitled to free NHS treatment, you should take out adequate medical insurance, preferably before arriving in the UK, to cover medical costs and the possible additional costs resulting from that illness, such as a flight home.

Even if you are entitled to free NHS treatment whilst in the UK, you may wish to consider taking out private medical insurance. Sometimes there are long waiting lists for non-emergency NHS services and private medical insurance could give you much quicker access to the treatment you need.

If private dental treatment is required it can be extremely expensive and students are strongly advised to obtain medical insurance to cover this.