What you need to do
If you are travelling to any country in the EU, or to Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland before or after Brexit, you should:
• get travel insurance to cover the duration of your trip
• speak to your doctor and insurance provider before you travel if you have a pre-existing health condition
Changes after the UK leaves the EU
If you are a UK resident visiting an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, the way you access healthcare could change when the UK leaves the EU.
The UK government is aiming to reach reciprocal healthcare arrangements either across all EU countries or with individual countries.
How you access healthcare might change if the UK does not reach an agreement with the country you plan to visit. For example, you may not be able to use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access healthcare in the same way as you do now. This means you might need to pay for treatment.
The UK government has made an offer to all EU countries to continue the current reciprocal healthcare arrangements in a no-deal Brexit until 31 December 2020. This means the UK would continue to pay for healthcare costs for current or former UK residents who are visiting EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.
The UK has agreed Citizens’ Rights Agreements with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and with Switzerland. These agreements mean that the healthcare entitlements of UK nationals visiting those countries on or before exit day will be protected if there is a no-deal Brexit.
British citizens who visit Ireland, and Irish citizens who visit the UK, will continue to have the right to access healthcare in these countries. This is because of longstanding arrangements under the Common Travel Area.
European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC)
If you have an EHIC issued by the UK, this will remain valid until the UK leaves the EU or if your treatment started before exit day.
You can apply for an EHIC on the NHS website.
Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on decisions by and arrangements with individual countries.
Visiting Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland
If your visit starts before exit day, your EHIC will remain valid for the duration of your trip.
Your EHIC may not be valid if your visit starts after the UK leaves the EU and there is a no-deal Brexit.
You should continue to buy travel insurance if you are planning to visit a country in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland after the UK leaves the EU.
Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare coverage to ensure you can get any treatment you might need.
The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas, both to EU and non-EU destinations.
Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad. If you become medically unwell, or require healthcare overseas, the UK does not routinely cover the costs of bringing people back to the UK.
If you already have travel insurance to cover your trip, check with your insurer to find out if there will be any changes to the way your policy works after the UK leaves the EU. If you have any questions about what your travel insurance policy covers, contact your insurance company.
For more information on travel insurance including healthcare, visit the Association of British Insurers website.
Pre-existing health conditions
If you have any pre-existing health conditions, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel and make plans for how to manage your condition when you are abroad.
Speak to your GP and insurer about how to get the right cover, and how this affects your travel.
Take your health condition identification or letter when you travel, saying what medication you are taking.
You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions.
Studying or working in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland
If you are a UK resident and studying or working in an EU country, your EHIC and/or A1 National Insurance form may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. You should consider buying comprehensive insurance to cover your healthcare for the full length of your course or placement.
If you are a UK resident studying, or about to study, in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, and you are entitled to an EHIC issued by the UK, your EHIC will remain valid for the duration of your course, as long as you stay on it. You need to:
• enrol on your course before the date the UK leaves the EU
• enter the country you’re studying in before the date the UK leaves the EU
Find out more about healthcare access:
• for UK nationals living or working in the EU or Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland
• for UK nationals studying in the EU or Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland
Agreement with Switzerland
The UK has agreed a Citizens’ Rights Agreement with Switzerland.
This means that UK nationals entitled to an EHIC issued by the UK visiting Switzerland before exit day will continue to be entitled to reciprocal healthcare cover for the duration of that visit if there is a no-deal Brexit.
Agreement with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein
The UK has agreed a Citizens’ Rights Agreement with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
This means that UK nationals entitled to an EHIC issued by the UK visiting either Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein before exit day, will continue to be entitled to reciprocal healthcare cover for the duration of that visit if there is a no-deal Brexit.