Any UK national that visits an EU nation or Switzerland must have any of the following:
- EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)
- UK GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card)
Apart from any of the following they should also be covered by travel insurance that includes health coverage. Having a GHIC/EHIC is no substitute for travel insurance. Those UK nationals visiting an EU country should have both. As the healthcare system differs in EU nations, there may be a need for a small amount to be paid at the time of treatment.
Getting a GHIC
Having a GHIC makes a card owner eligible for essential state healthcare in any EU nation free or at a reduced cost.
If the EHIC has validity for the duration of the trip (at least 6 months) there is no need to apply for a substitute GHIC.
Both an EHIC/GHIC can be on travel to the EU or Switzerland.
Those needing a new GHIC can apply online.
Taking a trip to Switzerland
The EHIC or GHIC can be used on a visit to Switzerland to access necessary state healthcare for free or at times for a reduced cost for the following:
UK/ Swiss national
Citizen of the EU
Survivor/dependant of an individual with any of the mentioned statuses/ nationalities. The EHIC/ GHIC is only valid in Switzerland in any of the above conditions. There might be a need to show proof of nationality when using the EHIC/GHIC in Switzerland.
Going to Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway
A UK passport can be used for necessary medical treatment in Norway
Most UK EHICs/GHICs cannot be used in Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. Instead, ensure to have travel insurance including medical coverage on a trip. If medical treatment is not included in travel insurance there may be charges for treatment that cannot be reimbursed.
Anyone that has visited any of these countries Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway before January 01, 2021, and is still there can use their UK EHIC until they leave the country.
Who is eligible for using a UK EHIC
Certain individuals can use a UK EHIC on trips to Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway like:
Any EU, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Swiss or Norway national that is residing in the UK before January 01, 2021.
A UK state pensioner staying in the EU, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland or Norway before January 01, 2021.
Any frontier worker that began working before January 01, 2021, and remains a frontier worker in a host country.
Any dependant/ eligible family member
UK nationals studying in the EU
Those that are studying and living in Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway before January 01, 2021, need to get a UK EHIC. Cardholders will get access to state healthcare until they complete their course.
Using the EHIC/GHIC
Neither EHIC nor EHIC offer coverage for private treatment. They only cover state healthcare.
Having a GHI/ EHIC entitles the cardholder to get necessary medical treatment free or at the same cost as the residents of the nation where you are receiving treatment. Each country will have its state healthcare guidelines coverage so check the country’s health policy before visiting.
At no point is the EHIC/GHIC any kind of replacement for travel insurance as the former has its limitations. Therefore, it is imperative to have both travel insurance and EHIC/GHIC when you plan a trip. In case of not having an EHIC/GHIC/PRC (provisional replacement certificate), there will be a need to pay the full treatment costs.
Some EU nations where the GHIC/EHIC is not valid:
The Channel Islands including Sark, Alderney and Guernsey
The Isle of Man