15th May 2016

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or e111 

EHIC is a free card that you can use to access state-provided healthcare for your temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Medical cure and treatment are given as its citizen, considerate to all their medical necessity even their pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care. Mostly, medical cost is free funded or at a reduced cost. 

You can apply for or renew your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), if you are from the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. These cards are issued from National health insurance provider of the country you applied from. If you are from EEA countries your EHIC entitlement insurability is under the European Union (EU). The UK operates residency-based healthcare system, thus EHIC is insured by residential history and not by contributions of your previous National Insurance or UK taxes. If you are ordinarily resident and work or do not work in the UK, your entitled UK EHIC is insured by the UK under the EU law.

When to apply for the European Health Insurance Card:

  • Planning to go on a holiday to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland
  • Regularly visit any of these countries
  • Plan to go any of these countries to seek work
  • Sent by your employer for temporary work but paying tax in Ireland
  • Plan to take a course of study but still being an ordinary resident in Ireland
  • Plan to stay for a temporary period where healthcare is not the purpose of the visit.

Its not necessary to get EHIC for a temporary visit to the UK instead need to show your proof of being and ordinary resident in Ireland. Such proofs could be your driving license, passport or similar document

What is not covered by the EHIC?

Each country has different healthcare system, which might not include all things you expect to get free of charge or at least cost. Sometimes you might need to contribute for the cost of your care. 

EHIC is not an alternative for travel insurance; it doesn’t cover any kind of private medical healthcare and personal losses, not specifically if you are traveling for a health treatment (including giving birth). It doesn’t guarantee you any free services but the state-provided healthcare facilities. It is recommended to acquire both your EHIC and private travel insurance policy before your travel. You may not be able to use the card, as some parts of EEA might not have state-provided healthcare.

Am I covered even if I travel without my EHIC?

If you are travelling without your EHIC and need a medical treatment during your visit, those times you will need a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) to verify your entitlement to the EHIC. Your PRC will be faxed and emailed at the treatment place.

To apply for a PRC, call the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm and provide your full name, date of birth, your PIN if you remember. 

What happens if my card is lost/stolen?

To replace your lost EHIC, call 0300 330 1350, Mon to Fri 8am to 1pm

Also, email nhsbsa.ehicenquiries@nhsbsa.nhs.uk or write in:

EHIC Enquiries
PO Box 1114
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE99 2TL

You need to provide your full name, date of birth, your PIN if you remember. You can also apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) or someone else can also apply on your behalf. It gives the same cover as an EHIC and directly sent to your treatment place.

To apply, call Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0) 191 218 1999, Mon to Fri, 8am to 5pm.

If you need to request a PRC beside the opening hours, call the OHT to request PRC as soon as possible for the next working day.

You will need to provide your name, address and date of birth.

Can I claim a refund?

Some of the EEA countries have different healthcare systems. Some of them expect you to pay your bill when you are being treated, some may claim a refund after you return to home country.

Some of the countries may ask for patient contribution as “co-payment”. These payments are typically for GP or Dentist Consultations, their prescriptions or stay in hospital.

You can find out more about it on the country-by-country guide.

Make sure to collect all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if possible), to refund or reimbursement from your insurance company.


For further advice, contact Overseas Healthcare Team at the Department of Work and Pensions:

Overseas Healthcare Team
Room MO401
Durham House, Washington, Tyne & Wear
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE38 7SF

Tel: 0191 218 1999 Mon to Fri, 8am to 5pm