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Asylum support

Asylum support and healthcare

If you're a carer seeking asylum in the UK, you and your family can get free healthcare from the NHS while your application is being considered.

This means that you and your family can register with a doctor (GP) in your area and with a dentist. You can also receive free hospital treatment, if you need it.

If you receive asylum support from the UK Border Agency, you may be able to get free:

You will need an HC2 certificate from the UK Border Agency, which you present to your pharmacist, optician or dentist to get these benefits. The certificate is free and can be used by you or your dependants (husband, wife, partner, child or other family member who you support financially). It is valid for six months.

You will need to ask your case owner (the person dealing with your asylum application) about getting an HC2 certificate.

Not receiving asylum support

If you don't receive asylum support from the UK Border Agency, you can still get help with health and medical costs by completing an HC1 form, which you can get from your Jobcentre Plus office, NHS hospital or by calling the Health Cost advice line on 0845 850 1166.

The HC1 form can be used to claim help for NHS prescriptions, dental care, and sight tests and vouchers to help pay for glasses.

Special health needs

If you or any of your dependants have any special health needs (for example, if you have HIV or tuberculosis, or severe mental health problems) you should inform your case owner.

You can get medical advice from a nurse at any time by calling NHS 111. You can ask them for an interpreter if you need help when you call.

If someone is seriously ill and needs to go to hospital immediately, you can call 999 from any phone and ask for an ambulance. This is a free call to the emergency services (police, fire or ambulance), but must be used only in an emergency. You can ask for an interpreter if you do not speak English.

If you have been a victim of torture, you may be able to receive specialist help and support from the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and the Helen Bamber Foundation. These are registered charities that give:

  • medical and social care
  • practical help
  • psychological and physical therapy to help you return to health

If you need help from either of these organisations, your legal representative, nearest One Stop Services office or case owner can put you in touch with them.

If you don't have a case owner, you can contact the asylum support customer contact centre on 0845 602 1739 between 9am and 9pm Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.

If you're homeless and have no money to live on, you can apply to the UK Border Agency for asylum support for help with living expenses and somewhere to live.

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Page last reviewed: 19/08/2013

Next review due: 19/08/2015

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