You are here:

Moving to England

Moving to England from the EEA or Switzerland

The NHS operates a residence-based healthcare system and not every person is entitled to free NHS treatment in England. Provision of free NHS treatment is on the basis of being ordinarily resident and is not dependent upon nationality, payment of UK taxes, national insurance (NI) contributions, being registered with a GP, having an NHS number or owning property in the UK. Ordinarily resident means, broadly speaking, living in the UK on a lawful and properly settled basis for the time being.

If you are not ordinarily resident in the UK, you are considered to be an overseas visitor and may be charged for NHS hospital services. It is strongly recommended that you take out sufficient health insurance to cover your stay.

For a detailed definition about what being ordinarily resident means, see the Guidance on overseas visitors hospital charging regulations, Chapter 3, page 27 on the GOV.UK website.

If you are a non-European Economic Area (EEA) national subject to immigration control, read the section Moving to England from outside the EEA, as different rules may apply.

The EEA is a free trade zone between countries of the European Union (EU), Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. The regulations on access to healthcare in the EEA also apply to Switzerland.

When your health costs in the UK are covered by another EEA country or Switzerland

Under certain circumstances, your healthcare may be paid for by your country of residence. This may apply to, for example, pensioners or seconded workers. For more details, look up the relevant category below.  

 

State pensioners or benefit holders

If you are in receipt of a state pension or another exportable benefit from another EEA country or Switzerland, you will need to check with the relevant authorities to see if they are responsible for your health costs in England. If so, you may need to apply for an S1 form in your country.

Once issued, you'll need to register your S1 in England to access NHS care on the same basis as ordinary residents. Send the S1 directly to the Overseas Healthcare Team to this address for it to be processed:

Overseas Healthcare Team
Department for Work & Pensions
Durham House
Washington
Tyne and Wear
NE38 7SF

Workers

If you are coming to England as a posted or a frontier worker, you will need to check with the relevant authorities in your home country about whether they are responsible for your healthcare costs in the UK. You need one of the following:

  • A1 form  proof that you pay NI contributions in your country and a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
  • S1 form – issued in your country

Once you have the relevant forms, register them with the Overseas Healthcare Team. Sent a copy of your forms to: 

Overseas Healthcare Team
Department for Work & Pensions
Durham House
Washington
Tyne and Wear
NE38 7SF

Students

If you are a student from the EEA or Switzerland, you will need a valid EHIC issued by your home country. You'll need to present the card every time that medical care becomes necessary while you complete your course in England. This will ensure that you are not charged when NHS charges for hospital care would otherwise apply.

Rules are different for non-EEA students. For more advice, see Moving to England from outside the EEA

Page last reviewed: 18/08/2015

Next review due: 18/08/2017

Paying NHS charges

Read about rules on exemptions, claiming refunds, and what happens if you're caught claiming refunds dishonestly