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Country-by-country guide

Travelling in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

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

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free, on the same basis as a resident of that country.

It will cover you for necessary treatment needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care, as long as you're not going abroad to give birth

Note: The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property. The EHIC will also not cover your medical expenses if you are going abroad specifically to have treatment.

If you intend to move abroad or are going abroad specifically to have treatment, different rules may apply. Read about moving abroad or planning medical treatment abroad before you read about the details of the country you're visiting.

If you find yourself in an emergency during your visit to Europe, dial 112. The European emergency number is valid in all EU/EEA member states and is free of charge. You can use it to reach emergency services from any telephone or mobile phone free of charge.

Note: the following European countries do not accept the EHIC. Ensure you have adequate insurance before you travel.

  • The Channel Islands, including Guernsey, Alderney and Sark
  • The Isle of Man
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • The Vatican

Each EEA country listed below has specific guidance on how to access healthcare or claim refunds. Select the country you intend to visit:

Page last reviewed: 25/08/2016

Next review due: 25/08/2019

European countries that do not accept the EHIC

The countries listed below do not accept a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Ensure you have adequate insurance before you travel.

  • The Channel Islands, including Guernsey, Alderney and Sark
  • The Isle of Man
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • The Vatican  

 

EHIC: packing for your holiday

Be prepared for your holiday, and make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It costs nothing to apply for or renew an EHIC. For more information, email the NHS Business Services Authority (nhsbsa.ehicenquiries@nhsbsa.nhs.uk) or call 0300 330 1350.

Media last reviewed: 16/06/2015

Next review due: 16/06/2017

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