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Travelling in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland

If you're using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by the UK, this will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU or if your treatment started before exit day.

You should prepare for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there's a no-deal Brexit and you're a UK national travelling to the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

Your EHIC may not be valid if there's a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on arrangements with individual countries and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Check the guide for the country you're travelling to

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you're planning to visit a country in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland after the UK leaves the EU.

The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas, both to EU and non-EU destinations.

Check that your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover so you can get any treatment you might need.

For example, if you have any pre-existing health conditions, talk to a GP and your insurer about how to get the right cover and how this affects your travel.

The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

If you already have travel insurance to cover a trip during or after Brexit, speak to your insurer to find out if there will be any changes to the way your policy works.

If you have any questions about what your travel insurance policy covers, you should contact your insurance company.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Until the UK leaves the EU

The 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.

An EHIC covers you for any treatment you need until your planned return.

In the state healthcare system, you have the right to insist your EHIC is accepted. You do not have to provide travel insurance details unless you choose to do so.

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.

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 or being flown back to the UK.

The EHIC will also not cover your medical expenses if you're going abroad specifically to have treatment.

Find out about planning medical treatment abroad

If you're using an EHIC issued by the UK, this will remain valid until the UK leaves the EU or if your treatment started before exit day.

Using an EHIC in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland

The UK has agreed Citizens' Rights Agreements with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

If your visit starts before exit day, your EHIC will remain valid for the duration of your trip.

Your EHIC may not be valid if your visit starts after the UK leaves the EU and there is a no-deal Brexit.

Check advice for the country you're visiting

Each country has specific guidance on how to access healthcare or claim refunds.

If you intend to move abroad or are going abroad specifically to have treatment, different rules apply and these may change when the UK leave the EU.

Find out about healthcare when moving abroad

The following European countries do not accept the EHIC:

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

In countries where the EHIC is accepted, it'll remain valid until the UK leaves the EU or if your treatment started before exit day.

Page last reviewed: 28 August 2019
Next review due: 28 August 2022