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Studying abroad

You should prepare for possible changes to how you access healthcare that may happen if there's a no-deal Brexit.

Studying abroad after Brexit

If you're planning to study abroad in the EU after Brexit, you should continue to buy insurance so you can get the healthcare treatment you need, just as you would if studying in a non-EU country.

If you’re already studying in an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland before the UK leaves the EU, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will continue to be valid for the duration of your course.

Students starting courses after the UK leaves the EU should ensure they have comprehensive healthcare cover in place.

Check the guide for the country you're travelling to

Find out more about healthcare abroad on GOV.UK

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

Studying abroad before Brexit

If you're planning to study in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you'll need to apply for a student EHIC.

A student EHIC is a special time-limited EHIC for students who are going abroad on a study or work placement that lasts over 6 weeks.

If you have a regular EHIC, it will not be valid for your placement abroad.

The student EHIC gives the same access to state-provided healthcare as a regular EHIC and is only valid for the duration of your placement abroad, as long as you intend to return to the UK at the end of the placement.

To apply for a student EHIC, you'll need to download the EHIC application form (PDF, 435kb) and return it to the NHS Business Services Authority.

You cannot apply for a student EHIC online or over the phone.

If you already have a regular EHIC, you'll need to return it when you apply for a student EHIC.

You may lose your entitlement to a student EHIC if your circumstances change (for example, if you start working in the country where you're studying).

In those circumstances, you may need to register for state healthcare in the country where you're studying or get private healthcare insurance.

Follow EHIC on Facebook for the latest updates from the NHS Business Services Authority and answers to your questions.

You can also contact the NHS Business Services Authority by post:

NHS Business Services Authority
EHIC Applications
Bridge House
152 Bridge House
Pilgrim Street
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 6SN

The course is part of a UK university course

Make sure that when you submit your student EHIC application, you include a letter from your university or college confirming the:

  • name and address of the UK educational institution
  • address of where you're studying overseas
  • details of the qualification you're studying for
  • date your course started
  • date you're due to finish your course

The course dates must be for your entire university or college course (from the start of your first year to the end of your final year), not just the period you're studying abroad.

The course is not part of a UK university course

You're entitled to a student EHIC as long as you intend to return to the UK at the end of the course.

Make sure that when you submit your student EHIC application, you include a letter from your university or college confirming the:

  • address of where you're studying overseas
  • details of the qualification you're studying for
  • date your course started
  • date you're due to finish your course

The course dates must be for your entire university or college course (from the start of your first year to the end of your final year), not just the period you're studying abroad.

Page last reviewed: 23 September 2019
Next review due: 23 September 2022