United Kingdom EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)

What is an EHIC?
An EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is a little plastic card which ensures that you (the EU citizen) and your family members can benefit from healthcare throughout the EEA (European Economic Area) at a cost which is no more than those who are nationals of the host member state would pay.

Who can obtain an EHIC?
The rules governing EHIC eligibility are set out in Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:166:0001:0123:en:PDF

(In short: An EU Citizen, who is a national of the state, or paying social security contributions in the state, AND their family – with an emphasis on no discrimination.)

 

How do I get my EHIC
The EHIC is free of charge and you can apply or renew a card via the official EHIC online application form. Beware of unofficial websites, which may charge if you apply through them.

What if I’m not resident within the United Kingdom?
If you are not resident within the United Kingdom, DO NOT PANIC. You (and your family) are still eligible for the same social benefits as other citizens of the EU within an EU member state.  It is however a slightly more complicated process.

What if my spouse/family are not resident within the United Kingdom?
Only the main applicant needs to be resident within the United Kingdom. This means that if the EU Citizen is resident within the United Kingdom, they can obtain an EHIC. The main applicant can then add all of their family members to their own application, regardless of whether the family are resident within the United Kingdom (or the rest of the EU). Please note: Confirmation that this is the case took considerable persistence, but the response was finally sent on WhatDoTheyKnow and the EHIC form was also changed as a result of the FOI Request – DOH – EHIC (See the long email body attachment dated 15th September 2015) – the operative parts of the request being:

[1.] Is a non UK resident – who is a direct family member of a British Citizen, (who is resident within the UK) entitled to hold an EHIC issued by the UK.:
The rules governing EHIC eligibility are set out in Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:166:0001:0123:en:PDF

Further information is available on the NHS Choices website:

http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/movingabroad/Pages/Introduction.aspx

[2.] What would be the process for applying for the EHIC for said NON EU- Non UK Resident be.:

2. The application for a “family member” can be made on an application where the “main applicant” is a UK resident. The application can be made via the internet, telephone and postal routes as follows:

Application route
How to apply
Internet
www.nhs.uk/ehic
Telephone
0300 3301350 or 0191 279 0575
Post
Download an application form at http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Documents/ehic-app-form.pdf

I am aware that the NHS website has recently been updated to include the line:

I agree that all persons to be specified in this application are UK residents.

[3.] Please provide all information which you store relating to when this update was conducted. Please provide the reason for adding the line to the website.

3. …..
Thank you for highlighting the discrepancy within the ‘Terms and Conditions’ (T&C’s) of the EHIC application. We have now changed the relevant line in the T&C’s to reflect this. The updated line now read as follows:
“I agree that the main applicant specified in this application is a UK resident”.

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