The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) provides medical care, dental care and other health services.
Am I eligible for NHS treatment?
The following NHS treatment is available to everyone in the UK, including all international students
- some emergency treatment (but not follow-up treatment)
- family planning services
- diagnosis and treatment of certain communicable diseases
There are more treatments other than those on this list that are available for free. To qualify for free or subsidised NHS treatment, you must meet certain conditions. To find out more, please visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.
If you are applying for a visa to come to the UK for more than six months on or after 6 April 2015, you will need to pay an additional NHS health surcharge of £150 per year. This includes students applying from within the UK or from outside the UK.
For further details, including how this may affect any family members travelling with you, please see the UKCISA website.
Do I need health insurance as a student in the UK?
Even if you are eligible for NHS treatment or have paid the surcharge, it is advisable for international students to take out health insurance in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Make sure you are covered if you need to be. Visit the UKCISA website for more details. Ask your school, college or university for advice too – they may offer a specially arranged policy for their students.
Ask your school, college or university for advice too – they may offer a specially arranged policy for their students.
Planning your travel
- Before you can travel to the UK, you may be asked for health certificates proving you have had vaccinations against diseases such as tuberculosis, tetanus, polio, diphtheria, meningitis C and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). If you are coming from a tuberculosis (TB) high-risk area, a chest x-ray report may also be required.
Ask the British Embassy or High Commission in your country what vaccinations you need. If you are on a health-related course, ask your school, college or university if they have any requirements. Even if you don’t need these vaccinations, you may still wish to consider having them anyway, to safeguard your health.
To find your nearest British Embassy or High Commission office, visit the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) website. Don’t forget to bring copies of your health certificates with you when you travel to the UK – you may need to show them when you pass through immigration control.
If you are undergoing medical treatment, have pre-existing serious health issues, or if you are registered as disabled, talk to your school, college or university before you enrol to find out what support they offer.
When you travel to the UK, bring your prescription papers and a doctor’s letter/report (translated into English), giving details of your condition, all treatment and medication you require, plus any assistance you will need while you study in the UK.
All European Economic Area nationals and their families should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to the UK. This card entitles the holder and their family to NHS treatment. Visit the European Commission's website for more information.
When travelling, check with your transport provider what medications you are allowed to take on board with you and what you can take through customs.
Find out more
Visit the UKCISA website for advice on:
NHS and private healthcare services
registering with a doctor and dentist
dealing with emergencies
looking after yourself.
Your school, college or university may be able to help you find a doctor, dentist and other health services. They may also have a nurse resident on the premises. Ask them what support they provide.