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Overseas Visitors

Overseas Visitors

The National Health Service (NHS) provides free hospital treatment for people who live in the United Kingdom only.

If you do not normally live in this country and you do not meet one of the exemptions from charges criteria you will have to pay for any treatment you need. This is regardless of your nationality; whether you hold a British passport; have lived in and paid National Insurance and taxes in the UK in the past; or have been issued with an HC2 certificate.

If you think that you are exempt from charges, our Overseas Visitor Officer will ask you to provide evidence to confirm that you are eligible to have free NHS treatment – we are required by law to do this.

The baseline questions you will be asked are:

  • Do you have a non-UK EHIC/PRC/S2?
  • Where have you lived for the past six months?
  • Do you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK?
  • Do you have a valid visa or leave to enter/remain in the UK?
  • Have you paid the health surcharge or are you exempt or waived from paying it?

To avoid payment, you need to provide evidence that you are either ordinarily resident in the UK or fall within an exemption category.

What you need to do:

Send evidence that you are ordinarily resident in the UK or fall within an exemption category.  The documents you need to provide are listed on the reverse of this letter.  These documents will be used to determine your status (all original documents will be returned).


Send your documents to: Mrs C Dodd, Finance Department, Finance Hub Level 1, Darent Valley Hospital,           Darenth Wood Road, Dartford, Kent DA2 8DA.

If you do not provide satisfactory evidence to support your claim, you will be liable for the cost of any treatment provided to you.  You will be issued with an invoice for the costs of any treatment already provided to you and you will be required to pay the full cost of any future NHS hospital treatment. 

If you would like to discuss your claim please contact Mrs Dodd on 01322 482 100 ext: 4725 between 09:00 and 17:00. 

Visitors from the European Economic Area (EEA)

If you fall ill or have a medical emergency during your temporary stay in England, then you'll need a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)  issued by your home country. If you can't show a valid EHIC, you may be charged for your treatment.

If your EHIC has been lost or stolen during your visit in England and you need a replacement, then you'll have to contact the relevant organisation in your home country to request a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC).

If you do not have an EHIC and cannot obtain a PRC, you may have to pay for treatment at the standard NHS rate.

Visitors from a non-EEA country

You need to ensure you are covered for healthcare through personal medical or travel insurance for the duration of your visit even if you are a former UK resident. If you need NHS treatment and you have not arranged insurance, you will be charged unless an exemption category applies to either you or the treatment. 

If we decide that you are not entitled to free NHS treatment (in accordance with current overseas visitors hospital charging regulations), you will have to pay for your treatment and the full cost of any prescribed medication and asked to sign an ‘Undertaking to Pay’ form.

If you have travel insurance you will have to pay for your treatment first and then reclaim it back from your insurance company afterwards. If for any reason, you require further treatment, additional charges will be made.

Immigration Rules

You should be aware that under immigration rules 320, 321, 321A and 322, a person with outstanding debts of over £500.00 for NHS treatment that are not paid within 2 months of invoicing, may be denied further immigration application to enter or remain in the UK. 

In the absence of prompt full settlement or a reasonable repayment schedule, non-clinical information relating to this debt is provided routinely to the Home Office and may be used by the Home Office to apply the above immigration rules.  The information will remain active for the purpose of the above rules until the debt is settled and a record of the settled debt will also be retained, both subject to normal limitation periods. 

In the event that you may seek entry to the UK or make an advance immigration application after settling an NHS debt in the previous three months, you are advised to retain and carry evidence of payment for potential examination by Home Office officials.