Guidance for overseas visitors to the UK
We understand that your visit to our hospitals may be stressful for you, and we would like to make it as easy as possible for you.
This page seeks to provide help and advice on the implementation of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015, as amended. Not everyone is entitled to 'relevant services' without charge in England.
People who do not normally live in this country are not automatically entitled to use the NHS free of charge – regardless of their nationality or whether they hold a British passport or have lived and paid taxes in this country in the past.
Upon arrival in our hospital you will be asked to confirm if you are ordinary resident in the UK or a visitor. As part of your registration you will be asked for proof of ID (passport/visa), to complete registration forms including our Pre-Attendance Form.
We also support Sunflower lanyards
Wearing a sunflower lanyard at our trust enables our colleagues to recognise that you have a hidden disability without you needing to declare it. This allows you like at the airport to receiving any additional support during your stay, any of our colleagues will be able to support.
The NHS requires evidence to determine if you need to pay for your treatment. Patients who are ordinarily resident in the UK or who fall within certain exemption categories will not need to pay. You will however still need to provide evidence to demonstrate you are exempt by sending relevant documents.
A) At least one itme with your photo
- UK Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
- National ID card
B) At least one item to prove where you live
- Water, gas, electric or Council Tax bill
- Bank or building society statement
- Phone bill (landline)- Driving licence (if it has a photo)
- Mortgage or rental agreement
(The proof you use must be less than 3 months old. Your name and address needs to be on the letter.)
C) Any other personal documents that can help establish your eligibility
- Non-UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) for EHIC
- An IND and ARC (for patients claiming asylum)
- Any other Home Office issued documents
Please note that having an NHS number does not automatically make you eligible for free NHS treatment.
If you cannot provide documents, you may have to make an interim payment equal to the estimated cost of your treatment before you can be given an appointment or receive any treatment.
Maternity services or any treatment which clinicians consider to be immediately necessary or urgent will not be withheld. However, charges will still apply and you will receive an invoice for your treatment.
Students from EEA & Switzerland on courses which last less than six months will not pay the health surcharge and may use their EHIC/PRC to access needs-arising healthcare.
Non EEA & Switzerland students on courses which last less than six months will have to pay for their medical care.
If the course exceeds more than Six months provide evidence of your paid health insurance, visa,Biometric Residents' Permit (BRP);We will also require a letter from the UK school, college or university at which you are studying, confirming that you are taking a course there and whether it is full-time or part-time, its duration and confirmation of your rate of attendance.
Patients living in the European Economic Area (EEA)
If you access our services because a medical emergency arose during your visit to the UK, you will need to show your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC).
If you do not have these documents with you, and cannot demonstrate that you have an exemption to charges, you will be required to pay for your treatment and recover the costs from your 'healthcare abroad team', when you return home.
How can I obtain a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC)?
It is up to you to apply for a PRC and provide it to the hospital within 48 hours of the hospital admission- Please go to the European Commission website and enter your search criteria. Alternatively, download the EHIC app to your smartphone and within the section called "I lost my card", select your country. Your health insurer's telephone number, email and website address will then be made available.
Before your visit
We help you:
If you are an Overseas Visitor about to access immediately necessary or urgent care please contact your insurance company and open your claim then forward this insurance coverage confirmation to our Overseas Team by email email@example.com who will be able to assist you further and raise invoices to your insurance companies. You can also schedule an appointment with a member of the overseas team for advice and assistance with medical billing information.
During your visit
Patients with insurance will not need to pay at the time of treatment if their insurance provider supplies the hospital with a letter of guaranteed payment before your discharge from our care. This will be assessed based on the information available to us at the time of your attendance and after consultation with your insurance company.
Although we provide you with an estimate of your treatment costs, we will assess the actual cost once you are discharged from our care and we have issued a final invoice (which happens as soon as possible after discharge). Please note this may differ from the estimate, depending on diagnosis and eventual treatment. Any overpayment will be refunded once the final invoice has been issued.
Billing and assistance with financial arrangements.
Payment coordination, whether you are paying for yourself (self-pay), using international insurance or embassy-sponsored.
In-person or virtual language assistance and interpretation services.
Updates to sponsoring embassies or international insurance providers regarding your medical care needs.
After your visit
We continue to be your main contact for any medical / billing concerns
Non-urgent or elective treatment
Must be withheld by law from chargeable overseas visitors until the estimated full cost of the treatment has been paid. The decision will be based on clinical opinion.
How to pay
Patients that use this online payment to pay us must ensure the email address is accurate - it is used for their receipt and is needed in case of queries. Should a patient have any queries regarding payment, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org. They must quote full name and invoice number or account number. Invoice number: Enter prefix OVS followed by account number, to allow identification. All account numbers have eight digits, eg. OVS12345678.
Failure to pay
We ask that you settle your invoice immediately on receiving it. If you have financial difficulties please let us know, so that we can work with you to explore payment options.
You should be aware that under paragraphs 320(22) and 322(12), and 3.14 of Appendix V, of the Immigration Rules a person subject to immigration control with outstanding debts of over £500 for NHS treatment that is not paid within two months of invoicing, may be denied a 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 two months, you are advised to retain and carry evidence of payment for potential examination by Home Office officials.
Some NHS services are free of charge to everyone. This includes family planning services and treatment for certain infectious diseases. Treatment in the Emergency Department is free only up to the point that an overseas visitor is admitted as an inpatient or given an outpatient appointment. This means that emergency treatment elsewhere in the hospital, or urgent treatment after admission, is chargeable
Patients that complete online surveys often give more detailed & truthful responses away from the provider’s environment.
Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm on 0044 (0)1895 279713, or via the hospital switchboard on 0044 (0)1895 238282. Email: email@example.com
Finance Department (Accounts Receivable)