Healthcare for International Students
Information for international students about National Health Service (NHS) entitlement, health insurance and immunisations before you arrive in the UK.
The National Health Service (NHS) provides a wide range of health care. Some NHS services are free for non-UK students, but some you may need to pay for.
If you’re an international student, you won’t be charged for the care you receive at the University Health Service or treatment received within the Accident and Emergency department of a hospital. This is free to all overseas visitors.
You may have to pay for other community services (for example: midwifery, health visiting, community nursing) and for further hospital treatment, depending on the type of treatment required and your immigration status.
You must bring evidence of your BRP / visa / EHIC with you to all hospital appointments, otherwise, you may have to pay for treatment regardless of whether you’re exempt.
You can also pay for insurance for private health care if you wish.
If you’re on a course lasting 3 months or less, you can register as a temporary patient with us.
If you're studying for more than 6 months, you are usually required to pay the Immigration health surcharge as part of your visa application fee. This will enable you to access NHS services in the UK in the same way as a resident.
Some exceptions exist for non-urgent elective or expensive discretionary treatments. Some dental or optical treatment and pharmacy medicines prescribed by the doctor may need to be paid for.
The surcharge is mandatory if you’re wishing to enter or study in the UK on a Student visa.
Student dependants will also be required to pay the surcharge and may also be required to pay in advance for non-urgent elective or expensive discretionary treatments.
If you’re and EU or Swiss student, you may be able to apply for a full or partial refund of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) in some circumstances (please see the section on EEA & Swiss Students below)
For information on which visa categories require an IHS payment, and which do not, see the information here.
If you come to the UK as a Visitor, or another category of visa that is only granted for 6 months or less, you and any dependants travelling with you should obtain private medical insurance.
You will not be charged for the care you receive at the University Health Service or any treatment provided within an Accident and Emergency Department, but you will be required to pay in advance for all NHS hospital treatment.
If you have valid permission granted under the EU Settlement Scheme (either pre-settled or settled status) you will not be charged treatment, as long as you are ordinarily resident in the UK.
Otherwise, your access to NHS treatment is determined by a number of factors including your nationality, type of permission you have to be in the UK (ie visa) and how long you are studying here.
There are different arrangements depending on whether you’re a EU national or a national of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.
Studying for up to 6 months
If your permission for the UK is valid for 6 months or less (eg if you’re in the UK as a Visitor), and:
- You have a European health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by an EU country or Switzerland; or
- You’re a Norwegian citizen with a valid Norwegian passport
You can access NHS services for urgent and immediately necessary treatment in much the same way as an ordinary resident, with the costs being recovered from your home state.
You should bring the EHIC with you whenever you attend a GP or hospital appointment.
Non-urgent elective or expensive discretionary treatments must be paid for in advance of treatment. Some dental or optical treatment and pharmacy medicines prescribed by the doctor may also need to be paid for.
The EHIC card must be issued by your home country, a UK EHIC card is not valid for use within the UK.
If you’re a citizen of Iceland or Liechtenstein, you may have to pay for any NHS treatment. Any treatment that you need to pay for will be charged at 150% of the national NHS rate.
Studying for more than 6 months
If you’re studying for more than 6 months, in most cases you will have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) when you submitted your visa application.
If you’re a student, you may be able to apply for a full or partial refund of your IHS fee if you:
- are a full-time student; and
- your visa started on or after 1 January 2021; and
- you have a EHIC card issued in an EU country or Switzerland; and
- you do not work
You can apply for a refund of the IHS you paid to cover any period starting on or after:
- 1 January 2021 - if your EHIC was issued in the EU
- 1 November 2021 - if your EHIC was issued in Switzerland
The amount you’re refunded will depend on the date your EHIC runs expires.
You must ensure that you are fully aware of the implications of requesting a refund before doing so.
For further information, contact the Overseas Visitor Team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals:
- Tel: +44 114 271 2981
- Email: email@example.com
You may wish to consider taking out insurance, even if you’re entitled to free NHS treatment whilst in the UK. An insurance policy may cover, for example:
- costs of returning home if a relative is ill
- cost of returning to your home country for treatment
- to cover the loss of fees if you are unable to complete your course due to ill health
- to access private medical treatment within the UK
- any additional travel outside of the UK
- or in the worst possible situation, returning a body home for burial.
Before coming to the UK, it is recommended that you are immunised against the following:
- Tuberculosis – As per instructions from the UK Home Office. The University Health Service will also carry out a TB blood test if you are from a country that has a high prevalence of TB. Our Tuberculosis screening web page has more information about visa implications.
- Meningitis ACWY
- MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
If you have a health record with details of your immunisations, bring this with you.
These immunisations are also available at the University Health Service, free of charge, if you have not already had them before arriving in the UK.
- Bring a summary of your medical records with you, translated into English if possible.
- Read about the Student Support Services department and Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) so that we can provide confidential support throughout your studies.
- Find out whether you can get your medicine in the UK. If you cannot get your medicine in the UK, bring enough for the duration of your stay.
- If your medication is available in the UK, bring enough with you to last at least two months, as you may not be able to see a doctor straight away.
- Bring a letter of explanation from your doctor for any medication you bring with you.