International Students & NHS Entitlement

International students can be seen by a doctor at the University Health Service whilst studying at the University of Sheffield. 

If you are on a course lasting 3 months or less you may be registered as a temporary patient at the University Health Service. Please note if you are on a course lasting 6 months or less, you may not be entitled to further NHS treatment (for example onward referral to hospital services, if required), so you should arrange medical insurance before you arrive.

NHS Entitlement

Healthcare for non UK students

The National Health Service (NHS) provides a wide range of health care. Some NHS services are free at point of contact for non-UK students, some you may need to pay for. It is also possible to pay insurance for private health care if you choose to do so.

You will not 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 (e.g. midwifery, health visiting, community nursing etc.) and for further hospital treatment depending on the type of treatment required and your immigration status.

You will be expected to bring evidence of your BRP / visa / EHIC with you to all hospital appointments. Without such documentation, you may have to pay for treatment, regardless of any exemptions you may hold.

Non-EEA Students

Non-EEA Students Studying for more than 6 months

Immigration health surcharge and the Tier 4 visa

Anyone applying for a visa for more than 6 months after 6 April 2015 will be required to pay the surcharge as part of their visa application fee in order to access NHS services whilst in the UK. The surcharge is mandatory for anyone wishing to enter or study in the UK on a Tier 4 visa.

The surcharge allows patients to access NHS services in much the same way as an ordinary resident. However 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.

Tier 4 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.

Studying for less than 6 months


If you are studying in the UK for 6 months or less and you have a short term study visa, or are on a visitor visa, 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, but you will be required to pay in advance for all NHS hospital treatment, other than that provided within an Accident & Emergency Department.

EEA Students

Non-UK European Economic Area (EEA and Switzerland) nationals and their families should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to the UK in order to access NHS services on a needs arising basis and should bring the EHIC with them to all GP and hospital attendances.

An EHIC allows patients to access NHS services for urgent and immediately necessary treatment in much the same way as an ordinary resident, with the costs being recovered from the patients home State. However some exceptions exist for non-urgent elective or expensive discretionary treatments which will need to 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.

Apply for a European Health Insurance Card http://ec.europa.eu/social/

The EHIC card must be issued by your home country, a UK EHIC card is not valid for use within the UK.

Further information

For further information please contact the Overseas Visitor Team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals:

Email: Overseasvisitors@sth.nhs.uk  or call: 0114 271 2981


Insurance

You may wish to consider taking out insurance, even if you are 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.

Immunisations before you come

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
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Meningitis ACWY
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)

If you have a health record with details of your immunisations, bring this with you.

Further Information

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also provides information regarding medical treatment and NHS entitlement whilst in the UK.