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Access to free emergency healthcare when travelling in the EU and Switzerland

Whilst the UK may no longer be in the EU, under the withdrawal agreement some benefits remain for travellers from the UK to the EU and Switzerland, providing you ensure that you have the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is free of charge. Currently processing times are longer than normal so we advise that you apply at least a month before your next trip.

You can apply for the GHIC card by calling 0191 218 1999 or applying on line at…

The cover offered by the GHIC card is only applicable in state-run health facilities. You can use your card to access medically necessary state-provided healthcare when you’re visiting an EU country or Switzerland.

Medically necessary healthcare means healthcare that cannot reasonably wait until you come back to the UK. Whether treatment is necessary is decided by the healthcare provider in the country you’re visiting.

Not all state healthcare is free within the EU and Switzerland and so you may have to pay for services that you would get for free on the NHS.

Your GHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance. It may not cover all health costs and never covers repatriation costs. Make sure you have travel insurance as well as your card.