The European Health Insurance card

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European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), is for when you travel to another country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. It has replaced the E111 form. If you become ill while abroad, the EHIC gives access to state-provided medical treatment in the country you are visiting.


The card also covers any treatment you need for a chronic disease or pre-existing illness such as cancer, and routine maternity care. Kidney dialysis and oxygen treatment are also covered but you will need to arrange these in advance. The EHIC does not cover you if medical treatment is the main purpose of your trip.

The EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance, which is always recommended. There are some things that the EHIC does not cover, such as repatriation.

Expiry date

An EHIC is valid for between three and five years. To see if yours is still valid, just check the expiry date on the card. You cannot use the card after it has expired so it is important to check before you travel. You can renew your card up to six months before the expiry date.

Getting or renewing a European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card is free. You can apply for or renew a European Health Insurance Card online. You can also apply by phone on 0845 606 2030 or by post using an application form available from your local post office.