Important information about swine flu

Read the latest official advice to help protect yourself, your family and others.

Last updated 4:03 PM Thursday 29 October 2009

Access to healthcare abroad

Access to healthcare abroad

Whatever your reasons for going abroad, you may be entitled to medical care at reduced cost or sometimes free. Your entitlement will vary based on whether you're going to an European Economic Area country (EEA) or elsewhere in the world.


European Economic Area

Leisure or business
If you're going on a holiday or a business trip, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which offers you access to reduced-cost medical treatment. 

Go to About the EHIC  for more information on how to access healthcare abroad.

Remember to check your EHIC is still valid before you travel. The easiest and most efficient way to apply for an EHIC is online.
Renew or apply for your free EHIC and go abroad knowing you are prepared for all eventualities.


Moving abroad
If you're going to live, work or study in another EEA country, visit the Moving abroad section to find out more.

Planned treatment abroad
If you're planning to go abroad specifically for medical treatment (including giving birth) the NHS may be able to offer you financial and aftercare support.

Visit the Planned treatment section to find out how to apply for medical treatment abroad.

Non-EEA countries 
You may also receive free healthcare if you're travelling outside the European Economic Area (EEA) provided that the country in question has a reciprocal healthcare arrangement with the UK. 

Read the Country-by-country guide to find out what applies to the country of your choice.




Last reviewed: 19/05/2009

Next review due: 18/05/2011

What are these?

Travel health

A simple guide to health precautions when travelling abroad, including vaccinations, taking condoms and a first aid kit, and being careful about drinking water

Swine flu

The World Health Organization (WHO) raised its swine flu alert to Phase 6, indicating a global pandemic.

If you are planning to travel overseas be aware that some authorities have introduced medical screening for swine flu at airports and that quarantine measures may be introduced with no notice.

For more information on how swine flu affects your travels go to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FOC) website.

See also our swine-flu travel Q&A

If you have flu-like symptoms and are concerned that you may have swine flu:

Stay at home and check your symptoms at the National Pandemic Flu Service