NHS hospital treatment is free to people who are legally living in the UK on a permanent basis.
To get free treatment, you will need to provide evidence that you are legally living in the UK. All patients, regardless of nationality and living status, need to give correct information when registering their details.
Do I have to pay for all treatment?
No, not necessarily. Regardless of your nationality, some NHS services are free to everyone.
- Accident and emergency services – this does not include emergency treatment given in other departments or follow-up outpatient appointments
- Family planning services – this does not include abortions or infertility treatment
- Treatment for more infectious diseases, including sexually transmitted infections
- Treatment for a physical or mental condition cause by torture, domestic violence, sexual violence or female genital mutilation – this does not apply if you have come to England specifically seeking this treatment
All other treatments will need to be paid for. We will always discuss this with you and keep you fully informed.
There are some other circumstances where you might still be entitled to free healthcare:
- If you are employed or studying in the UK – you will be asked to provide evidence of this
- If you have been granted refugee status or are an asylum seeker waiting for your formal application to be decided
- If you are visiting the UK and normally live in a country that has a bilateral healthcare agreement with the UK
- If you are visiting the UK and normally live in a country that is a member of the European Economic Area healthcare arrangement – please show your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you’re not sure
If you are not sure if you need to pay for hospital treatment or not, our overseas visitors team can help you.
If you need to provide evidence, the team will work with you and let you know which documents are acceptable.
The Windrush Scheme
If you’re settled in the UK but do not have any documents to prove it, you might be able to apply to the Windrush Scheme.
More information and application forms are available on gov.uk.