Overseas visitors information

If you are visiting the UK, or have been living outside the UK for more than three months, and you require NHS treatment in our hospitals, you may have to pay for your treatment.This is regardless of whether you are a British citizen or have lived or worked here in the past.

This page gives you more details about treatment for overseas visitors.

Resident of the UK?

NHS hospital treatment is not free for everyone. Anyone of any nationality who is not ordinarily resident in the UK at the time of treatment is an ‘Overseas Visitor’. This means that they may be charged for the treatment they receive at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.  NHS hospitals have a legal obligation to establish whether a person is an overseas visitor, and whether charges apply or they have an exemption. Where there is no exemption, we must charge the person liable and recover the costs from them.

The Department of Health regulations require all NHS Trusts in England to identify and charge overseas patients for hospital treatment they receive. This is a legal requirement.

Establishing residency

If you come to one of our hospitals for any reason, you may be asked to complete an Attendance Form [pdf] 202KB and provide documents to prove that you are ordinarily resident in the UK. If you can’t provide the documents you may have to pay a deposit equal to the estimated cost of your treatment before you have an appointment or treatment.

Maternity services, or treatment which the doctor or nurse thinks is immediately necessary or urgent, will not be withheld. However charges will still apply and you will receive an invoice after your treatment.

A person does not become ordinarily resident in the UK simply by:

  • Having British nationality
  • Holding a British passport
  • Being registered with a GP
  • Having an NHS number
  • Owning property in the UK
  • Having paid (or are currently paying) National Insurance contributions and taxes in this country.

Whether a person is ordinarily resident is a question of fact, for which a number of factors are taken into account.

Failure to pay

If you fail to pay for NHS treatment for which charges are appropriate, your future application to enter, or remain in the UK may be denied.

Necessary (non-medical) personal information may be passed via the Department of Health to the Home Office for this purpose.

Free treatment

Some NHS services are free to everyone. This includes family-planning services and treatment of certain infectious diseases (Please be aware Assisted conception services are not included as part of family planning as such are subject to full charges).

Treatment at the Emergency Department is free but if you are visiting from any of the European Union countries, you will be asked if you have your European Health Insurance Card ‘EHIC’ which entitles European visitors who are insured through their own State healthcare system to access emergency NHS treatment without charge.  The card details must be provided to gain this entitlement. If you do not have one at the time of accessing medical care, and your treatment plan requires you to be admitted as an inpatient, or given an outpatient appointment you will be expected pay up-front prior to treatment, or you may be refused, healthcare provision is subject to if your treatment is clinically deemed ‘immediately required’ or ‘urgent at the time’.  


Patients living in European Economic Area (EEA) countries

If you access our services because the need arose during your visit to the UK, you will need to show us your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Card (PRC). If you do not have these documents with you, you cannot demonstrate that you have an exemption to charges. You will be required to pay for your treatment and recover the costs from your ‘healthcare abroad team’ when you return home.

Get the EHIC smartphone app

The European Commission (EC) has developed a useful multi-language free phone app, which explains how to use the EHIC in different countries within the European Union (EU). It summarises the treatments, costs, procedure for reimbursement and emergency numbers.


More information

If you have any concerns or need more information, please contact:

Michelle Cartlidge, Trust Lead Overseas Visitors & General Offices on 01924 546306, or Courtenay Street, Overseas & Private Patients Co-ordinator, on 01977 7477394.