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Health advice

It is important to remember to look after yourself when you are in the UK and to find out how to obtain medical treatment. The National Health Service (NHS) is the healthcare system in the UK and is primarily funded through general taxation rather than requiring insurance payments. Some NHS services are free at the point of delivery, others you need to pay for.

How to access medical care in the UK

  • It is important to be aware how to access medical care in the UK should you require it during your time here. 
  • It is likely that the health system in your county works very differently to the UK which is why it is essential that you read through this information.
  • We have put together some key information to help you understand how health care works in the UK - select from the options below for further details on different aspects of UK health care:

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

  • Anyone making an application for a visa of more than 6 months after the 5 April 2015 will be required to pay the IHS for access to the NHS whilst on their studies in the UK.
  • The IHS is mandatory for anyone wishing to enter the UK to study on a Tier 4 visa with the exception of countries with bi-lateral medical agreements with the UK. As of 5 July 2015, the IHS payment will be an integrated part of your immigration application.
  • The IHS will allow you to access the NHS in the same way as a permanent UK resident.
  • You do not need to pay the IHS if you are an EU/EEA student or if you are studying in the UK with a short-term study visa. For more information about this please see the UCL Immigration and Visa page, and the UKVI website.

Medical insurance

  • If you are only studying in the UK for 6 months or less and you have a short-term study visa, you will need to obtain private medical insurance as you will be liable for any NHS health services that you use.
  • If you are an EU/EEA student, or a non-EU student studying in the UK for more than 6 months, you may wish to consider private health insurance as well as there can be long waiting times for some NHS services. With private medical insurance you can also ensure you are covered for other medical-related costs that are not covered by the NHS. However, medical insurance is not compulsory and is your decision whether you wish to purchase it or not.
  • UCL does not endorse or recommend a specific insurance company, however the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) recommends Endsleigh Insurance.

Page last modified on 05 aug 15 15:42