The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) came in to replace the old E111 form back in 2005. It is a document you can carry with you when visiting an EU country to show that you are a citizen of the EU. With an EHIC, you are entitled to the state-provided healthcare of the destination country in the same way as a citizen who lives in that country. It is not an alternative to travel insurance but it’s a valuable thing to have when you are visiting an EU country, particularly one that offers free or discounted healthcare through the state system. But if you are travelling overseas with your family, you may be wondering if your child/children will be covered by your EHIC.
Yes or no?
Essentially, the answer is no. You will be required to obtain separate EHIC cards for all children under 16. You do so by adding them as dependants on your EHIC record – if you are a parent or guardian, you simply add the details of your children onto your application and they will each be sent their own EHIC. If your child is aged 16-19, you can still add them as dependants if you are able to demonstrate that they are still in full-time education. Anyone aged 16 or above may apply for their own EHIC independently, so you may choose to have them do this as a good way to gain experience of dealing with official paperwork.
How do I make an application for an EHIC for my child?
You need to add a dependant to your EHIC record in order for them to be issued their own EHIC and be covered for state-provided healthcare in EU countries. You can do this using one of the following methods:
You can apply online through the NHS. The process is as follows:
- Enter your details – if you already possess a valid card there will be a message telling you this. Click ‘Continue’ and you will proceed to the partner/spouse section. If you aren’t in need of registering a partner or spouse, select ‘No’ and click ‘Continue’.
- You will now arrive at the dependant children page. Click ‘Add’ and enter the details of your child/children as required.
- Check all the details are correct then submit the application.
You can do it over the phone by calling 0300 330 1350. Or you can do it by post by downloading the application form from the NHS website and printing it out. Once you have filled out the form, put it in an envelope and post it to:
152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne
If you are a UK national studying abroad in Europe, and you have been issued an EHIC for your period of study, you can add your child using either the telephone or postal option.
The process of applying for your child is no more complex than for yourself, but you will need to have a little more documentation to hand. You will have to enter the child’s full name and their date of birth. Take extra care to spell the names correctly, and make sure the name on the EHIC is a match for what’s on the passport. This will minimise the risk of confusion while overseas, or of the EHIC being rejected on grounds that the holder’s identity can’t be confirmed. Please note that the child will need to have a permanent contact address, and children who live on the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man cannot get EHIC cover.
Here are some frequently asked questions about adding a dependant to your EHIC:
Can I add my children to my EHIC if they only live with me some of the time?
Yes, anyone who has shared parental responsibility can add a dependant to their EHIC application.
Can my step-child be added as a dependant?
This depends on whether the child lives with you. If the child lives in the same home with you and their parent, you can add that step-child as your dependant when you submit your application. If the child does not live with you, you would have to ask one of the parents to apply for an EHIC.
Can I apply with my grand-children as dependants?
As a grandparent, you can only add your grandchildren as dependants if you are their legal guardian, or if their parent(s) are under 16 years old. If neither of these criteria are met, the children’s parents or legal guardian must apply for them.
Can I apply for an EHIC for a child living in a care home?
If you are a Local Authority representative or work in the child’s care home, you can make an application on behalf of the child. The application will have to be registered to the care home and you would be the primary applicant, with the child as your dependant.
Can I apply for an EHIC for a child I foster?
If you are a foster carer, you are a legal guardian and can apply for the EHIC for any foster children you care for. You can follow the same process as if you were applying for your own child.
The health of your children is of paramount importance to all parents, and you’ll want to ensure they have access to medical care if needed when you take them overseas. To this end, it is important that you understand that your EHIC alone will not be sufficient for them to access healthcare. It is not difficult to add your dependants to your record, which will result in them being issued their own EHICs. If you are planning to travel to an EU country, you should do this right away to ensure you get the card(s) as quickly as possible. The cards are valid for 5 years, though the rules regarding those issued in the UK may change after Brexit, so keep an eye on any developments with regards to accessing healthcare in the EU as a UK resident.