Once you have got an EHIC card then you may well think you are covered by it for life. However, this is simply not true! EHIC cards actually only last for up to 5 years and need to be renewed after that period of time. This makes checking the expiry date on your card and taking steps to renew it if needed. As with ordering a new EHIC, renewing one is simple and will not cost you anything at all.
Why do you need an up to date EHIC card for European travel?
The European Health Insurance Card (or EHIC for short) is a crucial piece of documentation to have for anyone travelling to Europe. While it is not a legal necessity, it is advised to have a valid EHIC card with you when heading off to European shores. Holding a valid card gives you access to free or discounted medical care when staying temporarily in Switzerland or one of the EEA countries. As such, it covers you from running up expensive medical bills if you fall ill or get injured abroad. As the EHIC is 100% free and straightforward to get, it makes perfect sense to have one with you for peace of mind.
How do you renew your EHIC?
As noted above, an EHIC card only lasts for 5 years and you then need to renew it. Out of date cards will not be accepted when in Europe so make sure to renew yours if needed. It is possible to renew your card up to 6 months before it runs out. Be aware though that any time left on your old EHIC will not be put onto your renewed card.
For UK residents whose personal details have not changed, it is best to renew your EHIC online. This is the quickest and simplest way to go about it.
For those who prefer to sort out renewing their EHIC card over the phone, there is also a helpline to call whose number can be found online. There is also an official email address for any enquiries about renewing your EHIC as below:
What if my details have changed?
For some people, it could be the case that your personal details have changed when you come to applying for a new card. It could be that you have recently got married and changed your surname or moved address for example. If this is the case, do not worry – it is perfectly possible to apply for a renewed EHIC still.
If your name has changed then it is possible to renew online if you have your PIN or call the official helpline number if you do not. If your address has changed and you have already informed the EHIC team about it, then it is fine to do your renewal online. If you have not yet told them of an address change, then you would need to phone the helpline number or email them at the above address to resolve.
Is the process the same for non-UK residents?
If you are not a UK resident, a Swiss national or an EEA national, then you will be required to provide additional evidence to get a renewed card. This applies to any members of your family that meet this criteria as well. You will have to fill out a paper application form and post it off with a copy of your UK residence permit or VISA to the relevant authorities.
If you are a UK citizen who lives abroad then there are also different arrangements to renew your EHIC. In this case, you would need to contact the Overseas Healthcare Service on 0191 218 1999. This relates to anyone who lives abroad but fits any of the below criteria:
– receives a UK benefit deemed as exportable or UK pension
– lives in the EEA along with having a family member employed in the UK
– posted or frontier worker
Renewing your families EHIC cards
One of the most important things to remember is that everyone who is travelling to Europe in your party needs their own valid EHIC. You are only covered by your own card so do not think you can cover everyone with yours. This makes it crucial to check all EHIC cards for your family so you make sure to renew all those who need it.
The best way to do this is online via the official EHIC website. Begin by entering the details of all members of your family (even those whose cards you are not needing to renew) as this will keep your family linked together in the main database. A message will then flash up to remind you of those cards which do not need renewing. Don’t worry about this – it just means only expired EHIC cards or those that are due to soon will be available to renew.
It is also essential to have your EHIC PIN number with you when renewing you and your families cards online. This is what will give you the access needed to renew the cards and get new ones sent out. This number can be found on your current card.
Make sure you get it renewed in good time
Although the process of renewing your EHIC is pretty quick, especially if done online, it is worth not leaving it too late. Getting it all sorted in good time will mean you have your card ready for when you are due to travel to Europe. You will need a valid card physically on your person to use if needed so it is key to have it with you before you leave. Hopefully, the above has made how to get a renewed card a little clearer and easier.