Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) should be on your list of travelling essentials. It fits into your wallet and entitles any European citizen to access to health and medical services while visiting EU or EEA countries. The card can also be used in Switzerland.
Holidays are unpredictable at the best of times, and suffering from an accident or illness which requires medical attention in countries with private healthcare can be an incredibly expensive experience. You may still be required to cover a small amount towards the cost of your treatment, depending on the cost of the health service in a particular country, but possession of an EHIC card means that you can travel without the worry of having to foot an enormous medical bill.
An EHIC card can be applied for online, or you can download an application form and send it by post. You must apply for your card in plenty of time before your trip, but they do usually arrive quickly.
EHIC cards are valid for a period of five years; however, they do not renew automatically upon expiration. It is advisable to make sure your card is still in date before your trip. If you are planning on making a long trip, it is possible to renew your EHIC card up to six months before the expiry date. It is important to note that once you have renewed your card, your cover will begin from the date of renewal, and any cover period remaining on your old card will become invalid.
If your card has expired, you can renew it using our online form.
if you have previously applied for a card, you will need to log into your account, which requires your email address and password. If you have forgotten your login details, you can change your password by entering your email address and following a link. If your email address has changed, you can register for a new account by entering your updated details.
You will be asked to provide additional evidence of your eligibility, such as your visa or UK residence permit.
If you live abroad and receive a UK state pension or exportable UK benefits, you can renew your EHIC card via the Overseas Health Team, who are contactable by post or by telephone.
Family EHIC cards are linked. If some of the members of your family need to renew their card but others don’t, you should enter the details of all of the members of your family. Those whose cards are set to expire will be updated but the others won’t, ensuring that your cards remain linked.
If your name or address has changed since your last EHIC card application, these can be changed through the application form.