EHIC stands for European Health Insurance Card, and GHIC stands for Global Health Insurance Card. Both are free and you should only use the official NHS website to apply - www.nhs.uk/ehic.
The EHIC or GHIC entitles you to free or discounted state-provided, medically necessary healthcare as if you were a resident in the country you’re visiting. Remember, this might not cover all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care. In some cases, if you use your EHIC/GHIC, certain insurers might waive the excess on your travel insurance policy.
At present, you can use the card in any country in the EEA and Switzerland, although the GHIC may become valid in more countries in the future - please check the NHS website before you travel.
More information can be found under our FAQ ‘Do I need to take my EHIC or GHIC card on holiday?’.
You can apply online at www.nhs.uk/ehic, or if you prefer you can call the NHS on 0300 330 1350. Each person will need their own card, including members of the same family. Please note that EHIC/GHICs are only valid for 5 years, so it’s worth checking whether it’s in date before you travel.
It is still worth considering travel insurance, as the EHIC/GHIC does not provide an alternative to it. There is no protection with one of these cards for repatriation, mountain rescue in ski resorts, or lost/stolen property. The EHIC/GHIC is also not valid if you are going on a cruise.
For all the latest travel advice please visit the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Travel Aware website, which provides more helpful hints and tips for travelling safely abroad - www.gov.uk/travelaware.
UK Customer Services0330 880 3600*
Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 6pm, Saturday 8:30am to 4pm and closed Sundays
*Calls are recorded for training and monitoring purposes.
UK Emergency Assistance
Direct Travel (Allianz) - 01444 465 553
AllSafe (Allianz) - 01444 465 553
Fit2Travel (Arch) - 01243 621 501
Freespirit (Canopius) - 0203 819 7170
Goodtogo (Red Sands) - 01444 465 573
Available 24 hours a day, every day.