EHIC and No-Deal Scenario

Expats Healthcare after Brexit

There has been a lot in the news, both UK and Spanish, about the use and future of the European Health Insurance Card. It is vital that people are aware of its current use, which will still be valid until October 31st 2019, after which it will become obsolete for those visiting the UK and for brits visiting other EEA countries.

Current use:

A valid EHIC gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.

The EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until your planned return home. Treatment should be provided on the same basis as it would to a resident of that country, either at a reduced cost or, in many cases, free of charge.

Those living in another EEA country: 

If you live in another EEA country or Switzerland, you will be entitled to a UK-issued EHIC if one of the following applies to you:

  • you receive a UK State Pension or exportable UK benefit and have a UK-issued S1 form (certificate of entitlement) registered in your country of residence
  • you are a worker posted to work in another EEA country or Switzerland by your UK employer, or a frontier worker living in the EEA and working in the UK
  • you are a family member of a posted worker or of someone working in the UK and you are not covered in your own right by the EEA country you reside in

It may be possible to apply for one in the country you reside in.


If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on October 31 2019, your access to healthcare when visiting an EU country is likely to change. If you are planning to visit on or after October 31 2019, you should continue to buy travel insurance so you can get the healthcare treatment you need, just as you would if visiting a non-EU country.

If you are using an EHIC issued by the UK, this will still be valid until October 31 2019.

Entitlement to Free NHS Hospital Treatment by Non-Resident
UK Citizens

  • The NHS does not normally provide free hospital treatment for
    people who do not reside in the UK even if they are UK nationals
  • If you have lived outside the UK for more than 3 months
    (6 months for some pensioners) in the last year you can be charged
  • You will be exempt from charges if you can produce evidence that
    you have been working abroad for less than 5 years and have lived
    in the UK continuously for at least 10 years at some point
  • If you are residing in another European Economic Area member
    state you should show your European Health Insurance Card
    from that country or apply for a Provisional Replacement
    Certificate where possible
  • If you have come to the UK from a non-EEA country that the UK
    has no bilateral agreement with you will be expected to pay for
    treatment unless another exemption applies to you

Below, some insight into the effects of No-Deal and the EHIC card and how it may affect the arrangements put into place to protect EU citizens in the UK and Brits in the EU.