A guide to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

What is a European Health Insurance Card?

The European Health Insurance Card, otherwise known as EHIC, allows travellers to receive free or reduced cost medical care while travelling in European member states. You can apply for a European Health Insurance Card if you are from the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

How do I get a European Health Insurance Card?

If you are over 16 and a resident in any one of the qualifying countries or states, you can apply for a free EHIC card online, or by calling 0300 330 1350.

Are EHIC applications affected by Brexit?

While the UK remains a member of the EU, there will be no change to the status or rights of EU nationals living in the UK, or UK nationals living in the EU. All EHIC applications will be processed as normal.

How does it work?

The way your EHIC card works is very simple. If you have an accident or fall ill while abroad, you can simply present it to medical staff in a hospital or medical centre. It is recommended that you carry your card with you at all times so that your status can be verified. On presentation you will be eligible for free or reduced-cost medical care.

Each EHIC card is valid for five years and only covers the cardholder. However, if you have children under 16, you can include them on your application and they will be given their own card.

Your EHIC card also entitles you to receive medical care for any pre-existing or chronic medical condition that becomes worse or affects your trip.

Countries that recognise the EHIC card are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus (Southern), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

This guide aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this guide. All information correct at 30th January 2018.