Guide to the National Health Service in the UK for international students

Guide to the National Health Service in the UK for international students

The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s state healthcare system. It provides a wide range of health care services ranging from appointments with the doctor, hospital treatment and dental care.


Who is eligible for NHS treatment?

All international students are eligible for NHS treatment in the UK. They have to pay a healthcare surcharge (£150 per year as a student, eg £300 for a 2-year visa) while making their visa application prior to their arrival in the UK.

What does NHS treatment include?

It includes emergency treatment (not the follow-up treatment), family planning services, diagnosis and treatment of certain communicable diseases.  

How do I register with a G.P.?

It is very important that you register with a local GP as soon as you get to the University so that you can have access to the primary NHS services. You can register with NHS-Register with a GP. If your institution has its own Health Centre then you may be able to register with them. Alternatively, you can register with any doctor close to where you live. This is a list which includes information about local doctors:

What are the documents that are required at the time of registration?

You will require the following documents:

  • A letter from your institution as a proof that you are a student or your previous GP registration letter

  • Your passport

  • Any other immigration documents

Do I need to pay any fees?

No. You don’t need to pay any fee to visit the doctor. Most of the clinics have female as well as male doctors. If you prefer either male or female, then you may say so at the time of appointment.

Do I need a health insurance as a student in the UK?

Although you are eligible for NHS treatment, it is advisable for international students to take health insurance in case of unforeseen circumstances. You can take advice from your school, college or university. They may be able to offer you a specially arranged policy for students.

Are my wife and children eligible to NHS healthcare entitlement?

Yes, generally wife and children have same entitlement as the international student. However, partners of international students may enter the UK on a variety of visa types and that may overrule this statement. It is recommended that when the partners are referred to a hospital they should confirm with the authorities at their first appointment, whether the hospital will charge them for the treatment. 

What if I have a diagnosed condition?

When you come to University with a pre-existing health issues, talk to your school, college or university before you enrol to get more information about the support they can offer. Additionally, you can also bring your prescription papers and doctor’s report (everything should be translated in English) describing your condition, treatment and medication required.

It is necessary that you visit the doctor as soon as you register in your school, college or university. There are various vaccinations that you should get as an adult. Alternatively, you can also pre-refer to your doctor in your home country to take all the preventive measures. 


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