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Medical treatment

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Everyone in the UK is entitled to free HIV treatment, regardless of their immigration status. 

Visiting from the European Economic Area (EEA)

If you're a visitor from the EEA and you fall ill or have a medical emergency during your temporary stay in the UK, then you'll need a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by your home country. If you can't show a valid EHIC, you may be charged for your treatment. The regulations on access to healthcare in the EEA also apply to people from Switzerland.

Your EHIC will cover you for treatment that becomes necessary during a visit to the UK, until you return to your country. It also covers you for the treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, providing the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.

Visiting from non-EEA

If you're visiting England from a non-EEA country, even if you're a former UK resident, you need to ensure you're covered for healthcare through personal medical or travel insurance for the duration of your visit.

If you need NHS treatment and you have not arranged insurance, you'll be charged at 150% of the standard NHS rate, unless an exemption category applies to either you or the treatment. The exemptions to this are:

  • UK government employees and war pensioners
  • vulnerable patients, detainees, workers on ships and NATO personnel
  • citizens of countries which the UK has a reciprocal healthcare agreement in place (see NHS England for details).

Asylum seekers

If your immigration status is that of an asylum seeker, you and your dependents are entitled to free NHS medical treatment and help with travel costs.

Legally, failed asylum seekers aren’t entitled to free NHS care as they aren’t lawfully resident in the country, but NHS Trusts have the discretion to provide refused asylum seekers with free treatment, depending on a number of factors.

As an asylum seeker, or even as a failed asylum seeker, you can register with a GP.

Services which are free for everyone include

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  • Emergency treatment (although if you are taken into a hospital ward for treatment you can be charged).
  • Family planning and sexual health services – but this doesn't include terminating a pregnancy or maternity treatment.
  • Treatment for certain diseases like tuberculosis, cholera, food poisoning, malaria, meningitis and pandemic influenza.
  • Compulsory psychiatric treatment.

Advice and information

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You can contact THT Direct by email or on 0808 802 1221. You can also register for our free online advice service. Our advisers can provide advice and direction on:

  • UK residency.
  • The Habitual Residence Test.
  • Visas.
  • Overstaying for your visa or applying for a new one.

More information

Lots of organisations provide information around immigration, including: