Apply for Your EHIC (Formerly the E111)

The European Health Insurance Card, EHIC for short, is the replacement for the old E111 and came into effect in 2006. Having an EHIC entitles you to reduced cost or free health care throughout countries in the European Economic Area and Switzerland. It is important to make sure that your EHIC is valid and up to date. It is advisable to research the rules, with regards to the EHIC, for the European country which you plan to visit.

Who Should Apply for a European Health Insurance Card?

The European Health Insurance Card replaced the old E111 in 2005. It is a reciprocal health agreement between each country inside the European Economic Area. The EHIC allows you to access state provided healthcare, in these countries, on the same basis as a resident of the same country. The EHIC scheme varies country by country, so UK residents, applying for a card, should make sure that they are fully aware of the EHIC procedure for the country they are travelling to. Our country by country guide explains how the EHIC works in each country concerned.

Criteria for Eligibility

If you are applying for an EHIC card, and looking to have one issued within the United Kingdom, you must be a UK, European Economic Area or Swiss citizen. Another criteria is that you have to be a resident of the UK with a permanent UK address. Any citizen belonging to a country outside of the European Economic Area, regardless of whether they are a UK resident, are not eligible for an EHIC Card. Applicants, who fall in to this category, are required to make alternative health cover arrangements while overseas. It is important to bear in mind that if your resident status changes, or if you move overseas, you could lose your EHIC entitlements. Students who are studying at universities abroad, people who are working overseas as a result of their employers sending them there and pensioners who have emigrated from the UK fall under a different set of rules. Therefore, anyone who falls into any of these categories should seek additional advice and guidance with regards to the EHIC and renewals.

Applying and Renewing Your EHIC Card

Each applicant requires their own single EHIC Card even if they are part of the same family. This is unlike the old E111 form which covered every family applicant. This eliminates the problems caused by having only one document between a whole family. Adults can apply themselves for their EHIC Cards online. However, children under the age of sixteen must have their applications completed by their parents or guardians. Each application can include up to four dependent children and parents applying on behalf of their children can do so by including themselves as the main applicant on the form. All applications can also include a partner, as well as four dependent children, and the EHIC is valid for five years.

Travel Insurance

The EHIC cannot be used as a direct alternative to travel insurance. However, it can be used in conjunction with travel insurance and it is recommended that you do this. A lot of UK insurers now require their clients to have a valid and up to date EHIC Card as a condition of cover.