Information for overseas visitors

If you are visiting the UK and think you need treatment at our hospitals, you may have to pay for it.

Whatever your nationality, if you are not ordinarily resident (settled and living in the UK) at the time of treatment, you will have ‘overseas visitor,’ status. This means that you may be charged for the treatment you receive at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals.

As an NHS hospital, we have a legal obligation to confirm if you are an overseas visitor, if you should be charged, or if you don’t have to pay. If we find that you do have to pay, we will have to charge you, or the person liable, and recover the costs from them.

Find out more about how Trusts in England identify and charge overseas visitors for the treatment they receive.

Confirming your residency

When you arrive at Royal Brompton or Harefield Hospital, you will be asked to confirm how long you have lived in the UK and may be asked to complete a form and provide us with documents to prove that you are ordinarily resident in the UK.

If you can’t provide documents you may have to pay a deposit (amounting to the estimated cost of your treatment), before you have an appointment or treatment. If a doctor or nurse believes that treatment is immediately necessary or urgent, however, we will go ahead with the treatment. Charges will still apply and you will get an invoice after your treatment.

Ordinarily resident

Although, ordinarily resident may sound as though it can be confirmed by just having a British passport, it cannot.

Even if you:

  • have British nationality
  • own a British passport
  • are registered with a GP
  • have an NHS number
  • own property in the UK
  • have paid (or are currently paying) National Insurance contributions and taxes in this country

You may still not be considered ordinarily resident. Confirmation of ordinarily resident status is based on the following:

Documents of proof

To prove your identity, you must provide one photographic document and any other document that proves what your address is. These include:

  • A current signed passport
  • Biometric Residence Permit issued by the Home Office
  • A valid UK photo-card driving licence
  • EU or Swiss national identity photo-card
  • Application Registration Card (ARC)
  • A valid armed forces or police photographic identity card

Proof of your current address must be a document that contains your current address and be dated within the last six months. These include a:

  • recent original utility bill i.e. gas, electric, water, landline (mobile not acceptable)
  • Council Tax bill for the current year
  • bank, building society or credit union statement
  • recent original mortgage statement from a recognised lender
  • current council or housing association tenancy agreement, or rent book
  • notification letter from the Department for Work and Pensions confirming your national insurance number, entitlement to Benefits or a State Pension

European Economic Area (EEA) visitors

The EHIC card

The European health Insurance Card (EHIC) currently gives you access to NHS healthcare if you become ill during your visit to the UK. The card covers treatment that is medically necessary until you get home. It also covers the treatment of any medical conditions you already have and routine maternity care, providing those are not the only reasons you are visiting the UK.

The provisional replacement certificate (PRC)

If you don’t have an EHIC card and need treatment during your visit to the UK, you may be issued with a provisional replacement certificate (PRC). This proves your entitlement to the EHIC card.

Applying and getting a PRC is your responsibility. You will have to contact the relevant organisation in your home country to request a PRC so they can email it to you.

Find out more from the European Commission website.

Using the EHIC card and PRC

If you are from an EEA country and find that you need treatment at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital, we will need to see your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), or Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC).

If you don’t have these documents with you and cannot show us that you don’t have to pay charges, you will need to pay for your treatment and reclaim the money from the healthcare abroad team, when you go home.

Failure to pay

If you don’t pay for the NHS treatment you were charged for, your future application to enter, or remain in the UK may be denied.

Necessary (non-medical) personal information may be passed via the Department of Health to the Home Office for this purpose.

Free treatment

Some NHS services are free to everyone. This includes family-planning services and treatment of certain infectious diseases. Treatment at the Emergency Department is free only up to the point an overseas visitor is admitted as an inpatient, or given an outpatient appointment.

This means that emergency treatment elsewhere in the hospital or urgent treatment after admission is chargeable.

More information

If you have any concerns or need more information, please contact the overseas visitors liaison officer: Monday to Friday on Tel: 0207 351 8570, or email:

You can find more information on the NHS Choices website.