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Global Health Insurance Card: what it is and how to obtain it

Travel insurance can be expensive, especially if you are an avid traveller. However, if you are a UK resident travelling to Europe, you may not need to apply for a special travel insurance. This is thanks to the GHIC card. This provision allows you to get state-provided essential medical attention when visiting an EU country. If you’re wondering how you get a hold of this service, here are steps to help you get your GHIC as soon as possible.

What Is a GHIC?

The UK Global Health Insurance Card is a health policy provision that gives you access to subsidised or free healthcare services in EU countries and Switzerland. Even though you can use this card to get medical care in most EU countries, you should have travel insurance with health cover when travelling to Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

Global Health Insurance Card: how to get free healthcare in Europe

EHIC and GHIC: what's the difference?

There are two types of health premiums available to UK citizens. The UK EHIC is the initial cover that members of the European Union used before Brexit. Once your EHIC health cover expires, you won't be able to renew it. But you can apply for a new GHIC instead.

If you are not a citizen of these countries, you must have travel insurance that has health cover. Otherwise, you won’t access health care when you visit these four countries. The UK GHIC is the new health insurance cover replacing the EHIC. Once your EHIC cover expires, you should apply for the new UK GHIC cover.

Where Can You Use it?

You can use your UK GHIC card in any country within the European Union.. If you’re travelling to Switzerland, you can use this card under particular circumstances. You have to be British; Swiss; a refugee, an EU national; stateless; or a family memeber, dependent, or survivor of one of these nationals. However, if you’re travelling to Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, you should get travel insurance with health cover.

Who Can Request the European Health Insurance card

Anyone rightfully living in the UK or the European Union can apply for this card. Thankfully, this health cover is not restricted to UK nationals alone. Non-EU students can apply for this premium, but only if they are going to be in the country for at least six months.

Anyone taking a course shorter than six months should look for other medical health options for international students. Refugees can also access this provision as long as they are from a country that receives asylum from the UK. Nationals with dual citizenship can also enjoy this benefit.

Requirements and Documentation Needed

You will have to provide the necessary information and documents to complete the application process:

  • • Full names
  • • Address
  • • Date of birth
  • • NHS number if you’re from England or Wales
  • • CHI number for Scottish people Health and care number for Northern Ireland
  • • Student identification details for non-citizens
  • • A letter from your university with the school’s name, school address, your education major, and your UK permanent resident address.

Children below 18 years are automatically listed under their parent’s or guardian’s cover. You have to apply for your card first, then request to have them added under the cover.

How To Apply

Most people can access this service online. You only have to visit the National Health Service website to get started. Ensure you go through the eligibility steps to ascertain you are eligible to receive this card. Once you’re sure you fall under the bracket of people who can get this health care service, find the “Start Now” icon and click on it.

You’ll be redirected to a new page requiring you to fill out a form. Complete the application process, submit your request, and wait for the card to be ready.

Can You Apply From Abroad?

Yes. The application process is available online so that you can apply from abroad. However, you must use the overseas NHS healthcare service in this instance. If you are overseas and do not have your card, you can apply for a provisional replacement certificate to give you access to medical services.

What to Do If You Lost Card or It Was Stolen

If your card is stolen or lost, you can effortlessly replace it. The NHS replacement service requires you to provide information regarding your identity to locate the records. They will send the new card to the address they hold in your forms once they confirm your identity.

Cost, Validity, and Processing Time

Application for this document is free, so you do not have to pay any fees once you submit your request. It takes two weeks to process the card, so you may want to give yourself another week or two on top of this time frame if you want to travel. The GHIC card has a validity cap of five years. Therefore, you should replace it after this time lapses to avoid inconveniences.