Overseas patients

Woman smiling at the camera

Oversees patients

Serving our diverse communities

We take pride in providing quality care for all our patients, and do not wish to deter anyone from seeking treatment

Emergency care

Row of ambulances outside The Royal London

Emergency and maternity care

Treatment in our Emergency Departments (A&E) is free for all

Anyone who needs care that is urgent or immediately necessary – such as in A&E or maternity - will always be treated promptly, even if a patient indicates that they cannot afford to pay. We do not turn anyone away. 
If you are admitted to hospital as an inpatient or receive any outpatient appointments charges may apply. 
  • If you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) please show your card to our A&E reception staff.     
  • If your country of residence has a reciprocal agreement that covers emergency treatment in the UK, please let our A&E reception staff know.

Who can help me if I have any further questions?

pregnant lady using phone

Contact us

We can help

If you need any guidance and support or to book an appointment to provide your documentation, please contact our team. Our offices are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm except bank holidays.

The Royal London and Mile End hospitals 
  • Overseas Visitors Team, 1st Floor, John Harrison House
  • Email us
  • Call us:  020 3594 6302 or 020 3594 6527
Newham Hospital
  • Overseas Visitors Team, House 12
  • Email us
  • Call us:  0207 055 5717 
Whipps Cross Hospital
  • Overseas Visitors Team, 1st Floor Junction 2
  • Email us
  • Call us:  020 8535 6976 or 0208 535 6712
St Bartholomew's Hospital
  • Overseas Visitors Team, 3rd Floor, St Martin's Le-Grand
  • Email us
  • Call us:  0203 765 8565 or 0203 765 8566

Overseas patients: video

Overseas patients

Entitlement to free NHS treatment

People who live in the UK permanently can get free care

You must live here lawfully and on a settled basis to receive free treatment. If you are not a resident in the UK, you may have to pay. We have a legal duty to identify patients who are not entitled to free NHS treatment and to charge them for the treatment they receive. If a clinician thinks that treatment is not immediately necessary or urgent, we cannot provide care until the cost has been paid fully and in advance.

Who is eligible for free NHS care?

You may be entitled to free NHS care if you are: 

  • A student studying full time in the UK or an individual who has come to work in the UK on a relevant visa.  If you were required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your visa application, please note free treatment does not include assisted conception.
  • A refugee or an asylum seeker whose formal application to the UK Border Agency is being considered.  You will need to provide documentary evidence such as your Application Registration Card (ARC).  Please note that you will need to pay for any medication prescribed to you. 
  • A citizen who normally lives in a country that is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and has a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in their name.  This card covers emergency treatment only.  You must bring this card with you to hospital. 
    • Your EHIC 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 or receive treatment.

    • Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and it is advised that you should have both (where applicable) when travelling to the UK. 

  • A citizen who normally lives in a country that has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the UK.  This covers emergency treatment only and does not cover planned treatment.  Please note that if the agreement is withdrawn during your treatment you will become immediately responsible for the cost of the remainder of your course of treatment.
  • Part of a group of individuals who are entitled to receive healthcare on the same or similar basis as an ordinarily resident person. For further information in this regard please see pages 12- 15 of The Department for Health's Guidance on Overseas Visitor Charging Regulations or contact us for guidance and support.

You may be NOT entitled to free NHS care if you are: 

  • An individual without legal status at point of treatment including failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.
  • A British national who now lives overseas (also called ex-pats)
  • An individual with a Biometric Residency Permit (BRP) whose card is marked to confirm their “visitor” status.  This may include academic visitors and private medical visitors.

How to prove you are entitled to free NHS care

If you have received a request to bring your identification documents you should bring these to your first appointment.

To help us to check if you are entitled to free healthcare, you will need to bring two separate documents to your appointment – one to prove your identity and one to prove your address (residency). See below for which documents you can bring.

All patients admitted to our hospitals, whatever their nationality and residence status, are required to provide correct information when registering their details. If you are living lawfully with a settled purpose in the UK, or are a visitor in one of the categories above, you should be prepared to provide evidence.

List of identification documents

How to pay

If your treatment is non-urgent, the full cost must be paid before treatment is provided.  This will include the cost of initial assessment and investigations to make a diagnosis. 

 How to pay for your treatment [pdf] 160KB

We will always provide treatment that a clinician has assessed as immediately necessary or urgent.  All maternity treatment is regarded as immediately necessary.  Treatment is not free however by virtue of it being immediately necessary or urgent and you will still be charged.

There are some NHS services which are free to everyone.  Please see pages 30 and 31 of the Overseas Visitor Charging Regulations.  

If you have recieved an invoice from us and would like to pay it online, access the secure payment link here

What happens to your data

If you have an unpaid debt, we are legally obliged to inform the Home Office through the Department of Health and Social Care.

We do not share information about your health.

For a list of what data is shared, please see the government's guidance

Overseas visitors with private health insurance

If you have private health insurance you will be required to cover the costs to the Trust for all treatment it provides and then subsequently seek reimbursement from your insurer.