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River Cruise vs Ocean Cruise: A Comparison of European Travel Experiences
When it comes to exploring Europe, there are a multitude of options available to travelers. Two popular choices are river cruises and ocean cruises. While both offer unique experiences and stunning views, there are several key differences that make each type of cruise appealing to different types of travelers. In this article, we will compare European river cruises and ocean cruises to help you decide which experience is right for you.
Itinerary and Destinations
One major difference between river cruises and ocean cruises is the itinerary and destinations they offer. European river cruises typically focus on inland waterways, allowing travelers to explore the heart of Europe’s most picturesque cities and towns. These smaller vessels can navigate narrow rivers, offering a more intimate experience as they sail past charming villages, vineyards, and historic landmarks.
On the other hand, ocean cruises cover longer distances and visit multiple countries in one trip. They often dock at major port cities along the coastlines of various countries. This allows passengers to explore a wider range of destinations but with less time spent in each place. If you prefer to see many different cities during your trip or have a specific country or region in mind that is not accessible by rivers, an ocean cruise might be the better option for you.
Size and Atmosphere
Another important aspect to consider when comparing river cruises and ocean cruises is the size of the ships and the atmosphere on board. River cruise ships are generally smaller than their ocean counterparts, accommodating anywhere from 100 to 200 passengers. This creates a more intimate setting where passengers can easily mingle with fellow travelers.
Ocean cruise ships, on the other hand, can carry thousands of passengers at once. With larger public areas such as theaters, casinos, and multiple restaurants on board, these ships offer a wide range of entertainment options for all ages. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of a larger ship with more amenities, an ocean cruise might be the right fit for you. However, if you prefer a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere where you can truly immerse yourself in the local culture, a river cruise is likely to be more appealing.
Scenery and Sailing Experience
One of the main highlights of any cruise is the stunning scenery that accompanies the journey. European river cruises offer breathtaking views of charming landscapes as they wind their way through rivers and canals. Passengers can enjoy panoramic views from their cabins or from various vantage points on deck. The close proximity to land also allows for a more immersive experience, with passengers being able to see and appreciate every detail of their surroundings.
Ocean cruises, on the other hand, offer vast open sea views that stretch as far as the eye can see. While some ocean cruises do pass by coastal areas offering picturesque vistas, most of the time is spent sailing across open waters. If you enjoy the feeling of being out at sea and witnessing dramatic sunsets or spotting marine life along your journey, an ocean cruise may be your preferred choice.
Activities and Excursions
The range of activities and excursions available on river cruises versus ocean cruises is another factor to consider when choosing your European travel experience. River cruises often focus on cultural immersion, offering guided tours to historical sites, museums, and local attractions along the route. Wine tastings at vineyards or bike rides through quaint villages are also popular activities during river cruises.
Ocean cruises offer a wider variety of onboard activities such as swimming pools, water slides, fitness centers, theaters with live performances, and even rock climbing walls. Additionally, shore excursions during ocean cruises often include options for adventure sports like snorkeling or scuba diving in exotic locations.
In conclusion, both river cruises and ocean cruises provide unique travel experiences in Europe. If you prefer a more intimate setting, with a focus on cultural immersion and picturesque landscapes, a European river cruise may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy larger ships with more amenities and the opportunity to visit multiple countries in one trip, an ocean cruise might better suit your preferences. Ultimately, your decision should be based on your personal preferences and what you hope to gain from your European travel experience.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Applying for healthcare cover abroad (GHIC and EHIC)
There are 2 types of cover available.
You can apply for either:
- a UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC)
- a UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC), if you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement
Find out more about the Withdrawal Agreement on GOV.UK
For most people, the UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC) replaces the existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for new applications.
A UK GHIC and new UK EHIC are free of charge. Beware of unofficial websites, they may charge you a fee to apply.
Before going abroad, make sure you check the latest COVID-19 travel guidance on GOV.UK .
There is no deadline to apply for a GHIC or EHIC. If you have an existing EHIC, you can continue to use it until it expires.
If you have an existing EHIC
If you have an existing EHIC, it will remain valid until the expiry date on the card.
You can apply for a new card up to 6 months before your current card expires.
How to use your card
You can use your card to access medically necessary state-provided healthcare when you're visiting an EU country or Switzerland.
Medically necessary healthcare means healthcare that cannot reasonably wait until you come back to the UK. Whether treatment is necessary is decided by the healthcare provider in the country you're visiting.
Medically necessary healthcare includes things like:
- emergency treatment and visits to A&E
- treatment for a long-term or pre-existing medical condition
- routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need monitoring
- routine maternity care, as long as you're not going abroad to give birth
- oxygen therapy and kidney dialysis
You'll need to pre-arrange some treatments with the relevant healthcare provider in the country you're visiting – for example, kidney dialysis or chemotherapy.
Check the Foreign Office country guides on GOV.UK for information on how to access treatment in the country you’re visiting
Not all state healthcare is free within the EU and Switzerland and so you may have to pay for services that you would get for free on the NHS.
Your EHIC or GHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance. It may not cover all health costs and never covers repatriation costs. Make sure you have travel insurance as well as your card.
If you're abroad and do not have your card with you
You can get a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) to prove your entitlement to medically necessary healthcare if you travel without your existing EHIC, UK GHIC or new UK EHIC and need treatment during your visit.
The PRC will give you the same cover as an existing EHIC, UK GHIC or new UK EHIC until you return home.
Apply for a PRC on the NHS Overseas Healthcare Services website
Someone else can apply for a PRC on your behalf.
Where you can use your card
You can use a UK GHIC or existing EHIC while visiting:
- an EU country
- Switzerland (only UK nationals, Swiss nationals and EU citizens)
A UK GHIC may become valid in more countries in the future. Check this page before you travel.
You can only use a UK GHIC in Switzerland if you're a UK national, a Swiss national, a citizen of an EU Member State, a refugee, a stateless person, or a family member, dependant or survivor of someone who holds one of these nationalities or statuses.
You may be asked for proof of your nationality or your status when using your UK GHIC in Switzerland.
You can use a new UK EHIC (identifiable by a Union flag hologram in the top-right corner) while visiting:
The EU countries are:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Who can apply for a UK GHIC
You may be eligible for a UK GHIC if you meet 1 of the following criteria:
- you're legally living in the UK and you do not have healthcare cover provided by an EU country or Switzerland
- you're living in the EU or Switzerland with a registered S1, E121, E106 or E109 form issued by the UK
- you're living in the EU or Switzerland with an A1 document which is issued by the UK
- you're a family member or dependant of an entitled individual already listed
Who can apply for a new UK EHIC under the Withdrawal Agreement
You may be eligible for a new UK EHIC if you meet 1 of the following criteria:
- you're living in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, and have been since before 1 January 2021 with a registered S1, E121, E106 or E109 form issued by the UK
- you're living in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, since before 1 January 2021 with an A1 issued by the UK
- you're a national of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein who has legally resided in the UK since before 1 January 2021 and are covered under the Withdrawal Agreement; you may not be covered if you‘re also a UK national or if you were born in the UK
- you're a family member or dependant of an entitled individual already listed.
- you're a Chen or Ibrahim/Teixeira carer
If you live in the UK and jointly hold UK and EU, Swiss, Norwegian, Icelandic or Liechtenstein citizenship, you will not normally be eligible for a new UK EHIC unless you:
- hold British citizenship through naturalisation
- were a citizen of an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein before also becoming a British citizen
You'll usually be eligible for a UK GHIC.
People born in the UK
If you were born in the UK to British parents or parents who were settled in the UK and have lived in the UK from before 1 January 2021, you're not normally eligible for a new UK EHIC even if you're an EU, Swiss, Norwegian, Icelandic or Liechtenstein citizen.
This includes people of Northern Ireland who are Irish citizens.
Information for people who live in Ireland
You may be able to get a new UK EHIC if you are:
- a UK State Pensioner or are receiving some other exportable benefits and you’ve been living in the Republic of Ireland since before 1 January 2021
- a frontier worker, this means you're working in one country while living in another, and have been since before 1 January 2021
If you live in Ireland and think you’re eligible for a UK EHIC you cannot currently apply online and need to contact NHS Overseas Healthcare Services .
Applying for family members
Every family member needs their own card. You can add a spouse, civil partner, durable partner and children to your application when you apply. You must enter your own details first and apply for any additional cards when prompted.
If you've already completed your application and wish to add additional family members you'll need to contact NHS Overseas Healthcare Services . You should provide us with your reference number, name, date of birth and address so we can access your record.
Students studying in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland
If you normally live in the UK and have been studying in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland since before 1 January 2021, you may be eligible for a new UK Student EHIC for use in the EU and your country of study.
You will not be able to use this card for treatment in Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein unless one of these countries is your country of study.
If you started your course after 1 January 2021, or you're planning to study in an EU country, you'll need to apply for a Student GHIC. You can use the Student GHIC in the EU, Switzerland and your country of study, but not yet in Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
To apply you'll need a letter from your university or college showing:
- the name and address of the UK educational institution if you're travelling as part of your course
- the address of where you're studying in the EU or Switzerland
- details of the qualification you're studying for
- the dates your study period in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland started and is due to finish
- your permanent residential address in the UK
If the letter from your university or college does not include your permanent residential address in the UK, you will be asked to provide further evidence to confirm this.
Who cannot apply using this online service
Most people can apply using our online service.
You should contact NHS Overseas Healthcare Services if you fall into one of the following groups as you will not be able to use the online service to apply.
If you're an EU or Swiss national student
If you're an EU or Swiss national ordinarily resident in the UK, but studying in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein you may be entitled to a new UK EHIC or UK GHIC.
If you hold a UK-issued A1
If you work in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and have a UK-issued A1 document you may be entitled to a new UK EHIC or UK GHIC.
If you're an au pair or nanny
If you're a UK or Irish national who usually lives in the UK permanently and you're going to work as an au pair or nanny in an EU country or Switzerland, you can apply for a UK GHIC.
Chen and Ibrahim/Teixeira carers
If you're an adult carer of a child who is from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, but you're not from any of these countries or from the UK or Ireland, you may be eligible to apply for a new UK EHIC for yourself and for any other children you have who are not nationals of these countries.
You cannot apply if your right to reside in the UK is derived from your caring for a British citizen (Zambrano carer).
Dependent grandparents and grandchildren
You can add a grandchild to your new UK EHIC application if they’re a non-UK national, are a national of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and are one of the following:
- under 18, living in the UK and were born before 1 Jan 2021
- older than 18 but born on or after 1 January 2000, and arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020
- older than 18, born before 1 January 2000, arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020, and are dependent on you
You can add a parent or grandparent to your new UK EHIC application if they’re dependent on you or your partner. Their relationship with you must have begun before 1 Jan 2021, they must live with you and also:
- be a non-UK national,
- be a national of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein
- they must have arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020
If they're a national of any other country, they can be added if they have settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS). If they do not have settled or pre-settled status, they can be added if their relationship with you began before 1 January 2021.
Claiming a refund
Depending on the country you visit you may be expected to pay all or part of your bill upfront and then claim a refund afterwards.
Some countries ask patients to pay a contribution towards the cost of their care, such as for prescription costs. This is known as a co-payment or patient share.
You can claim back the difference between the total bill and the co-payment, but the actual co-payment is not refundable.
Keep all receipts and any paperwork. You or your insurance company may need them if you're applying for a refund.
What to do if you believe your existing EHIC, UK GHIC or new UK EHIC has been wrongly rejected
If you believe that your UK GHIC, new UK EHIC or existing EHIC has been wrongly rejected by a hospital or other healthcare provider in the country you're visiting, you should try and resolve the issue with them.
Explain that the card entitles the holder to necessary healthcare. It may be useful to direct them to the European Commission’s EHIC webpage , which provides images of all valid UK-issued EHICs and the UK GHIC.
If you need more help, contact NHS Overseas Healthcare Services . They can give you advice on what to do.
What to do if you think you've been incorrectly charged for medical treatment by an EU Member State or Switzerland
It's important that you keep documents relating to your treatment. The Overseas Healthcare Services at the NHSBSA may ask you for more information to check your eligibility and the cost of the treatment you had. This could include:
- receipts or invoices relating to treatment
- confirmation of payments made to healthcare institutions
- documents relating to insurance cover if your insurer paid for treatment
- discharge documents
They'll look at your claim to decide whether you were charged when you should have been covered. If they determine that your treatment should have been covered by the UK GHIC, new UK EHIC or existing EHIC, they'll reimburse you or your insurer for the costs of treatment which are covered by your card. This may not include the full cost of treatment.
You can contact NHS Overseas Healthcare Services .
How to report possible EHIC and GHIC fraud
If you think somebody has applied for, or used, an EHIC or GHIC card when they're not entitled to, you can report this to the NHS Counter Fraud Authority.
You can do this:
- online on the NHS Counter Fraud Authority website
- by phone on the 24-hour fraud reporting hotline on 0800 028 4060, or +44 800 028 4060 if you're calling from abroad
- by email to the NHS Business Services Authority at [email protected]
Page last reviewed: 29 June 2021 Next review due: 29 June 2024
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- Passports, travel and living abroad
- Travel abroad
Apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
The UK Global Health Insurance Card ( GHIC ) lets you get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.
If you have a UK European Health Insurance Card ( EHIC ) it will be valid until the expiry date on the card. Once it expires, you’ll need to apply for a GHIC to replace it.
GHIC and EHIC do not replace travel insurance.
Where you can use your card
Visiting an eu country.
You can use a GHIC or an EHIC if you’re travelling to an EU country .
There are different rules for using your GHIC or EHIC card in Switzerland.
To use your GHIC or EHIC in Switzerland, you must be one of the following:
- a British national
- a Swiss national
- an EU citizen
- a stateless person
- the dependant or survivor of someone with one of these nationalities or statuses
Visiting Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
You cannot use a GHIC or an existing EHIC in Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You’ll need travel insurance with healthcare cover .
You can use a UK passport to get medically necessary healthcare in Norway (for example emergency treatment, or to treat a pre-existing condition).
How to apply
You can apply for a GHIC on the NHS website .
It’s free to apply for a GHIC . Some websites charge to help you apply - these are unnecessary and you do not need to use them.
You’ll need to provide your:
- date of birth
- National Insurance number
- Health and Care number (Northern Ireland)
Who can apply for a new EHIC
Some people can apply for a new UK EHIC that they can use in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, as well as in EU countries.
People who can apply for the new card include:
- nationals from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland who started living in the UK before 1 January 2021, and their families
- some British State Pensioners who started living in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland before 1 January 2021, and their families
- UK students who started living and studying in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland before 1 January 2021
Find out how to apply for a new EHIC on the NHS website .
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The European Health Insurance Card
What is the european health insurance card, can i get a european health insurance card, where can i use it, what does it cover, how to apply, how do i renew my card, if you are visiting ireland and need health care.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to access public healthcare in another EU/EEA state for free or at a reduced rate. You can use it when you are travelling abroad or when you are staying temporarily in another EU State.
Essential points about the card
- Each family member needs their own card.
- It lasts for up to 4 years.
- You will need to apply to renew your card and you can renew online .
- When abroad, always carry your EHIC with you.
- It will not cover you for healthcare outside of the EU, other than Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein (EEA) and Switzerland.
- It does not cover private healthcare.
- It used to be called the E111 form.
You can apply:
- In person : at any local health office except, Cork South Lee, Dublin North West, Dublin South, Kildare and West Wicklow.
- By post : Print out an application form and post it to your local health office along with any documents required.
- Online: Apply through the HSE website if you have a medical card or drug payment scheme card and you live in Ireland.
You can only apply for a European Health Insurance Card:
- If you live in Ireland
- If you live in another European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) member state, or Switzerland
If you live in Ireland but you are linked to another EU/EEA State's Social Security System, contact the health authorities in that country for more information.
If you live in Northern Ireland but are employed in Ireland, you can get an Irish-issued EHIC.
Frontier workers (or cross-border workers ) can get an Irish-issued EHIC because they make social security contributions in Ireland. They must return home at least once a week to qualify.
Student dependants of frontier workers can get an Irish-issued EHIC. They must be aged 18 to 23 years, studying in the EU/EEA or Switzerland and have a completed School or College Details form (pdf) .
If you live in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland
If you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you are entitled to an Irish-issued EHIC if any of the following apply.
- You receive a state pension from Ireland and have an Irish-issued E Form/S1 form (certificate of entitlement) registered in your country of residence.
- You work for an Irish employer and are posted to work in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland.
- You are a frontier worker (cross-border worker) living in the EU/EEA and working in Ireland.
- You are a family member of a posted worker of someone working in Ireland, and you are not covered in your own right by the EU/EEA country you live in.
If you are resident in another EU/EEA member state , you will need to complete a different application form online , by email or by post.
If you are not eligible for an Irish-issued EHIC, you should see if you are eligible for an EHIC in the country you are currently living in.
EU and Europe
You can use your European Health Insurance Card in any European Union or European Economic Area (EEA) country and in Switzerland. Currently, the EEA comprises of the 27 member states of the European Union together with Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.
As Andorra and Monaco are not part of the EU or EEA, your EHIC is not accepted there. You should get private health insurance instead.
Find out where you can use your EHIC and how to access healthcare abroad .
If you are an Irish citizen, you have access to healthcare under the Common Travel Area while visiting the UK. However, other EU citizens should continue to use the EHIC, which is still accepted in the UK.
Outside the EU
If you are travelling outside the EU/EEA, you should get private health insurance instead.
Will I have to pay anything for healthcare with my EHIC?
In some EU member states you may have to make some payment towards the cost of the services you receive, just as people in that state do. You will not receive a re-fund for this or for private healthcare.
How can I get a refund from the HSE if I paid for healthcare while abroad?
You may be able to get a refund if you had to pay because you did not have your EHIC card with you or because the healthcare providers charged you by mistake.
The HSE will send an E126 form to the health authorities in the other state to find out:
- If you used a public health service
- How much of a refund is due
When the HSE receive the completed E126 form from the other state, the HSE can see if a refund is due or not. Further information is available on the HSE website .
What if I don't have my EHIC before I travel?
If you don't have your European Health Insurance Card for any reason, you can get a Temporary Replacement Certificate. This Certificate gives you the same entitlement as the Card, but for a shorter period.
You can apply online for this Certificate, in-person or by post to your Local Health Office. You can only receive a Temporary Replacement Certificate for yourself.
Should I get private travel insurance too?
You should consider it. Your EHIC just covers medical costs. Travel insurance can cover you for cancellation and lost or stolen luggage and extras like winter sports cover.
How much does a European Health Insurance Card cost?
There is no fee for the European Health Insurance Card or a Temporary Replacement Certificate. Renewing a European Health Insurance Card is also free.
Before you travel, apply for an EHIC well in advance of your trip.
If you are living in Ireland
- If you are an Irish citizen, an Irish pensioner or an EU citizen living in Ireland you can apply for an EHIC:
- In person at your local health office
- Online - if you have a medical card or drug payment scheme card and you live in Ireland
You will be asked for proof that you live in Ireland. Your card will be posted out to you within approximately 10 working days.
Apply by post
There are two steps :
- Download and complete the European Health Insurance Card application form (pdf) .
- Send the completed form to your Local Health Office. If you can’t download the form, you can get an application from your Local Health Office . You should send your application well in advance of your trip.
You must apply to renew your Card as they are not reissued automatically when they expire. You will need your old EHIC number and your PPS number.
If you have changed your address or your name, you will need to contact your Local Health Office . You should apply well in advance of the date you plan to travel.
Apply to renew your European Health Insurance Card online .
- Select Renew Current Card at the top of the screen.
- Enter the 10-digit ID number on your expired Card. This number is on the front of the card at the bottom left.
- Confirm the address to which the Card will be sent. It should confirm that your application is successful and that a card is being sent out to you.
If you have an EHIC and are visiting Ireland, you can:
- Receive necessary family doctor (GP) services
- Receive emergency dental treatment for the relief of pain and urgent dental repairs
You can call the emergency services on 999 or 112 free of charge.
Go to the HSE website for more information.
- Hepatitis C and the Health Amendment Act Card Services that are available to people who contracted Hepatitis C through the use of Human Immunoglobulin-Anti-D or through receiving blood products or blood transfusions in Ireland. 1495.5203
- Returning to Ireland and buying private health insurance Outlines things you should consider when buying private health insurance as a returning Irish emigrant. Covers waiting periods, pre-existing conditions, age-related loading and maternity related claims. 1455.3947
- Council of the European Union The Council of the European Union consists of one government minister from every member state. The Council is part of the law making process in the European Union. 1423.4064
If you have a question about this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0818 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm).
You can also contact your local Citizens Information Centre .
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Travel health and getting healthcare in Europe
With a little forward planning, you can protect your health when travelling to Europe and avoid unexpected medical bills. Your existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the EU.
- Travel insurance
An EHIC or GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance - make sure you have both before you travel.
If you have a pre-existing medical conditions, you should make the insurance company aware so that you are adequately covered.
You can get advice about travel insurance at this link:
UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
You can find out more about the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), including how to apply for one, at this link:
- UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
The UK has reached an agreement on healthcare when visiting the EU.
You can continue to use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or get a provisional replacement certificate (PRC) if you need treatment and do not have a card.
If you apply for a card now, you'll get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of an EHIC.
You do not need to apply for a GHIC if you already have an EHIC. Your EHIC remains valid in the EU until it expires.
- New UK EHIC
Some people can apply for a new UK EHIC that they can use in EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
People who can apply for the new card include:
- nationals from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who started living in the UK before 1 January 2021 and their families
- some British state pensioners who started living in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein before 1 January 2021 and their families
- UK students who started living and studying in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein before 1 January 2021
You can find out more at this link:
Travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
If you're travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you should get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you travel.
Make sure it covers any pre-existing conditions that were previously covered by your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
In Norway you can use a UK passport to get medically necessary healthcare (for example emergency treatment or to treat a pre-existing condition).
- Visiting the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
Before you travel
There are things you can do before you go abroad to protect you and your family's health. Before travelling:
- buy adequate travel insurance for your specific circumstances
- check information about healthcare in the country you are going to
- check online for the latest medical advice for travellers
- find out what vaccinations you need at least six weeks before you travel – your GP surgery will be able to tell you
- take enough supplies of any medication that you have been prescribed and carry a copy of the prescription with you
- carry any medical letters about your health condition to help doctors and nurses abroad if you are taken ill
Travelling with children
Contact your GP, practice nurse or travel clinic for up-to-date information on any immunisations your child may need.
More useful links
- Healthcare for UK nationals visiting the EU
- Planning a trip if you have a disability
- Planning your healthcare abroad
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Get healthcare cover for travelling abroad
There is no deadline to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card or a UK European Health Insurance Card. If you have an existing European Health Insurance Card, you can continue to use it until it expires.
Use this service to:
- check if you're eligible and apply for cover
- replace a lost, stolen, or damaged card
If you're eligible, you'll receive a card that can be used to get cover for emergency treatment abroad. This will be either a:
- UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
- UK European Health Insurance Card (new UK EHIC), if you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement
We'll let you know what you're entitled to during your application.
What these cover
Both cards give you access to state-provided healthcare abroad for things like:
- emergency treatment
- visits to A&E
- routine maternity care, unless you're going abroad to give birth (opens in a new tab)
Both cards provide the same cover but the countries they are valid in can change. Check our website to see where you can use each card (opens in a new tab) .
A UK EHIC or UK GHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance. It may not cover all health costs and never covers repatriation costs. You should make sure that you have travel insurance as well as a UK EHIC or UK GHIC.
Applying for cover
Most people can apply for cover using our online service, but you may need to contact us depending on your circumstances. Find out who can apply for cover (opens in a new tab) .
Your card will remain valid until its expiry date. When your current card expires, you'll need to apply for a new one.
You can apply for a new card up to 9 months before your current card expires.
If you do not have a UK GHIC or UK EHIC and need emergency treatment abroad, you can still get help with paying for your treatment.
A Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) will entitle you to the same level of cover as a UK GHIC or UK EHIC, even if you do not have your card with you. This also covers you if you applied for a UK GHIC or UK EHIC and it has not arrived yet.
You can only apply for a PRC from the time you need treatment. A PRC can provide cover for treatment that has already taken place, but one cannot be issued in advance.
Check our website for more information and how to apply for a PRC (opens in a new tab) .
Before you start
- your National Insurance number
- the National Insurance numbers of any other people, including your partner, you're applying for who are 16 years old or over
Depending on your circumstances we may also ask for your NHS number, if you have one.
Important: Timeout warning
Your session will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity.
To process your application, we may share your information (where appropriate) with:
- Indesser, Equifax, and LexisNexis, who are third party data providers acting on our behalf who will make a UK residency check
- NHS Digital to validate EU Settlement Scheme status
For more information about how we use your information, read our privacy notice (opens in a new tab) .
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What is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and how can I apply for one?
With the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you can receive essential medical care if you become ill while on holiday in Europe.
The EHIC only entitles you to essential medical care during a temporary stay abroad. This does not include:
- planned medical treatment abroad
- treatment in a private clinic abroad
- medical treatment on a cruise ship
Countries where the EHIC is valid
The EHIC is valid in member states of the European Union (EU), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
How the EHIC works
If you receive medical care abroad, the foreign healthcare provider (e.g. a hospital) will ask to be reimbursed for the costs from your health insurer. On the basis of your policy and your excess, your insurer will determine what costs are covered and what you have to pay yourself.
Applying for an EHIC
You live and work or study in the netherlands.
If you live and work or study in the Netherlands and you have Dutch health insurance, the back of your insurance card will usually be an EHIC. If that is not the case, apply for an EHIC from your Dutch health insurer.
You live abroad and work in the Netherlands
If you live abroad and work in the Netherlands, apply for an EHIC for yourself from your Dutch health insurer.
For family members insured on your plan you can apply for an EHIC from the CAK .
You live abroad and receive a Dutch pension or benefit
If you live abroad and receive a Dutch pension or benefit and you are registered with the CAK, you can apply for an EHIC from the CAK for yourself and for the family members insured on your plan.
Once you have applied you will receive your EHIC by post within 3 weeks.
Read more about the EHIC on the European Commission website
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us .
- I am going to live and work abroad. How will this affect my health insurance?
- I live abroad and am retiring. How will this affect my health insurance?
- I live abroad and receive a Dutch benefit. How will this affect my health insurance?
- I am moving abroad but will continue to work in the Netherlands. How will it affect my health insurance?
- I am moving abroad and do not receive income from work in the Netherlands or a Dutch pension or benefit. How will this affect my health insurance?
- I am going to study or do an internship abroad. How will this affect my health insurance?
- I am going to travel abroad. How will this affect my health insurance?