Overseas patients at Croydon Health Services

The National Health Service (NHS) provides free hospital treatment for people who are classed as ordinarily resident in the UK.

The NHS provides free hospital treatment to people who live in the UK permanently.  However, if you do not normally live in this country on a lawful and settled basis and you do not meet one of the exemptions from charges criteria you will have to pay for any treatment you need.

This is regardless of your nationality; whether you hold a British passport; have lived in and paid National Insurance and taxes in the UK in the past; or have been issued with an HC2 certificate.

The Trust is required by law* to establish whether all its patients and service users are entitled to free NHS treatment, so we will ask everyone in which country their passport is registered and for their usual permanent home address. We will then assess overseas visitors of their eligibility to free NHS Treatment.  This will require individuals to provide proof of entitlement in the form of documentation i.e. passport and answer a series of questions to enable us to confirm your status. 

Furthermore, as of 16 January 2019, all patients will be required to complete a pre-attendance form for their first/initial appointment at the Trust.

Pre-attendance form

It is your responsibility to prove that you are entitled to free NHS treatment. If you do not provide satisfactory evidence to support your claim, you will be liable for the cost of any treatment received.

Emergency treatment is always provided free and we will never withhold it if you need urgent care, however if you are admitted as an inpatient and are not ordinarily resident in the UK, you might need to pay for your ongoing care. We will discuss this with you, so you are aware of any likely costs.

Pre-treatment charging

The hospital department is required to check every patient’s documentation before treating them, to see whether they are an overseas visitor or an undocumented migrant and should pay for their care. The Trust is legally required to secure full payment up front for the total estimated cost of non-urgent treatment from an overseas visitor who is not exempt from charge. Only a clinician can make an assessment as to whether a patient’s need for treatment is immediately necessary, urgent or non-urgent.

For further information please contact the Overseas Visitors Department (details below).

Qualifying for free NHS healthcare

EEA visitors

If you are a visitor from the EEA this includes Switzerland, you will need to have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), or other documents such as a S1 or S2.

Non-EEA visitors

For visitors coming for less than six months, you must ensure that you have travel insurance to cover for healthcare.

For those visitors coming for six months or more, you must have paid the immigration health surcharge, and have a valid visa in place. This will enable you to access free NHS healthcare as an ordinary resident of the UK.


EEA students will need to provide an EHIC card together with a copy of your passport and visa or biometric residents permit.  We would also require proof from your UK school, college or university of course attendance.

Reciprocal agreements 

The UK has reciprocal agreements with a number of non-EEA countries. These agreements will allow access to some free NHS treatment.  This will be dependent on the country that the reciprocal agreement is with.

See more information about reciprocal agreements here 

Not eligible for free healthcare

Any individual who is not lawfully in the UK will not be eliglble for free healthcare. This includes failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.

Also below are answers to some commonly asked question and links to further information which you may find helpful.

For further information please contact our Overseas Visitors Team at:

Overseas Visitors Department

Croydon Health Services

Croydon University Hospital

2nd floor, Nightingale House

530 London Road


Tel:  0208 401 3554 / 3569

Email:  ch-tr.osvdocuments@nhs.net

Payments can be made direct to the overseas visitors department by phone, with either a debit or credit card on the above contact telephone numbers.  For further methods of payment please contact the Overseas Visitors Department.

*The Department of Health NHS Charges to Overseas Visitors Regulations (Amended) 2017 

Overseas patients - questions and answers

Below are answers to some commonly asked question and links to further information which you may find helpful.


Are you only asking some groups of overseas patients?

No, we are asking all individuals whose eligibility for free NHS status has not been confirmed.


Which treatment is free to all?

Some NHS services are free to everyone. These include  treatment in the  Emergency Department (A&E),  diagnosis and treatment of certain infectious diseases  e.g. TB, and family-planning services (excluding assisted conception services and termination of pregnancy).


Which documents can I provide as proof of identity and residency?

Proof of identity

Please provide one valid document from the list below:

•             Current signed passport

•             Residence permit issued by the Home Office 

•             EU or Swiss national identity photo-card

•             Valid UK photo-card driving licence

•             Valid armed or police forces photographic identity card

•             Photographic disabled blue badge

•             Citizen card

Please note, it is best to bring proof of your right to reside in the UK (for example an UK or EEA passport, EEA national ID photo card, Visa or residence permit issued by the Home Office, Biometric Residence Card or Permit, Asylum Registration Card or valid UK armed or police forces photo ID). This will help us to determine your eligibility quicker and avoid delays to your treatment.

Proof of address

Please provide two documents dated within the last six months with your current address:

•          recent original utility bill (gas, electric, water, telephone) (excluding mobile phone)

•          council tax bill (valid for current year)

•          bank, building society or credit union statement or passbook

•          recent original mortgage statement from recognized lender

•          current council/housing association rent book or tenancy agreement

•          notification letter from Department for Work and Pensions confirming your right to benefits or state pension.


Will I have to attend an interview?

If you cannot prove that you have lived legally in the UK for the past six months, you may be interviewed by a member of the overseas visitor team either in an outpatient clinic or on a ward.