Comprehensive Sickness Insurance

If you are moving to the United Kingdom to live as a  European Economic Area (EEA) national you should have comprehensive Sickness insurance. This is an insurance policy which will cover you for most medical treatment whilst you live in the UK.

Who needs comprehensive sickness insurance

Anybody who is coming to live in the UK should have comprehensive sickness insurance. If you’re moving to the country to live as a self-sufficient person, you should have the insurance for yourself.

If you are a student or have another reason for having a sponsor family during your UK stay, then both you and the sponsor family should take out this insurance.

Family members of EEA nationals should also have comprehensive sickness insurance.

What you need this insurance for

If you get sick or injured whilst staying in the United Kingdom, your comprehensive sickness insurance will insure you for most forms of treatment.

Given its importance, you may have to prove that you have this policy in place before you are able to live in the UK, either as an EEA national or a member of their family.

You will also need to prove that you have comprehensive sickness insurance when you apply for a document to confirm right of residence for you or your family. Your insurance will need to be valid on the date that a decision is made about your application.

If you later decide to apply for permanent residency in the UK, you will need to prove that you (and any family members living with you) held insurance throughout the duration of your initial stay as a self-sufficient person or student.

Forms of proof that are accepted

When you need to prove to the UK Border Agency that you have comprehensive sickness insurance, they will accept the following:

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

A European Health Insurance Card issued by another EU country (not the UK) should be used only when you are not planning to stay in the UK permanently.

You should combine this with what is known as a Statement of Intent: A document which explains that you are only in the UK on a temporary basis. This will include any reason why you want to return home such as:

  • To attend to business or work matters
  • Property you have at home
  • Family ties and evidence of visits home

If, after you apply to stay on a temporary basis, you decide you want to stay permanently, you can still apply for permanent residence.

Form S1 (previously E109 or E121)

An S1 form is a certificate which states that you are allowed health care in another European Economic Area (EEA) country (other than the UK) for a limited amount of time. These can only be used on a limited basis, such as for state pensions or if you are the dependent of another insured person working in a different member state.

Form S2 (previously E112)

If, as an insured person, you are referred for a specific treatment in either another EEA country or Switzerland, you may have an S2 form which covers the actual cost of that treatment.

Form S3

This form covers the costs if you are continuing treatment in a member state where you previously worked. This is usually for those who live on one side of a border yet worked on another (known as frontier workers).

A private health insurance policy document

This is a valid insurance document which proves that you are covered for most medical treatment whilst living in the UK.

Usually, it will not cover every form of testing and treatment for all conditions, and is unlikely to cover you for conditions that you had before taking out the insurance. Nor does it cover you for visits to a General Practitioner (GP) or emergency treatment.

This may still be used as proof of comprehensive sickness insurance if:

  • It has a certain excess attached to it
  • There are exclusions in the policy for pre-existing conditions
  • It does not include cover for maternity or pregnancy arrangements
  • It is an international private medical insurance policy.

These will be considered on an individual basis.