Health Insurance in the UK: National Health Service (NHS)

Are you an international student studying in the UK and wondering about the health insurance options available to you? With the cost of medical treatment in the UK, it's important to ensure that you are protected in the event of an emergency. Obtaining insurance as an international student is one of the most important aspects if you want to live and study in the UK.

The country is one of the students’ most favored study abroad destinations and aside from world-class education, the country is famous for its famous national health system known as the National Health Service (NHS).

National Health Service (NHS)

The National Health System (NHS) offers healthcare coverage to all legal residents, regardless of nationality, visa status, or tax or insurance contribution. So, international students (who are there for 6 more months) can benefit from the NHS in the same way as any British citizen.

But to take advantage of such an opportunity as an international student you need to pay a surcharge when you are applying for a UK student visa.

What does National Health Service (NHS) Cover?

Once you are registered with the NHS, you can take advantage of national-level healthcare during the course of your studies. The NHS will cover the cost of:

Consulting with your doctor/GP

Medical treatment after an emergency (A&E)

Consultation or treatment with a specialist when referred by your GP

Maternity services


Covid-19 tests and treatment, as well as vaccination against Covid-19

The NHS in most cases doesn’t cover the cost of prescription medication, dental care, eye care etc.

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Cost of National Health Service (NHS)

International students need to pay £470 per year for health insurance. This fee is called an Immigration Health Surcharge that the student needs to pay with the visa application fees. If there is a dependent that will be accompanying you then you need to pay a separate fee for them as well. For students who will be in the UK for 6 months or less have to pay £235 for NHS.

How to Pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

As mentioned above, you need to pay the IHS when you apply for your UK Student Visa. If you are applying online then you will pay IHS through your credit or debit card during the application process.

If you are applying by post, then you have to make your IHS payment online before you apply for the visa. After the payment is completed successfully, you will receive your IHS reference number that you will need to submit with your visa application.

How do I register for the NHS and get an NHS number?

Once you arrive in the UK, you have to register with a general practitioner (GP) at a local medical centre before you can access the NHS service. You will receive your NHS number when your register with a GP that you can use later to get access to the benefits of NHS.

You can use this NHS search tool to look for the nearest GP services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Doctors serving under the NHS are known as General Practitioners (GP). The GPs you are registered with keep track of your medical history and records and refer you to specialists or consultants if you are in the need of more specific treatment.

Most GPs have a website you can register through in the UK. You don’t need proof of ID to register with a GP, but it might help if you have one or more of the following:

  • Passport
  • A letter from your university proving your enrolment to the institution

Immigration or visa documents

Yes, it is an important part of the student visa application and every student applying for a student visa should pay the Immigration Health Surcharge to be eligible for the visa.

Studying in the UK as an international student is an exciting experience, but it’s important to ensure you’re adequately covered with health insurance for the duration of your stay. We hope you get all the information you were looking for regarding health insurance in the UK. If you require further help with the visa or the admission process, contact us and Edvise Hub's dedicated staff will help you overcome all the hurdles and make your study abroad dream come true.