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NHS charges for overseas visitors

We are committed to implementing the Hospital Charging Regulations consistently across our hospitals and services, using a robust and common sense approach.

NHS hospital treatment is not free for everyone. If you are visiting the United Kingdom (UK) and require treatment in our hospitals, you may have to pay for your treatment.

Anyone of any nationality who is not ordinarily resident in the UK at the time of treatment is regarded as an ‘Overseas Visitor’.  This means that they may be charged for the treatment they receive at any of our hospitals.

In order to ascertain a person's eligibility, we apply baseline questions to all patients. These include, but are not exclusive to,

  • "Where have you lived in the last 12 months?"
  • "Can you provide evidence to show where you live?"

Anybody who can demonstrate that they lawfully reside in the UK is unlikely to incur treatment charges.

Please do not be offended when our staff ask for documents to prove your entitlement.  If you are required to pay for your care our Overseas Visitors Team will speak with you.

Overseas Patients

An overseas patient is someone who is not ordinarily resident in the UK and does not permanently live in the UK. If you are visiting the UK or have been living outside the UK for more than six months, you may have to pay for the NHS hospital treatment whilst you are here.  This is regardless of whether you are a British citizen or have lived or worked here in the past.

NHS services and treatments which are free for everyone

Some NHS services are free to everyone. These include:

  • Accident and Emergency (A&E) services, this includes all A&E services provided at an NHS hospital, e.g. those provided at walk-in centres or urgent healthcare centres. This does not include those emergency services provided after the overseas visitor has been accepted as an inpatient, or at a follow-up outpatient appointment, for which charges must be levied unless the overseas visitor is exempt from charge in their own right
  • Services provided outside an NHS hospital, unless the staff providing the services are employed by, or working under the direction of, an NHS hospital
  • Family planning services (does not include termination of pregnancy)
  • Diagnosis and treatment of specified infectious diseases.
  • Diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections
  • Treatment required for a physical or mental condition caused by torture, female genital mutilation, domestic violence, sexual violence
  • Except where the overseas visitor has travelled to the UK for the purpose of seeking that treatment.


To discuss your circumstances please contact our Overseas Visitors Team.

Tel: 0116 258 8986