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UK Health Insurance For International Students: A Guide

UK Health Insurance For International Students

Obtaining UK health insurance for international students is an essential component of living a worry-free life in the country, protecting you from unforeseen medical bills. The United Kingdom has seen a tremendous increase in its international student population, which shows no indications of abating. The country is also well-known for its excellent National Health Service (NHS).

The topmost priority for UK universities is the health and well-being of international students, encompassing both mental and physical aspects. They are fully committed to ensuring your safety and providing strong support throughout your studies. 

In this blog, let us explore, the importance of UK health insurance for international students and the best picks.

Importance Of UK Health Insurance For International Students

Securing UK health insurance is a fundamental pillar of well-being and happiness.  Beyond its access to a spectrum of medical services, it also has practical benefits. 

1. Health Insurance Advantages

  • Access to high-quality medical services in hospitals, private offices, and emergency rooms.
  • Peace of mind regarding medical expenses, ensuring a comfortable stay in the UK.

2. Visa Requirement

  •   Health insurance is a crucial prerequisite for UK and global visa applications.
  •   Obtaining coverage from NHS or private providers is essential.

3. Universal Coverage

  •   Health insurance is not limited to international students; it’s accessible to residents as well
  • International students, in particular, benefit by being protected from medical costs while studying away from home.

What Does NHS (National Health Service) Cover For International Students In UK?

The NHS is one of the best UK health insurance for international students, providing top-notch care. For UK study visas and NHS services, you are expected to pay the £470 annual Immigration Health Surcharge. This includes doctor visits, unexpected medical needs, various vaccines, and reasonably priced dental treatment NHS dentists provide.

Each person has a unique NHS number for identification and records in medical care. Even if you don’t need NHS services, it’s crucial to register with a local General Practitioner (GP) clinic as soon as you arrive in the UK.


1. Free of Charge Services for Eligible International Students under the NHS:

  • Consulting your GP
  • Hospital Treatment in Accidents or Emergency Services
  • Hospital Treatment Recommended by your GP
  • Maternity Services
  • Contraceptive Services

2. Services Requiring Payment:

However, there are certain services for which eligible international students will need to pay:

  • Prescribed Medicine: Costs associated with prescribed medicines are not covered by the NHS for international students.
  • Other GP Services: Additional GP services such as travel vaccinations, dental treatments, and optical treatments require payment.

3. Non-Emergency Help Line:

Residents of England, Wales, and Scotland can access non-emergency medical assistance through the 24-hour phone service by dialling 111.

Access To NHS for International Students In UK

When it comes to accessing the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, international students who plan to stay for more than six months have specific guidelines based on their country of domicile:

1. Non-EEA International Students: NHS Surcharge

  • Non-EEA international students are required to pay an annual surcharge throughout their granted visa if it exceeds six months.
  • The surcharge amount for stays over six months is £300.
  • Dependents of students must also pay this surcharge.
  • Payment of the surcharge is part of the visa application process.
  • In the event of an unsuccessful visa application, the surcharge amount will be refunded; however, the application fee is non-refundable.

2. EU Students: European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

  • EU students are entitled to free NHS treatment using the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
  • EHIC provides access to NHS services without any charges.

These guidelines outline how international students can access NHS services while pursuing their studies in the UK based on their circumstances.

Steps To Apply For UK Health Insurance For International Students

When applying for a student visa in the UK, it is important to include the healthcare surcharge as part of the process. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to proceed with UK health insurance for international students:

Step 1: Payment of Healthcare Surcharge

Before you finalise your student visa application, ensure you have paid the healthcare surcharge. This can be accomplished either online or through mail. The payment can be made using a debit or credit card.

Step 2: Online Application

If you opt for the online application method, you will need to provide the following details:

  • Duration of your course
  • Start and end dates (if applicable) based on the sponsorship certificate, if you possess one.

Step 3: Mail Application

For those choosing the mail application route, you will need to furnish the following information:

  • Your email address
  • The specific type of visa you are applying for
  • Your travel document or passport number

Note: Ensure timely payment of the healthcare surcharge and provide accurate details as required for a successful application.

Cost of Health Insurance for International Students in the UK

When it comes to UK health insurance fees for international students, International students it is required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of £470 annually for UK student insurance fees. This fee, in addition to the visa application fee, is mandatory when applying for a student visa. If you have dependents accompanying you, a separate IHS is necessary for each of them.

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is designed to grant access to NHS benefits for individuals relocating to the UK, including UK insurance fees for international students. For study courses lasting less than six months, the fee is reduced to £235.

Top Health Insurance Providers for International Students

Compare these top providers of UK health insurance for international students to find the best fit.

IMGlobalComprehensive plans for students, ex-pats, and crew.Coverage for injury/illness up to $1M.Telemedicine & COVID-19 included.Designed for visa requirements.Large network of providers with 24/7 customer service.
Cigna GlobalSilver, Gold, and Platinum plans with global coverage.Customizable options.Quick claim processing.Quick claim processing. Extensive hospital network. 24/7 assistance.
Now Health InternationalPlans designed for foreign residents and students.Coverage in 190+ countries. Maternity coverage is available.Clear information & 24/7 support.Flexible options.Maternity routine coverage.
Allianz Worldwide Care Comprehensive coverage with specialised mental health support.Family inclusion.Direct payment to providers.24/7 customer support.User-friendly app.Mental health assistance.
Foyer Global HealthCustomisable plans with varying coverage levels.Access to advisers & specialists 24/7. Evacuation & repatriation services.Coverage for consultations, surgeries & dental.Medical support & pre-trip advice.


1. How much is UK health insurance for international students?

 Health insurance fees in the UK vary based on visa type. International students pay £470/year, others pay £624/year. Courses under 6 months have no surcharge.

2. Are international students covered by NHS in UK?

International students studying courses of 6 months or more get full healthcare coverage (excluding dental) from the NHS.

3. Which insurance is best for international students in UK?

The NHS offers various services like GP visits and hospital treatment. Students on shorter courses or those opting out of the NHS can get private healthcare insurance from their institution or a private insurer.

4. What does UK health insurance cover for international students?

International students studying in the UK for a duration of six months or longer receive healthcare through the National Health Service (NHS), which covers various services like doctor appointments, hospital care, and urgent medical assistance.

Thanks for reading this blog; If you want to read more such informative blogs; please check out the links below.

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UK Health Insurance For International Students

UK Health Insurance For International Students: A Guide

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