Common questions about EHIC/GHIC


I have GHIC, why do I need travel insurance as well? 

Having both travel insurance and GHIC is always recommended because the latter only covers visits for a medical emergency to the A&E or visiting a doctor that is part of the state healthcare system only. Since many nations in the EU have state healthcare facilities that are away from tourist destinations attempting to reach them in case of any medical emergency will not be feasible. In addition, having a GHIC will not entitle the card holder any rescue services or getting repatriated to the UK by an air ambulance either. Therefore, having your GHIC along with sufficient travel insurance is advisable so that you are covered for other situations like theft, cancellation of flights, visiting a private hospital etc. 

Will having a GHIC entitle me to a refund for medical expenses? 

Not necessarily because in most situations any medical expenses you may incur will not be reimbursable by the GHIC. When its predecessor the EHIC was launched it was done with the objective of UK citizens gaining access to EU state healthcare medical facilities like the rest of the local resident of the EU nation they visit. The GHIC works the same way and in countries where the state healthcare system is free there will be no charges. However, in some nations where the locals have to make a small contribution towards medical costs, the GHIC holder will also have to pay the same amount.  It may include costs for staying overnight, boarding and bedding expenses etc. Having travel insurance in this case will be beneficial as they will in all probability refund the costs. 

How to get my GHIC? 

You will need to get your GHIC if your EHIC has expired. If you need a replacement card in most cases the UK government will issue the replacement a GHIC and it can be applied for online by visiting the NHS website. There also is the option to get it via the postal service or seek the services of a third-party service provider to make the process much easier and hassle free. 

Where is the GHIC valid? 

You can use the EHIC all across the EU nations and Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and also Australia and New Zealand. Talks are on to include other nations under a reciprocal agreement at a later stage. Since most of the EU tourist locations in the Mediterranean have regular visitors with EHIC/ GHIC cards using the card in these places is simple and convenient. Only in areas which are off the tourist trail it may take longer as they have not had any interaction with foreign visitors using these cards.    

Can a European national access the NHS? 

Since the GHIC and EHIC are reciprocal in arrangement with EU countries their nationals can get emergency treatment at the NHS whenever required. The guidelines and restrictions still do apply so that visitors do not especially visit the country to undergo treatment. Those EU nationals that have their EHIC cards that are valid can continue to use them in the UK in case of an emergency. 

Do family members require individual cards? 

Having a single EHIC card is not valid to use for other family members. Each individual must have their own EHIC card when on a trip to any country in the EU. The spouse will need to have a card of her own as well as all the children will need to have their separate cards. Any child that is 16 years and older can apply for their card themselves and for younger kids the parents can apply on behalf of the kids. 

How long can I use my GHIC? 

Like the EHIC, the GHIC is also valid for a period of five years from the date of being issued. Quite many EHIC holders had their cards renewed in the winter months of 2020, therefore these cards are valid for use for around another three years or so. If you are has expired or about to, apply for a new card that will be its replacement the GHIC or else continue to use your EHIC when visiting any EU nation. 


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