Can visitors from overseas receive NHS treatment by a GP?

We often get asked ‘Can visitors from overseas receive NHS treatment?’

The following article details ‘How to access NHS services in England if you are visiting from abroad’

This information is for people who are visiting England from abroad. It tells you how to access different types of healthcare and whether you might need to pay.

Note:  You will need to pay for some things such as eye tests, dental treatment and prescriptions, just like people who live in England.

Basically, accessing a GP (even if you are a temporary resident from overseas), is free.

NHS prescriptions

If you are a temporary resident from overseas registered with an NHS GP you are able to collect a prescription.

The standard NHS prescription charges apply unless the patient is entitled to free NHS prescriptions (see below).

What are the rules that entitles at patient (event if they visiting from overseas) to free NHS prescriptions?

You can get free NHS prescriptions if, at the time the prescription is dispensed, you:

  • are 60 or over
  • are under 16
  • are 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  • are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MATEX)
  • have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MEDEX)
  • have a continuing physical disability that prevents you going out without help from another person and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MEDEX)
  • hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability
  • are an NHS inpatient

You're also entitled if you or your partner get, or you're under the age of 20 and the dependant of someone getting:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Universal Credit and meet the qualifying conditions
  • If you're entitled to or named on:
    • a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
    • a valid HC2 certificate
  • If you have a HC3 for partial help with health costs are not entitled to free NHS prescriptions.
First Published
10 November 2022
Updated On
6 November 2023
Due to be Reviewed
20 November 2025
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