If you are going to visit countries belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) (that is, the European Union, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) for a temporary stay of less than 12 months and will remain ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, then you can get help with costs of some types of medical treatment, if you complete Form E111.
The types of treatment covered by E111 depend on where you are working abroad on your visit - see the section on 'European Economic Area: country-by-country checklist' in the 'Health advice for travellers booklet' (T6).
You are eligible for Form E111 if you are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom AND you are:
- a national of any other EEA country;
- a stateless person or refugee.
You are entitled to cover under the E111 regardless of your nationality, if you are a widow receiving a UK State Pension, and your husband was an EEA national, living in the United Kingdom at the time of his death.
Your Form E111 will provide cover for you, your spouse and your dependent children.
Form E111 covers temporary stays of less than 12 months. You may work for a UK employer or as a self employed person during this time, and still be covered by Form E111, as long as the DSS (or Social Security Agency for residents of Northern Ireland) confirms that you or your employer will continue to pay UK national insurance contributions. You can sometimes extend this period for up to a further 12 months - write to Contributions Agency, International Services (EC), Longbenton, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE98 1YX (or Social Security Agency, Overseas Branch, Commonwealth House, 35 Castle Street, Belfast, BT1 1DX if you are a resident of Northern Ireland) to get further details.
If you are going to work in another EEA country for more than 12 months, or will be working for a foreign employer, then E111 is not appropriate as you should be insured under the Social Security legislation of the country of your employment. Contact the Contributions Agency, International Services, Longbenton, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE98 1YX (Tel: 0191 225 4811) with your full name, UK address, National Insurance number and proposed date of departure. Residents of Northern Ireland should contact Social Security Agency, Overseas Branch, Commonwealth House, 35 Castle Street, Belfast, BT1 1DX.
If having obtained Form E111, you decide to leave the United Kingdom to live permanently in another EEA country, you will not be entitled to use your E111. Send the Form to the DSS Benefits Agency, Pensions & Overseas Benefits Directorate (Med), Tyneview Park, Whitley Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE98 1BA (or for Northern Ireland, to the Department of Health & Social Services, General Medical & Ophthalmic Services Branch, Room 909, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3SF) who will tell you whether you are entitled to UK health care cover in your new country of residence.
The 'Health advice for travellers (T6)' booklet contains an application form for an E111. This booklet is available from doctors and dentist surgeries, post offices and travel agents, or by phoning Tel: 0800 555 777 any time, free of charge.
Take the completed form to the Post Office to be stamped. Then keep the form with your passport and take it with you when you go abroad. You can use the same E111 for a period of up to 12 months as long as you remain resident in the UK.
The treatment which you can receive free or at reduced cost varies depending on whether you are visiting Europe on holiday, or are a worker temporarily living and working in Europe (See 'Europe: What Treatment Does E111 Cover?').
If you need treatment while in an European Economic Area country make sure you show your E111 form when requesting treatment. Sometimes treatment is free, sometimes you may have to pay the full cost and claim a full or partial refund. Claim any refund by applying to the local sickness insurance fund of the country you are visiting, in person or by post. You must enclose the original documents so keep a photocopy. If you leave your claim until you return to the UK you may face a long wait or lose the money altogether. If you could not get a refund abroad write explaining why to Pensions and Overseas Directorate, Medical Benefits, Newcastle upon Tyne NE98 1BA (in Northern Ireland write to Family Practitioner Services Division, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3TL). Enclose your E111, original bills, prescriptions and receipts.