Coming to the UK to study when you have a PID

Getting your healthcare arrangements sorted out may be the last thing on your mind when you are going to study in another country but its best to plan ahead. This page will help guide you through what is needed. The information should be read in conjunction with this associated webpage.

General information

For students wishing to study in the UK the website Foreign Students provides information about healthcare and the NHS.

Students from the EEA

The UK’s Department of Health has produced a leaflet on healthcare information for students from the EEA wishing to use the NHS.

If you are exercising your right to reside in the UK as a student, in accordance with UK EEA regulations you are required to hold comprehensive sickness insurance throughout your period of residence in the UK. Having a valid EHIC issued by an EEA member state other than the UK satisfies this requirement if you are residing in the UK temporarily as a student. Alternatively you can obtain forms S1, S2 or S3 from the social security institution in your EEA country of residence outside the UK. You would need to contact the social security institution directly to ascertain whether one of these forms would be relevant to your circumstances. If you are not entitled to an EHIC or cannot be issued one of these forms, you are advised to obtain comprehensive private medical insurance.

You can read further information here.

Students from outside the EEA

Those applying for a Tier 4 student visa and coming to the UK for six months or longer will be required to pay an immigration health surcharge as part of their visa application fee.

Students will be required to pay £150 per year of leave granted on their visa. If the leave includes part of a year that is six months or less, the amount payable for that year will be £75. If the leave includes part of a year that is more than six months, the full annual amount of £150 will be payable. Tier 4 dependants will also be required to pay the surcharge. The immigration health surcharge is in addition to the standard visa application fee.

For students applying for entry clearance from overseas, the surcharge will apply to visa applications for courses of six months or longer. For students making an application for further leave to remain in the UK, the surcharge will apply for courses of any length.

The immigration health surcharge will entitle Tier 4 students to access NHS care in the UK free of charge, in the same way as a permanent UK resident. This includes at the doctor’s surgery (known as a general practitioner or GP), a healthcare centre or in a hospital. You may need to pay for dental and optical treatment, as well as for medicines prescribed by the doctor and collected from a pharmacy. There are also exceptions for particularly expensive discretionary treatments.

If your visa application is unsuccessful, you will automatically be refunded the immigration health surcharge (but not the visa application fee). The surcharge will not be partially refunded if you depart the UK earlier than the expiry date of your visa. The surcharge is also not refunded if you do not use the NHS during your time in the UK.

Once you have received your Tier 4 visa and paid the immigration health surcharge, you should have the same rights as a UK resident and be able to receive immunoglobulin therapy.

Tier 4 dependants

Tier 4 dependants will also have to pay the immigration health surcharge as part of their application, at the same rate as the Tier 4 student.

When paying for the surcharge on the gov.uk website, dependants should select ‘Tier 4’ and then select the dependant option under visa type.

Short study periods

If your course is less than six months or you are required to make several occasional visits to the UK for short study periods and you are from a non-EEA country, you are advised to take out medical insurance because you will be liable for NHS charges for the treatment you receive in the UK except for in a medical emergency, and this is limited. Some countries have a reciprocal agreement with the UK that may entitle you to some free healthcare on the NHS but you should seek advice from the health authorities in your home country about what treatment will be covered. EEA nationals should obtain an EHIC.

Before travelling to the UK, you will need to contact your insurance company to ensure and obtain proof that it will cover your immunoglobulin treatment.


Note: At the time of writing the UK remains a full member of the EU. This information will be updated once the UK leaves the EU.

Posted May 2018