Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Coming to Cardiff

Am I entitled to free medical treatment in the UK?

If your course is 6 months’ duration or more you will need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge in order to access National Health Service (NHS) treatment. The immigration health surcharge is a financial contribution to the UK's National Health Service. You will pay the surcharge if you are a non-EEA national and you are granted immigration permission to enter the UK to study for a period of more than six months. You will also need to pay it if you are a non-EEA national who is already in the UK and you wish to apply to extend your stay. You will pay the charge (currently £150 for each period of 12 months leave granted) when you make your visa application. Further information is available on the Home Office pages of the Gov.UK website:

You must also register with a doctor.

The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s state health service which provides treatment on a wide range of health care services. If you are entitled to NHS treatment this will cover you for:

  • Medicine you require on prescription - this is free in Wales (but not throughout the UK)
  • Consulting a doctor/General Practitioner/GP and most other GP services (e.g. visiting a doctors’ surgery/clinic)
  • Treatment in a hospital (both emergency and non-emergency treatment)

You are likely to pay extra for:

  • Some GP services (e.g. vaccinations for travel and getting a sickness certificate)
  • Dental treatment, see: where can I find a dentist?
  • Optical treatment (you can get free and reduced price optician services through the University’s School of Optometry)
  • Any illness or conditions which existed before you arrived in the UK

See also:

« Return to living in Cardiff homepage