UK Healthcare Access for Migrants

Visiting the doctor in England

Go to your GP for non-urgent problems

You need to register with a General Practitioner (GP).

When you are registering, you don’t have to give:

  • Money
  • Your immigration information
  • Your address

Find your local GP at this link and enter your postcode.

If you are asked for proof of identity but can’t give it If you do not have a fixed address, you can use the address of the doctor’s surgery instead. This is advice from NHS England: “Homeless patients are entitled to register with a GP using a temporary address which may be a friend’s address or a day centre. The practice may also use the practice address to register them if they wish. If possible practices should try to ensure they have a way of contacting the patient if they need to (for example with test results).”

You do not have to provide information about address / immigration status / nationality. If you are asked to but can’t give it, show the receptionist the picture below​. This is the law (see p6).

Section from Page 6 of NHS England's Patient Registration: Pan-London Standard Operating Principles for Primary Care

If you still can’t register, contact Doctors of the World

➔ Telephone: 020 7515 7534 at 10am-12am Monday to Friday

➔ Email:

GP appointments

● They can be short – try to decide what to say before you go.

● They are for both physical and mental health.


  • The GP may give you a green piece of paper to get medicine – this is a prescription.
  • Take it to any Chemist / Pharmacy. They will give you the medicine with information about how and when to take it.
  • It costs £8.40 to get your medication.
  • They are free if you are: over 60, under 16,between 16 and 18 and at school / college, pregnant or have a MatEx (maternity) card, receive benefits.
  • The prescription has the full list of when medicine is free written on it.

An example of what a prescription looks like

Hospital care

If you have a visa that’s been given since April 2015 and is valid for over 6 months it’s likely you paid a “health surcharge” that entitles you to secondary (hospital) care at no extra cost

● OR if you come under one of the descriptions on pages 6 and 7 you shouldn’t be asked to pay for services

● OTHERWISE, if you don’t have ‘indefinite leave to remain’, hospital care can cost money and if you were in hospital and then left, you may be charged for the care you get in clinics after

● BUT guidance says urgent treatment should not be withheld even if you indicate you won’t be able to pay

● Hospitals will take your details when you arrive, and later an overseas visitors officer might ask for more information, which may be shared with the Home Office

Which services are free?

Accident and Emergency:​ ​emergency care is free. But if it is not an emergency, see your GP, which is also free.

Sexual Health and Family Planning Services.

Serious Mental Health Issues.

Certain Infectious Diseases.

Who does not pay?

Those with an EEA enforceable right to free healthcare: If you are entitled to healthcare in another European Economic Area country, you can show an EHIC or PRC to get treatment.  This also applies to the children and spouses/civil partners of anyone with this status

Anyone who has a visa who paid the healthcare surcharge

Refugees: You need to prove this (with your residence permit)

Asylum seekers: You need to prove this (with your HC2 form or application registration card)

Failed asylum seekers: If you have an outstanding appeal/further hearing or are receiving support from the Home Office or your local authority (e.g. for housing), you should not have to pay

Detainees: This applies to people who are held in immigration removal centres.

If you are not happy with the care you receive whilst in detention, contact: Medical Justice – Telephone: 0207 561 7498 – Email:

Victims of human trafficking: Victims, suspected victims and their families should not have to pay for healthcare provided they are here legally.

This means you need proof of having been a victim, usually from the Home Office or the UK Human Trafficking Centre · If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking, and you agree for the British authorities to investigate your case, contact: The Salvation Army – Telephone: 0300 303 8151 (24-hour, confidential)

Victims of abuse: Torture, domestic violence, sexual abuse, FGM.

Only treatment for the injury / illness caused by the abuse is free. Treatment for anything else will not be free; you have to be able to prove the abuse. For help with this, contact: Freedom from Torture – Telephone: 020 7697 7777 8.

What is free of charge?

Family Planning

● Contraceptives, including condoms

● Testing and treatment of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases

Which family planning services are NOT​ free?

● Abortion

● Pregnancy services

● For advice these issues, contact Doctors of the World (details above) or Maternity Action – Telephone: 0845 600 85 33 (Wed 10am-2pm, Thurs 3pm-7pm, Fri 10am-2pm; calls cost 5p/min plus your own network charge).

Which diseases are treated for free?

Serious mental health problems. These are only treated in some hospitals.  If you have mental health problems, but do not want to speak to a doctor about them, contact: Mind ➔ Telephone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday-Friday 09.00-18.00) ➔ Text: 86463 ➔ Email:

Some infectious diseases. Tests are free too, even if you don’t have one of these diseases. But treatment for any other diseases you have at the same time is not free.

● HIV, TB, food poisoning (full list on next page)

● You might be charged by mistake – make sure you check if your illness is on the list! 10

Infectious diseases that are treated for free:

  • acute encephalitis
  • acute poliomyelitis
  • anthrax
  • botulism
  • brucellosis
  • cholera
  • diphtheria
  • enteric fever (typhoid and paratyphoid fever)
  • food poisoning
  • haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS)
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • infectious bloody diarrhoea
  • invasive group A streptococcal disease
  • scarlet fever
  • invasive meningococcal disease
  • Legionnaires’ Disease
  • leprosy
  • leptospirosis
  • malaria
  • measles
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
  • mumps
  • pandemic influenza
  • plague
  • rabies
  • rubella
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
  • smallpox
  • tetanus
  • tuberculosis
  • typhus
  • viral haemorrhagic fever (which includes Ebola)
  • viral hepatitis
  • whooping cough
  • yellow fever

The future

From April 2017, hospitals will be legally obliged to charge non-EEA patients upfront for non-urgent care. Depending on how this is enforced, this may require making a payment before treatment can be received.

If you would like to tell us about your experiences or join in our fight against this, please email: or message us on Facebook.