The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) provides healthcare services that are free (with the exceptions of some services such as prescriptions, optical services and dental services) at the point of use for all UK residents.
If you are a Tier 4 student (studying at Ulster for 6 months or more), you will be asked when applying for your visa to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. You will then be able to use the NHS but you will still need to pay for some services, such as dental treatment, eye tests or prescriptions. You will need to bring your Biometric Residence Permit with you when you access healthcare in the UK.
If you are coming to Ulster from the European Economic Area (EEA) then you must apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in your country of residence before you travel as this will be required to prove that you are entitled to free treatment. An EHIC is still acceptable and will remain acceptable until the, at least, the end of December 2020. At that point, your EHIC might not be valid but we will advise students further about this in the lead up to Brexit.
Please Note: As not all NHS treatments are free to EEA nationals, and because of the UK’s planned withdrawal from the EU, we strongly advise that all students purchase their own medical insurance before they travel, for the duration of their stay.
Healthcare in the UK for students from outside the EEA/EU/Switzerland
If you are coming to Ulster from a country outside the EEA/EU/Switzerland and will be studying for a period of 6 months or less you will be expected to pay for some NHS treatments, including doctor appointments, prescriptions, minor procedures, dental and optical services and follow-up treatment after using Accident and Emergency (A&E) services. We strongly advise that all students purchase their own medical insurance before they travel, for the duration for their stay.
Further information can be found at UKCISA
Before leaving home, you must check with your doctor if you require any vaccinations. Depending on the country you are travelling from the following vaccinations may be required:
- Tuberculosis – please check here to find out if you need to be screened for tuberculosis before you travel.
- Meningitis C.
- Pertussis (Whopping Cough)
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella
- Haemophilus influenza type B
If you are not immunised against the above diseases, please speak to your doctor and arrange to receive any necessary vaccinations before arriving in the UK. You must bring documentary evidence with English translation to present to an immigration officer on arrival in the UK. You may find the information here helpful.
If you are bringing any prescribed medication with you to the UK, carry a letter from your doctor in your hand luggage explaining what the medication is. Please ensure that the letter is translated into English.
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions you may find it useful to contact Student Wellbeing staff on your campus who can offer professional, free and confidential advice on a range of issues.
Registering with a GP (General Practitioner)
Doctors in Northern Ireland normally accept onto their lists of NHS patients, students on courses of at least six months’ duration. To register, you will need to visit the doctor’s surgery during consulting hours, taking a letter with you from your institution as proof that you are a student, confirmation of your address and your passport and BRP. Students who are studying for a period of less than six months will still be seen by local GP services – Student Wellbeing Services staff or your International Student Experience team member on your campus will be able to advise you on how to contact local medical services.
Healthcare for family members
As long as your course lasts six months or more, your wife/husband and children under 16 (under 19 if still in school or college) can get free healthcare through the NHS. When you arrive at Ulster you will be encouraged to register with a local doctor, when your family arrives, you should register each member with the same doctor’s practice. If your course at Ulster lasts less than six months then you should take out medical insurance for the duration of your stay in the UK.
Opticians and dentists will generally charge for treatment. However, children under the age of 16, or under 19 if in full-time education, are eligible for free dental treatment. Women who are pregnant or have had a baby within the last 12 months are also eligible.
Before leaving home you must check with your doctor if you require any vaccinations.
Depending on the country you are travelling from the following vaccinations may be required:
- Tuberculosis – find out if you need to be screened for tuberculosis before you travel.
- Meningitis C
- Pertussis (Whooping cough)
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella
- Haemophilus infuenza type B
If you are not immunised against the above diseases, please speak to your doctor and arrange to receive any necessary vaccinations before arriving in the UK.