Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I want to know if I am entitled to medical assistance in the UK while visiting for 3 weeks in June. I am travelling on my Canadian passport since my UK one is outdated. Thank you.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

From the NHS Information for visitors to England site:

The NHS is a residence-based healthcare system


Hospital treatment is free to 'ordinary residents' of the UK. But if you are visiting the UK – to stay with family, on business, as a tourist, or if you are living here without proper permission – then you are likely to be charged by an NHS hospital for the treatment you receive

As such, since you're a Canadian resident, you're not entitled to NHS coverage through the normal route. Citizenship doesn't help, it's the residency (and hence paying for it through taxes) that counts

There are quite a few countries with reciprocal healthcare agreements, under which residents of those countries can use the NHS while visiting, and UK residents can use their system when registering there. Unfortunately, Canada is not one of them.

As a British citizen, you're entitled to move to the UK. If you did, you could register with a GP, and start accessing NHS treatments. However, if you're just visiting, and don't qualify for one of the exemptions on this page, you'll need to take out travel insurance with a health component / arrange for your existing health insurance at home to cover you abroad.

share|improve this answer
As an aside, the answer would be the same if you were travelling on your British passport. –  DJClayworth Jun 4 '14 at 17:19
Interesting to note that one of the exemptions is "UK state pensioners living outside the EEA". –  DJClayworth Jun 4 '14 at 17:20
I think they figure that if you've paid enough years worth of NI contributions to qualify for a state pension, you've funded the system enough to be entitled! –  Gagravarr Jun 4 '14 at 20:35

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.