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I'm an EU national who, for the most part, have lived in the UK since 2009 (2 years of school, 4 years of uni with one year USA exchange, now working full time for the last 15 months).

I'm considering going off to travel the world for several months, stopping of to help out at farms, maybe do some freelancing, or get involved in local start-ups - the point is, I won't have a permanent address. Technically, I can probably keep using my houseshare as my correspondence address, and stay there every now and then, but my room would be rented out to someone else. The point is, I can stay in the UK legally at the moment, and I am considered a resident here, not at my home country.

I was wondering how leaving for extended travel might affect my UK residency status, particularly for things like using the National Health Service. If I end up in any health trouble, would I be forced to seek treatment in my home state where I wasn't resident for the last 7 years, or could I do that in the UK?

  • How many months would you be considering? – Mark Mayo Dec 13 '16 at 13:17
  • Depends on a number of factors but I'm expecting to be nomadic-ish for approx. 6-9 months. – Sanuuu Dec 13 '16 at 14:02
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Unfortunately, the best answer you probably will get is that 'it depends on the circumstances'. To be eligible for NHS benefits, you must be an 'ordinary resident' of the UK, but there is no definitive definition of the concept of ordinary residence. If in doubt, an NHS body will decide on a case-by-case basis.

The NHS guidelines on determining ordinary residence status can be found in chapter 3 in their handbook 'Guidance on implementing the overseas visitor hospital charging regulations 2015', but they are very vague. Travelling for several months is at least not a definitive reason for rejection.

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