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What is the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)?

The Global Health Insurance Card, or GHIC is a direct replacement for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is being discontinued as a part of Brexit. The GHIC gives you the right to access state-provided 'medically necessary' healthcare during any temporary stay within European Union countries. This includes holidays, study, and business trips. The NHC defines medically necessary treatment as "Healthcare that cannot reasonably wait until you come back to the UK". This will be decided by the healthcare provider in the country you are visiting at the time.

Although GHIC contains both the terms 'global' and 'insurance', it's important to know that this card is only valid in the European Union, and is not a substitute for, or form of travel insurance.

Is the GHIC travel insurance?

Although the GHIC is useful to have in the event of a medical emergency, it does not replace travel insurance. The government advises that "anyone travelling overseas, whether to the EU or elsewhere in the world, should take out comprehensive travel insurance."

Holiday Extras provides comprehensive Travel Insurance in three distinct levels for both single and multi-trip travellers. We have over 30 trained insurance specialists on hand, as well as an Insurance Support Page to help you book the best travel insurance policy for your own personal needs.

How do I apply for a GHIC?

You can apply for the UK Global Health Insurance Card by filling out the GHIC application form on the official NHS website. Doing so is free of charge, and the NHS recommends you apply at least two weeks before travelling.

To complete your GHIC application, ensure you have the following information close to hand:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance or NHS number (England and Wales)
  • CHI number (Scotland)
  • Health and Care number (Northern Ireland)

How does the GHIC differ from the EHIC?

Although the GHIC and former EHIC serve the same purpose, there are some changes that should be noted. The GHIC covers the 27 European Union countries, but unlike the EHIC, does not cover Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

NOTE: If you still have a valid EHIC, as of 1st January 2021, it will no longer be valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

What countries does the GHIC cover?

At present, the GHIC covers Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Are there any European territories that the GHIC does not cover?

At present, the GHIC does not cover any countries that are not a part of the European Union. This includes the Channel Islands (including Guernsey, Alderney and Sark), The Isle of Man, Monaco, San Marino and The Vatican

Do I need a GHIC to travel?

Although a GHIC is not necessary to travel, it is highly recommended that you and all those you travel with carry one as a failsafe, should something happen to you whilst abroad in Europe.

Do children need a GHIC?

Yes. Every individual requires their own GHIC. You must be at 16 years old to apply for a GHIC, meaning that parents or guardians will have to apply on behalf of anyone under 16. There is a dependents section on the official application form.

Holiday Extras Travel Insurance is sold and administered by Holiday Extras Cover Limited, registered office address: Ashford Road, Newingreen, Hythe, Kent CT21 4JF.

Holiday Extras Cover Limited is an insurance intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 828848. You can check this by visiting the Financial Services Register

Holiday Extras™ is a Trading Name of Holiday Extras Cover Limited. The insurance is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited. Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited is a company incorporated in England and Wales with company number 13436330 and whose registered office address is 10 Fenchurch Avenue, London, United Kingdom, EC3M 5BN.

Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 955859. You can check this by visiting the Financial Services Register