If you are a migrant, you will not be charged for primary care NHS treatment, but if you need secondary care treatment, you will need to provide evidence that you are living in the UK lawfully and permanently. The British Government states that the following groups do not have to pay for primary care treatment:

  • Refugees (people who have been granted asylum, humanitarian protection or temporary protection under the immigration rules) and their dependants
  • Asylum seekers (people applying for asylum, humanitarian protection or temporary protection whose claims, including appeals, have not yet been determined) and their dependants
  • People receiving support under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 from the Home Office
  • Children looked after by a local council
  • Victims, and suspected victims, of modern slavery or human trafficking, as determined by the UK Human Trafficking Centre or the Home Office, plus their spouse or civil partner, and any children under 18 provided they are lawfully present in the UK
  • Immigration detainees
  • Prisoners

Free Primary Care Treatment

  • GP services
  • Accident & Emergency treatment (A&E)
  • Ambulance services (including air ambulance)
  • Walk-in centres
  • Urgent Treatment Centres
  • Services for treating a physical or mental condition caused by torture, female genital mutilation, domestic violence or sexual violence
  • Diagnosis of a named infectious disease
  • NHS services provided for COVID-19 investigation, diagnosis and treatment
  • Family planning and contraception (does not include termination of pregnancy or infertility treatment)
  • Palliative (end of life) care in the community or hospice
  • Services that are provided as part of the NHS 111 telephone advice line

Be aware, you might be asked to pay for some maternity care (having a baby). However, the NHS would not stop you having maternity care even if you cannot afford to pay, because it is very important to protect you and your baby.

Hospital treatment in Leeds

When you arrive at a hospital in Leeds for your appointment or treatment, this is what will usually happen:

  • You will be asked to confirm how long you have lived in the UK.
  • You will be asked to complete a form called the NHS Eligibility Form. A member of staff can help you with this if you need it.
  • You will be given a copy of the form which tells you what evidence you need to provide to show you are living lawfully and permanently in the UK.

There are different documents you can provide as evidence. They include:

  • Passport with UK visa
  • EU National Identity card
  • Asylum registration card
  • Biometric Residence Card
  • Utility / council tax bill
  • Tenancy agreement
  • Wage slip

Charges for hospital treatment

There may be charges for some hospital treatment which are not included on the above list. This type of treatment is called secondary care and includes, for example, when you have an appointment for a non-emergency operation.

Most migrants will not be expected to pay for secondary care hospital. However, you may have to pay if:

  • You cannot provide the right evidence to show you are settled and lawfully in the UK (as above).
  • You are visiting the UK and you need emergency treatment at hospital. You are considered to be a visitor if you live in another country and have a fixed date when you will return home.

You don’t have to pay:

  • If you are from a country that is part of the EEA and you can prove your intent to settle in the UK. However, if you are exercising your EU treaty rights as a ‘self-sufficient person’ your husband, wife or partner will be asked to sign a form to say they are looking after you.
  • If you are from a country that is not part of the EEA, and you have Indefinite Leave to Remain immigration status. You will be asked to show your Biometric Residence Card.
  • If you have refugee status or are an asylum seeker or failed asylum seeker receiving support from the Home Office or local authority.
  • If you are a student or visiting from another country and have a non-UK Health Insurance Card and health insurance.

Find out more on the NHS Choices website:

Categories of Exemption

If you are asked to pay, here is some further useful information:

  • If the treatment you need is not urgent (this means that you could wait until you return home) and you must pay for treatment, you will usually be asked to pay the full cost before you receive the treatment. If you need treatment immediately you will be asked to pay afterwards.
  • The hospital aims to provide you with an Estimate of Care form which explains why you have to pay for your treatment, how much you need to pay and how you can pay.
  • If you are asked to pay for your treatment, you have the right to be given information about it in a way you understand, either in your main language or by an interpreter, if you need it.

Find out more on the British Government website:

Migrant Health Guide

Find out more on the NHS Choices website:

Moving to England from the EEA

Relatives visiting you from outside the UK

If a family member from your home country is visiting you and becomes ill or has a medical emergency during their stay, they may also be charged for treatment – remind visitors to the UK to have sufficient insurance cover in case of illness.


Last Updated: 19 September 2022

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