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Brexit: Can you use your EHIC when travelling to Europe?

Brexit: Can you use your EHIC when travelling to Europe?

There has been confusion over whether the EHIC can still be used in the run up to Brexit with 74% of people admitting they were not sure if theirs was still valid.

Indeed, half of those questioned in a survey by travel insurers Columbus Direct said they were not sure if it would be valid once Britain left the EU.

Deal or No Deal? How will it impact the EHIC?

However, Columbus Direct confirmed the card, which entitles Brits to free or discounted medical care on holiday in EU countries, will remain valid until the end of the transition period if we leave with a deal. This is most likely to be the end of 2020.

If, however, the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the Government is advising the card will be valid until the Brexit deadline, which is 31 October 2019.

The Government is working to maintain the same level of cover for all UK residents so it’s possible this could change. In the meantime, Columbus Direct said it was even more important for Brits to purchase travel insurance so they were fully protected.


For now, the advice from Columbus Direct to anyone planning a trip to the EU is to make sure they have an up-to-date EHIC, as well as travel insurance, in place. Renewing your EHIC is easy to do online and is also free.

Stuart Lloyd, travel insurance expert at Columbus Direct, said: “Political uncertainty has understandably left consumers confused about what protection they’ll have when travelling to the EU in the coming months.

“The confusion will continue until we have clarity around the UK’s exit from the EU.

“To protect yourself, make sure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place, as well as an up-to-date EHIC. Having both means you will be covered in almost all situations and will protect you from the costs that the EHIC wouldn’t cover such as flight cancellations or baggage losses.

“And, renewing your EHIC is free, so giving yourself a safety net on top of insurance is a no-brainer.”

Obtaining your EHIC

The EHIC card entitles all UK residents to the same treatment as local citizens in the European country they are visiting. They are free and remain valid for five years once taken out or renewed.

If you are not sure if yours is valid, you can check  by looking at expiry date on the bottom right hand corner of the card.

You can apply or renew the card via the EHIC or NHS websites but it takes seven days for the card to arrive so make sure you leave plenty of time.