Overseas visitors

The national health service (NHS) provides free hospital treatment for people who live lawfully in the United Kingdom only.

If you do not normally live in this country or you cannot confirm you are a lawful settled UK resident and you do not meet one of the exemptions from charges criteria, you will have to pay for any treatment you need. This is regardless of your nationality, whether you hold a British passport, have previously lived in the UK, have paid National Insurance and taxes in the UK in the past, own property in the UK or have been issued with an HC2 certificate.

Covid-19 testing requirements

If you are coming in for surgery at City Road, or any of our other sites north of the river Thames (except Bedford), you will need to complete a lateral flow test 24 hours before your appointment. These are available from gov.uk or by ringing 119 if you are in the UK, or you can use one sourced overseas. After taking your test, you will need to register your results on gov.uk, or ring 119 if you are in the UK and they can do this for you. You will need to bring in a copy of the email or text message they send you, a photo of the test or the test itself as evidence of your test.

If your surgery is at Bedford or is south of the river Thames (e.g. Croydon, St George's), please refer to the details in your letter or ring the number in your letter, as these sites have different arrangements for testing.

International patients should take a lateral flow test in the 24 hours before their procedure, and should bring the results of the test with them.

There is no longer any requirement to isolate before surgery, and there is no requirement for testing prior to outpatient appointments.

What happens if I need to attend the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department?

You will not be charged for treatment that you receive in the A&E department. However, this does not include emergency treatment given in any other department in the hospital, which will include;

  • if you are operated upon
  • if you are admitted to an inpatient ward
  • if you are allocated an outpatient appointment.

How can I prove that I am entitled to free hospital treatment?

For you to receive free hospital treatment, you will need to provide evidence that you are legally living within the UK. All patients treated at this hospital, whatever their nationality and living status, are required to provide correct information when registering their details. If you are living in the UK on a lawful settled basis then you should be prepared to provide evidence.

How will I know if I have to pay?

The overseas visitors manager can provide you with more detailed information if you are unsure whether you are entitled to free hospital treatment. You will be asked to provide evidence of entitlement – they will advise you of what documents are acceptable.

Accessing health services

For further information on how to access health services in the United Kingdom, please see our accessing health services page.

If I am not eligible for free treatment, what will I have to pay for?

You will be charged for any treatment given to you by any member of staff in any of our services, both in the hospital or in the community.

Exceptions may apply under certain circumstances, but we will discuss this with you if it applies to you.

If you are confirmed by the clinical team as seeking routine and planned NHS hospital care, you will be expected to pay in advance to the full estimate of care before you have the care. If you cannot pay for routine and planned care in advance, we will not be able to give you the care and will return your case to your GP or the referring clinician.

Current regulations guide

The Government website Gov.uk provides information on the current regulations. The information available on the link below is a general guide and does not provide a full summary of the current regulations.

Guidance on overseas visitors hospital charging regulations

Contact us for further information

To prove your entitlement, contact our overseas visitors officer. Our officer is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and can be contacted as follows:

  • Telephone: +44 (0)20 253 3411 extension 6724. Please leave a voice message if no one is available to take your call.
  • Email: moorfields.overseas@nhs.net
  • Post: Overseas visitors officer, finance department, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Kemp House, 152-160 City Road, London EC1V 2NX

Last updated: 10th May 2022