Wednesday, 2 September 2009

European Health Insurance Card

If you plan to travel to the Continent during your stay in Britain, you'll want to make sure you apply for a European Health Insurance card. This card, which is FREE to obtain, entitles you to health care while you are away. "The EHIC covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip...(you'll have) access to state-provided medical treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living in the country you're visiting. Remember, this...may mean that you have to make a financial contribution to the cost of your care (a 'co-payment')." The card is valid for five years and can be renewed when it expires. "People who are ordinarily resident in the UK are entitled to a UK-issued EHIC (but it is not valid for people who are going to live abroad)."

For those who do not have UK nationality (such as Americans living in the UK), this health insurance is valid in all EU countries, but not in Denmark, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. Iceland will treat patients for emergency care only.

Here's what you need to do to apply.

1. Go to your local Post Office and request an application form for the European Health Insurance Card. They may tell you just to apply online. If they do, tell them you can't and that you need a paper form. Currently (at the time of writing this post) it is not possible for non-UK nationals to apply online, therefore you need to get an application from the Post Office.

2. Fill out the form. You will need your NHS number or, alternatively, your National Insurance Number. You need only one form per family.

3. In the envelope provided, mail the form to the EHIC Applications Centre. You should receive your new card within 2-3 weeks.

For further information, see the following website:

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Obtaining a National Insurance Number

Everyone who works in the UK, regardless of nationality, must have a National Insurance Number. Most Britons obtain one when they begin work, or around age 16. However, chances are if you're reading this, you haven't yet obtained one and need to know how. Here's a little background first.

A National Insurance Number is different from a National Health Service (NHS) Number. If you're looking for information on getting a NHS number, click here. The NHS number will give you access to free National Health care during your stay in the UK. A National Insurance Number, which is our subject here, is the equivalent of the American Social Security Number. This number is important mostly for tax purposes, though there are special benefits for UK nationals.

In order to apply, here's what you need to do:

1. Contact Jobcentre Plus at 0845 600 0643 (8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday) to have your situation reviewed. If they determine that you need a NI Number, they will either set up an interview for you at your local Jobcentre Plus office or mail you an application. (In some cases, you cannot apply for a NI number without a firm job offer.)

2. EITHER Attend your interview on the appropriate day. This shouldn't take more than 30 minutes. They will ask you questions to determine your eligibility to work in the UK, etc. Nothing scary. OR If they don't require you to attend an interview, complete the application and mail back along with copies of your passport and visa.

3. If my experience is normative, they will send you a letter within a week or two containing your new NI number. In about 4-8 weeks, you will get an official NI card for your wallet.

Also note, in my experience, employers are not strict about you having a NI number in order to secure a job, as long as you tell them that you're in the application process, or about to apply. You should be able to give them your NI number as soon as you obtain it.

For more information on applying for a NI number, click here.

Stumble Upon Toolbar