Am I still covered if I forget my GHIC when abroad?

Am I still covered if I forget my GHIC when abroad?

What happens if you forget your GHIC (Previously known as EHIC) when traveling abroad? Can you still receive medical treatment? Keeping your GHIC with you, up to date and in safety while you are traveling is extremely important. It can help you avoid stressful situations should you or a member of your family become ill or involved in an accident. Here are our tips to make sure you do not forget it the next time you travel. And if you forget your GHIC, here is what to do.

Issuing a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC)

If you need medical assistance but do not have your GHIC with you, you will need to ask for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC). This document will allow you to be receiving your GHIC cover normally.

To issue a PRC, you can call the Department for Work and Pensions Overseas Healthcare Team (DWP OHT). Tel: +44 (0)191 218 1999.
Another person is allowed to do this request on your behalf if you are unable to. The PRC will provide the same cover as your GHIC until you are back home. It can be sent by email or fax. To receive your PRC, you will need to have the following information in hand:

  • National Insurance number
  • First name
  • Last name
  • UK address
  • Date of birth
  • NHS number (if possible)
  • The e-mail address or fax number, for the specific department in the organization that provides your treatment

Travel checklist

What to do if your GHIC is lost or stolen while you are abroad? See our guide here.

Before leaving the country, always make sure your GHIC is kept with your travel documents. A simple method to always remember your GHIC is to keep it with your passport. Having your GHIC with you will prevent any additional stress in case of an illness or an accident. You will be able to receive medical treatment with the peace of mind of not expecting a large bill.

We recommend you to check that your GHIC and the ones of your family members are up to date at least 2 weeks before you travel. You can renew your GHIC here, but please bear in mind that it will take between 7 and 10 days to receive your new card at your UK address. The GHIC lasts five years, and you can renew it up to 6 months before it expires.

While you are abroad, keep your GHIC safe with your travel documents to help avoid any unwelcome surprise such as loss of theft. You can keep it in the safe of your hotel room with your passport and have a copy of both with you. It can be very helpful to avoid additional stress should you or a member of your family be ill or involved in an accident.