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My EHIC card has expired: what next?

If you’re travelling to a country within the European Union or the European Economic Area, you’ll want the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ll receive prompt medical attention at a licensed state facility if necessary. By applying for your European Health Insurance Card, you’ll have proof of eligibility when it matters and support when you need it. Your EHIC is often required by insurers, so make sure you’ve applied for yours in good time before you travel. If your card has expired, it might not be valid and you could be refused treatment. Make sure your card is in date.

Renewing your EHIC card

Your health insurance card needs to be renewed every five years, and the same goes for any family members or those you have carer’s responsibility for. If the expiration date on your card is approaching, you don’t need to wait for it to expire. Applications can be made up to six months before the card ends. The time left doesn’t get added on though, so be aware that you will have five years’ cover from your EHIC card even if you apply early.

Applying is quick and simple: you can do it online, as long as you have the right details ready and providing that nothing has changed. If your details need to be updated, you’ll need to follow a slightly different process. Apply for your card using your old card number if you still have it, your name and date of birth, your address and your National Insurance number or NHS number. Once your online form is submitted and your application is approved, the new card will be sent out to you within five working days.

Updating details on your EHIC card

If any of your personal details have changed since your card expired, you’ll need to have your card updated. Renewing your card can still be completed online if you have the PIN number you were issued with when you first applied. Don’t worry if you don’t though – you can call the EHIC helpline or apply by post, supplying proof of identification and other details along with the information outlined above. You can also apply for EHIC cards on behalf of others, as long as you are authorised to by that person or are the legal guardian or carer of the individual.

What happens next?

You should receive your new European Health Insurance Card quickly, as the service aims to send cards within five days of application. If there is a delay and you need to travel urgently, you should find that you’re covered as long as the application has been processed. Although you should always carry your EHIC card where possible, you are still eligible under its terms in its absence if your application was correctly received. If you are treated overseas and need to claim, you may need to show your card alongside your insurance documents and receipts; your own insurer can clarify this point for you.

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