Your European health insurance card (EHIC) is valid for five years, so if you haven’t done so recently check that it’s still valid, especially if you’re planning to travel soon. If you find that your card is out of date, or will run out while you are away, it’s time to renew. Renewal of an EHIC is free and generally takes up to seven to ten days for the new card to get to you, so make sure you leave enough time for it to arrive before you go away (if you post your application it may take a little longer).
EHIC renewal is easy and you can renew your card up to six months before the official renewal date, but remember that this time will not be added to your new card; as soon as your new card arrives your five years starts again.
European health insurance card renewal can be done in several ways: if your personal circumstances have not changed, doing this online is quick and easy; or you can call the NHS website on 0300 330 1350 quoting your PIN (personal identification number found on your card alongside your date of birth) to request an application form to be sent to you. Alternatively, you can go the NHS website to print one off, complete it and post it to NHS Business Services Authority, European Health Insurance Card, EHIC Applications, Bridge House, 152 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 6SN.
The European Health Insurance Card Application
Don’t forget that if you request a form to be sent to you, you will need to take into account the time it takes for it to get to you through the post while you’re waiting for your new card to arrive.
You can’t get application forms or apply for renewal of an EHIC through your doctor or the Post Office.
If you have a family and need to renew some but not all of their EHIC cards, this is easy to do online but you need to remember to include the details of all of your family members to make sure that their details all remain linked. You will get a warning message for those cards that are not due for renewal but this is OK, only those that are due to expire will be renewed.
If you are trying to renew your EHIC card online because some of your personal details have changed, such as your address, you will need your PIN. Enter your new address in the address field and your new card will be sent to that address.
If you need to amend your personal details, you can only renew your card online if you have your PIN, which is on your EHIC card. The PIN begins with “UK” (for example, UK123456). It’s a good idea to keep your PIN where you can find it easily in case you ever need to contact the EHIC team, as they will then be able to find your details easily on the system.