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 Guidance 

Please follow the below travel advice, based on UK government guidelines, before attending the hospital.

Travel from 'Red list' countries

Travel from ‘red list’ travel ban countries · Countries identified as ‘red list’ travel ban can be found on GOV.UK

Everyone travelling in or through a ‘red list’ travel ban country is currently being refused entry to the UK unless they are a British or Irish national, or they have residence rights in the UK. UK and Irish residents are required to quarantine in a designated hotel for 10 days, and negative results from PCR Covid-19 tests taken on day 2 and day 8 of this quarantine are required prior to attending the hospital for any appointments.

Any patient requiring urgent ophthalmic care during this time should phone the hospital on 020 7566 2345 or log on to a video consultation to be assessed.

Travel from all other countries

All patients entering England from travel in or through any other country should ensure that they follow the vaccinated and non-vaccinated guidelines.

Fully vaccinated

All people must undertake a PCR test on day 2 of arrival and isolate at their place of residence. When this has returned a negative result, they can attend their hospital appointment as planned. Should the PCR result be positive, then isolation for the full 10 days would be required prior to hospital attendance.

Children under the age of 4 are not required to do a PCR test unless they have been instructed to do so as part of their preparation for planned surgery.

All elective admissions for surgery must follow the instructions in the letter we send, which may include isolation for 3 days prior to date of surgery and a negative Covid-19 test.


People who have travelled from overseas and are not fully vaccinated will need to quarantine at their place of residence for 10 days and undertake a PCR test on or before day 2 and day 8 of this quarantine.

Any patient requiring urgent ophthalmic care during this time should phone the hospital on 020 7566 2345 or log on for a video consultation to be assessed.

Read more on the guidance for overseas patients: Travel to England from another country during coronavirus (Covid-19) - GOV.UK

What happens if I need to attend the accident and emergency department (A&E)?

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: 30th November 2021