I know that this question has been asked before, but I'd like to explain our situation and get some feedback on this issue.

We are an American family; my husband has dual citizenship (American/Irish) based on ancestry. The rest of us do not have dual citizenship. Our youngest daughter (currently 15 years old) is interested in finishing up her high school years in the UK. We'll be spending a few weeks in the UK this summer, looking at four state sixth-form colleges that offer the IB (International Baccalaureate) program.

I am a civil servant for the state of Oregon. I can take early retirement next year. I would received a pension. As well, we have some retirement savings. Having said that, we would consider relocating to the UK for 1 or more years; but my husband and I would probably need to find some kind of employment to supplement our income. I work in the environmental sector and we've both taught English to non-native speakers, so we might be able to come up with something.

I am aware that my daughter and I would get the EEA Family Permit to get into the UK and for obtaining residency. What I'm unclear about is whether we have to have proof of comprehensive health insurance -- and if so if this is something that would be temporary (a few months) or whether we would have to maintain this throughout our stay. The bottom line question is whether (or not) we would have access to the NHS. I appreciate all responses.

Thank you, Shari

1 Answer 1


Whether you are entitled to NHS services or not doesn't depend on your citizenship (not even if you are British), only on where you are ordinary resident. The rules are simple: if you are an ordinary resident of the UK, then you are entitled for NHS care.

The rules to determine whether you are an ordinary resident are a bit complex for non-EEA citizens, but basically:

  • Your husband is an EEA citizen, so if he intends to stay in the UK, then he is fine, and can get free NHS care. He should register at a GP as soon as possible after entering the country and having a place to live.
  • You and your daughter are considered as direct family members, who are entitled for NHS care in case your husband is exercising his treaty rights. This generally means he is working, studying or is generally self-sufficient (he has enough money to support you and your daughter).

For EEA citizens ordinary residence generally means you need to be registered at a GP (hospitals usually believe you are an ordinary resident if you tell them you have a GP), who will usually ask for proofs that you are indeed living in the UK for long term purposes. Some proof of address is usually enough. As someone recently coming to the UK your NI appointment letter should be the first thing that you can obtain which usually satisfies GPs. Registering at the GP should be done for all of you at the same time.

Note that although once your husband comes to the country with the intent of staying here he should be considered ordinary resident (which would also mean you and your daughter are fine using his status), in the first few days/weeks (until you get yourself registered at the GP) you might encounter issues if you do need care. They might ask you for money upfront in case you need to go to a hospital (unless it's an emergency), which you need to claim back from the NHS, once you have all the proofs that you are ordinary resident.

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