Frequently asked questions:
If you are settling in the UK under the BN(O) visa you will be entitled to access most
NHS services free of charge after you have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge
and your visa has been granted.
People who have paid the surcharge are then entitled to NHS care without paying on
the same basis as a permanent resident in the UK, although you may still be
required to pay for additional services.
You may have to pay for some services such as prescriptions and dental care. You
can access the following services free of charge: General Practitioners (GPs), also
known as family doctors, Hospitals, and Maternity services.
Your health will not affect your immigration status or affect what NHS services are
available to you. None of the people who work for the NHS, including doctors, nurses
and interpreters will pass on any information about your health to any other person
or organisation outside of the NHS without your permission (except in very
exceptional circumstances, such as if the doctor believes you may be of harm to
yourself or others).
If you or a family member has an accident or a sudden serious illness you should go
to your nearest hospital with an Accident and Emergency department which is free
If it is an extreme emergency call 999 and ask for an ambulance to transport you to a
hospital. This service is free of charge and should only be used in an emergency. If
you are able to, you may also make your own way to the Accident and Emergency
Do not use Accident and Emergency for minor medical problems.
Once your medical situation has been stabilised in the Accident and Emergency
department you may need to stay in a specialist department of the hospital until you
have fully recovered and can return home.
If you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation call
A GP is the first doctor you will usually visit when accessing healthcare in the UK.
GPs are highly skilled doctors who are trained in all aspects of general medicine e.g.
child health, adult medicine and mental health. Practice nurses are qualified and
registered nurses who usually run clinics for long-term conditions e.g. diabetes.
Other healthcare professionals also work in GP practice, for example pharmacists
You will need to register at a GP surgery, also called a practice, near where you are
living as soon as possible, even if you are not currently ill.
You can find out how to register with a GP surgery in the UK at:
To register with a GP, you will need to give your name, date of birth, address and
telephone number if you have one. GP surgeries may ask to see proof of identity
with your name and date of birth (such as your passport or recognised identity card)
and proof of address. However, they cannot refuse to register you if these are not
After you have registered with your new GP you might be asked to have a health
check. This will usually be carried out by a nurse. It is important that you go to
this appointment even if you are well. If you move to a different part of the UK, you
will need to register with a new GP. You can only be registered with one GP practice.
Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday
life to serious long-term conditions. Anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and
depression are the most common problems. If you have been feeling depressed for
more than a few weeks or your anxiety is affecting your daily life, make an
appointment to speak to your doctor.
Advice is also available on the NHS website (https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/) to
support you on your way to feeling better. The NHS website also gives details of
support organisations and their helplines that you can contact for help and advice.
Your GP may want you to take medicines and will write you a prescription. Take your
prescription to the pharmacy or chemist.
You can visit NHS Choices to find your local pharmacy: http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceSearch/Pharmacy/LocationSearch/10 or ask for advice at your GP surgery.
The pharmacist can also give free advice on treating minor health problems, such as
colds and coughs. You can buy some medicines from the pharmacy without a
prescription, including some painkillers and cough medicines however you will have
to pay for these medicines. You may be charged for prescription medicines.
The UK is currently experiencing a Coronavirus pandemic. The UK Government’s
COVID-19 advice webpage https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus has information about
how to report symptoms and support if you need to self-isolate at home. It also
outlines the rules in place about what you can do during the Coronavirus pandemic,
for example how many people you can gather with, keeping a safe distance, and the
wearing of face masks in all public places. You can also find information about the ‘roadmap’ out of national restrictions which explains how Coronavirus rules may
change over the coming months.
If you are arriving in the UK from a ‘Red List’ country, you must quarantine in a
Government approved hotel for ten days on arrival.
Booking a coronavirus vaccination
You are eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccination through the NHS. Here are details
of how you can book a coronavirus vaccination if you are registered with a GP;
The vaccine will be offered and made available to everyone living in the UK free of
charge. You do not need to be registered at a GP surgery or have an NHS number
to receive the vaccine. Community Pharmacies, Primary Care Network (PCN)
vaccination hubs, ‘pop-up’ sites and roving models of vaccine delivery will be able to
offer help to those who have not yet registered with a GP.
These Government web pages give advice on the steps to take to register a birth or
death in the family:
All maternity care, including all antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal services
provided to a pregnant person, a person who has recently given birth, or a baby, is
covered by the NHS for an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) payer.
Due to the severe health risks associated with conditions such as eclampsia and
pre-eclampsia, and in order to protect the lives of both mother and unborn baby, all
maternity services will be treated as being immediately necessary. No one must ever
be denied, or have delayed, maternity services due to charging issues.
Maternity services cover care from the beginning of pregnancy through to sign off by
a midwife: this is usually around 10 days after the birth but can be up to 6 weeks
postnatally. Midwives ensure that personalised care is provided throughout
pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. Much of this care will be provided
directly by midwives, who will also coordinate the provision of obstetric or other
medical involvement if necessary.
Anyone settling in the UK under the BN(O) visa should contact a GP or midwife as
soon as you find out you’re pregnant. It’s important to see a midwife or GP as early
as possible to get the pregnancy (antenatal) care and information you need to have
a healthy pregnancy. Information on all you need to know about pregnancy, labour,
birth and NHS maternity services can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/
Please see this link for further information:
If you are settling in the UK under the BN(O) visa you will be entitled to NHS
dentistry, which is a universal service and does not require residency. NHS dentistry
is not free except for patients in an exempt category, so anyone settling in the UK
under the BN(O) visa will have to pay just as a UK resident would.
Free exemptions apply in the following cases:
• the treatment is free (for example to remove stitches, stop bleeding in the
mouth, repair dentures)
• the person is under the age of 18, or under 19 in full-time education
• the person is pregnant or has had a baby in the last 12 months. A MAT B1
certificate or maternity exemption certificate (MatEx) must be shown to the