In an ideal world we’d all be super-organised and never leave anything to the last minute. However real life is often not as straightforward and we’ve all been in the position of checking in online to find that our passport has expired or travel insurance has run out. If you’ve left it to the last minute to organise your EHIC cover then don’t despair, there are ways to speed up the process and manage a claim if your documents haven’t arrived before you travel.
If you need to apply for an EHIC in a hurry, online is by far the quickest method. Log in as soon as you realise you’re without cover and fill in all of the details to apply for EHIC for all members of your family. Check the details carefully as cards will be issued within five days but if you’ve made a spelling mistake or given an incorrect date of birth, this could result in problems claiming on EHIC at a later date. Third party websites which offer an additional “check and send” service can offer additional peace of mind as they will carefully check your application information before submitting it.
If you’ve just left it too late and your EHICs have not arrived before you leave for the airport, all is not lost. If you need to access state healthcare while you’re overseas, call the NHS overseas healthcare team and give them your application details. They will then confirm that you are eligible for EHIC cover and will send a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) to the hospital or doctor who is treating you. The PRC authorises the foreign healthcare system to treat you under EHIC rules and keeps your expenditure to a minimum. By the time you’ve returned home, your permanent EHIC cards should be waiting for you.