Comprehensive sickness insurance

Guidance and advice on comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI) for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.

A media article in March suggested the Home Office had introduced new powers to deport EU citizens who do not have comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI). The Home Office have issued a statement on their blog saying this is not correct and that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK will not be removed from the UK or refused entry simply because they do not have CSI.  However having CSI is needed for you to have the right to stay in the UK. If you're not sure whether you have CSI then please read the information below. If you want to get legal advice about your status in the UK, please find a qualified immigration solicitors or immigration adviser.

Making sure you have valid CSI is the best thing you can do to protect your position.

Staying in the UK as a student

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens have an initial, unrestricted right to reside in the UK for up to three months. After that, they must be here as a student, an employed person (or someone who has retained 'worker status'), a self-employed person, a self-sufficient person or the relevant family member of one of these. This is known as being a ‘qualified person’. The UKCISA website has more information on the requirements to reside as a qualified person in the UK. 

Checking that you have comprehensive sickness insurance

You will need to have CSI in one of the following forms:

1. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) 

If you don’t already have a valid EHIC card issued by your home country, you are advised to get one, if you can, as soon as possible. Find information about how to get a EHIC card.

2. Cover under a reciprocal health agreement

If you are not entitled to an EHIC card or you can't renew it to cover the rest of your time studying in the UK, you should check if you are covered by a reciprocal agreement - you will need the documentation to prove it. 

3. Comprehensive private health insurance

If you are not covered by either an EHIC card or a reciprocal agreement, you are advised to buy comprehensive private health insurance cover. The University is unable to recommend any particular policies, but the Home Office guidance states that the policy must cover you (and your family members in the UK, if applicable) for the majority of risks while you’re in the UK. 

Note: the definition of comprehensive sickness insurance does not include cash-back health schemes, travel insurance policies, or access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

What to do if you are employed in the UK and studying

You are not required to have CSI if you're working in the UK as well as studying. However, work you’re doing must be considered to be ‘genuine and effective’ and not ‘marginal’ or supplementary’. Find out about more from

Do you need to prove your right to stay in the UK?

You do not have to register or apply for any particular documents in order to stay in the UK. However, you can choose to apply for a registration certificate which confirms that you have a right of residence as a student. You might want to apply for a registration certificate if you have family members who are not themselves EEA or Swiss nationals, as this can make it easier for your family to apply for an EEA family permit or residence card. Also, it may help in making an application for the right of permanent residence. You’ll need to show that you are a student with CSI to get a registration certificate.

How do you apply for permanent residence?

Once you have been in the UK as a qualified person for 5 years, you can, if you wish, apply to the Home Office for permanent residence in the UK. You are strongly advised to seek legal advice about your situation before doing so. You will need to show that you have been a ‘qualified person’ throughout the 5 year period in the UK.

What if I have family members in the UK who are not EEA/Swiss Nationals?

They also need to have comprehensive sickness insurance

What will my status be after the UK leaves the EU in 2019?

You can find further updates from UKCISA about the position of EEA students as the UK moves closer to leaving the EU.

Further support and advice

We would like to reassure and remind you that support is available; the International Student Office on Level 11, Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building holds drop-in sessions every weekday morning from 1030 – 1200, offering advice on a wide range of issues. If needed, they can help make clear the requirements for CSI and direct you to specialist support. They can also be emailed at

Published: Tuesday 14th March 2017