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Coming to the UK for Medical Treatment

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 3 Mar 2020 | comments*Discuss
Uk Medical Treatment Health Abroad

Foreign citizens who wish to travel to the UK to have medical treatment may be able to do so under a visitor’s visa. The entry rules which apply to citizens of non-European Union countries who wish to travel to the UK to have privately-paid medical treatment are set out below.

Travelling to the UK as a Visitor

In order to come to the UK to have medical treatment a foreign citizen will first have to be eligible to enter the UK as a visitor. Visitor’s visas can only be used by people who intend to stay in the UK for less than six months. Applicants for a visitor’s visa have to be able to prove that:
  • They can afford to support themselves financially whilst they are in the UK;
  • They do not intend to work or study whilst they are in the UK;
  • That they intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit.

Travelling to the UK for Medical Treatment

In addition to the general conditions for visitors to the UK, people who wish to come to the UK to have medical treatment will also have to prove that they have arranged specific medical treatment, which will last less than six months, and that they can afford to pay for it. Some applicants could be asked to formally declare that they will pay for the medical treatment.

If an applicant has a contagious disease they may be asked to prove that it does not present a threat to public health in the UK.

Applying for a Visa to the UK

Applications for visas to come from abroad to the UK for medical treatment are made on the standard visitor visa form VAF1. If applicants have family members in the UK this will have to be declared on the form and full details of the family members’ personal information will have to be provided.

Applicants will have to supply documents to support the information they give in the form. Examples of the types of documents that will, or may be, required include:

  • Letters or other documents from a registered UK medical practitioner proving that genuine medical treatment has been arranged and stating how long it will take;
  • Documents, such as bank statements, which prove that the applicant can afford to pay for the medical treatment;
  • Documentation confirming the applicant’s intention to return to their own country at the end of the treatment. This could include letters from employers confirming that the applicant is expected to return to work after the treatment and documents proving that the applicant owns property or has family ties abroad.
As at July 2008 the fee for a visa to come to the UK for medical treatment was £65.

Applying to Extend the Stay

If it becomes apparent, once the foreign national is in the UK, that the scheduled medical treatment will take longer than six months, an application can be made to extend their stay. Any such application must be made before the visitor’s visa expires.

Applications may be made by post or in person at a Public Enquiry Office. The application is made using form FLR(O) – the form can be downloaded from the UK Border Agency website. The guidance notes to the form contain the addresses of Public Enquiry Offices throughout the UK.

Applications made by post could take from four to fourteen weeks to be concluded – the fee for this service is £395. A premium rate service is available for people who make an appointment to attend in person at a Public Enquiry Office. It is anticipated that a decision will be made within 24 hours on 90% of premium rate applications. The fee for the premium service is £595. The premium service may be unsuitable for applications which are not straightforward.

Applicants will have to prove that ongoing treatment is required, that they have paid for the treatment which they have already received and that they can pay for future treatment.

Visitors to the UK and NHS Treatment

Foreign nationals who enter the UK under a visitor’s visa in order to undergo private medical treatment are not eligible for free medical treatment under the National Health Service regardless of how long they are permitted to remain in the UK as a visitor.

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Hi it's about my sister private medical treatment in uk I want to bring her to uk to have treatment please
Wajiah - 3-Mar-20 @ 10:28 AM
I live in uk and got indefinite leave to remain but my dad is very ill I want to bring him here for treatment so pls I need help what options i got to bring my dad here
Mali - 10-Feb-20 @ 9:02 AM
I'm wondering if private pregnancy/childbirth services falls under medical treatment? thank you.
Jonlam1234 - 9-Jan-20 @ 9:37 AM
Hello I need to go in UK to have a test for a surgery. I have seen that the medical visa is replaced with the standard visa. I have seen that the earliest period I can apply and get my visa for visiting the UK is 3 months. For example if I send aplication now. the earlist period I can visit the UK is in 15 March?Is it possible that I can get it earlier then 3 months ?
MARKO1990 - 15-Dec-19 @ 1:19 AM
hey i am 24 year old and i am suffer from cataract with my eyes and one of my eye is very dark lack of vision and in my country we don't have specific doctor for eye care because one of the doctor told that we can not cure traumatic cataract and i am in the state of difficult . is me momodou jang camara
jang archimedes cam - 8-Dec-19 @ 5:38 PM
Jele - 4-Dec-19 @ 6:09 PM
My aunty British lived in Jamaica for twenty years, now have kidney problems can she have her treatment in London
Lovie - 11-Oct-19 @ 6:38 PM
Hi my aunt who lives in Bangladesh has high diabetes and she faint every month for No reason she has 4 kids 2 girls and 2 boy. My Aunt is a single mother she is struggling with money and food plus cloths, I would like to bring my Aunt to UK for a medical treatment for her fainting and give her kids a better place to live I hope you can understand her problem and the pain she is going through PLEASE HELP HER AND HER KIDS!!
Rose - 28-Aug-19 @ 7:58 PM
I am very concerned about a friend that lives in BosniaHerzegovina and he urgently needs operations for 3 hernias. He can't work as he looks after his elderly mother. They both have to live of her pension. He gets no benefits as he can't sign on. He can't afford to pay for the operations on his mother's pension. Is he able to come here for the surgery?
Gray - 18-Jul-19 @ 7:57 PM
I am a student studying in the UK and holding a Tier 4 Visa. Earlier this year, I was assaulted by a group of racist and the case was reported to the Police. My face was severely injured and I was stitched by the plastic surgeon. I went to the ENT to check my nose because of the blockage of nose post-incident. With an MRI scan, they found that my nasal septum deviates and need surgery to fix it. The surgeon is not sure if it is caused by the assault. They have put me on a waiting list for a septorhinoplasty and it is likely to be September. My concern is I have completed my study and my student visa will expire in late July. Are they going to charge me if I come back for treatment as a visitor?
Terry - 16-May-19 @ 6:11 PM
My niece has down syndrome she live in Eritrea (east Africa) where there is no treatment for that and I live in the UK I want her to come here and get the right treatment. HOW CAN I DO THAT? THANKS
Yoni - 31-Mar-19 @ 11:28 AM
I have a friend who will undergo surgery there in UK. I need to be there as he has no family.How so on and how can I get a visa in urgent basis
Tapasya - 7-Mar-19 @ 1:13 AM
Hi Louise, Is it possible to give me a quick call on 07592 775 036? Kind regards Duncan Claxon
DC - 12-Feb-19 @ 2:06 PM
Hi, I’m a student pilot and I’ve been dismissed from my academy because I couldn’t get medical first class certificate because of medical condition in my eye. I’m not working nor studying. I’m seeking medical treatment in the UK, how could I get the visa knowing that I can prove that I’m eligible to cover the surgery fees and to show the medical report from my doctor in the UK. PLEASE HELP!
Yazannaser - 6-Feb-19 @ 10:22 PM
@Ciji Your mother can apply for a visitor visa to come to the U.K for medical treatment. The cost of the treatment would not be free on the NHS though so your mum would need to ensure she has the funds to pay for the treatment in the first instance.
Nic - 24-Jan-19 @ 11:55 AM
Hi, My mom is diagnosed with lyomiosarcoma early stage and started with radiotherapy 7 sessions and 1 session of chemo, her condition looks bit confusing as the treatment looks not responding. Can I bring my mom here for treatment as my dad is aged and no one to take care of her? Can someone pls suggest?? Thank you Ciji
Ciji - 24-Jan-19 @ 9:14 AM
I have been having a severe chest pain for more than 14 years but has never been diagnosed with any problems but the pain is progressing and all sort of test has not revealed anything except an echo test that showed a leaking valve . I want to seek for medical treatment in UK and I don't know how to go about this . I have all my medica history and document. Need a help ASAP please. I am a basketball. I am losing out managing this pain without any medical help
Bright - 25-Dec-18 @ 1:59 PM
HI,my brother is diagnosed whit kidney cancer please help me how he can come to UKfor medical treatment soon.. please Could someone help out. thank you
ali - 18-Oct-18 @ 4:02 PM
Hi there, Im looking into going to Uk for treatment for a rare condition they dont treat in Norway.. As I have understood so far I can come and seek medical help as I wish. But my question is do I need any form for insurance. Or is it sufficient with the european health card?
nht - 25-Sep-18 @ 8:03 PM
Hi, I intend to bring my mum to the UK for medical treatment. May I know the requirements and necessary documents required.Many thanks.
Chan Gul - 21-Jul-18 @ 2:54 AM
@shafici Do you currently reside in the U.K.?
Nic - 17-Jul-18 @ 10:35 PM
Hi my name is mohamed iam british citizen i have 2 boys in Ethiopia one of them needs medical treatment in Uk i know my kids have the right to come to uk if one of there parents is british citizen but i need one of them to bring urgently to uk for medical treatment any advices thanks
Shafici - 17-Jul-18 @ 9:27 PM
@Naz Is your cousin currently receiving treatment where she is and has it been recommended by her doctors that she needs medical treatment elsewhere? Treatment in the U.K. is expensive and is something that would need to be paid for as your cousin is not a resident here.
Nic - 10-Jul-18 @ 9:42 AM
Hi My cousin suffers from severe epilepsy. She lives in Bangladesh and is 16 years old. When she was 7 she came to the UK with her mother to care for her sister in law during her pregnancy as she was unable to take care of her remaining children. Both mum and daughter left as planned of their visa expiration and followed all rules and regulations as visitors. Will my cousin be allowed to the UK for medical treatment for her epilepsy with her mother as guardian if in any way whatsoever. Or maybe if my father or I can sponsor them. I’m a full time university student and my father doesn’t work due to heart problems.
Naz - 10-Jul-18 @ 4:04 AM
Hi,, My cousin intends to visit uk for medical purpose and he got an official invitation letter from the treatment centre, and he will need some one to be co-patient. My question: should both of patient and co-patient apply for standard visa or separate type of visa (standard and visit). Thanks
Hiba - 12-Jun-18 @ 12:45 PM
I am 34 years old and I have to replace my Bi-Cuspid Aortic valve in an open heart surgery. Is the private medical sector in UK as strong as the government? any recommendations for big medical hospitals?
JA - 14-May-18 @ 9:58 PM
@Tina - You would not be able to apply to bring your mother to the UK for medical treatment...even if you had legal status you still wouldn't be able to do this.
TaoB - 9-Feb-18 @ 2:16 PM
Hello. My UK visit visa says it is "C-Visit" and was granted in 2014 for 10 years. I have used this many times to travel to the UK for holidays. I am now seriously unwell and have an appointment with a doctor for medical treatment next week which will be fully paid for by me. My question is, can I travel to the UK with my current visit visa if I intend to receive medical treatment or do I have to apply for a fresh visa (for which there is no time)?
Kashif - 26-Aug-17 @ 7:45 AM
PAKO - Your Question:
Hi, I intend to bring my mum to the UK for medical treatment. May I know the requirements and necessary documents required.Many thanks.

Our Response:
You can apply for a standard visitor visa via the gov.uk link here .
AboutImmigration - 31-Jul-17 @ 2:49 PM
Hi, I intend to bring my mum to the UK for medical treatment. May I know the requirements and necessary documents required. Many thanks.
PAKO - 29-Jul-17 @ 11:54 AM
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