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Coming to the UK for Medical Treatment

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 12 Feb 2019 | 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 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
I need to medical treatment visa
pappu - 5-Dec-18 @ 8:56 AM
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
Hi i am on Ayslum.My Mum is seriously ill in Pakistan . i can't go there but i want to bring her here for medical treatment.Is there any way for this so I could see her too. Please help.
Tina - 6-Feb-18 @ 11:31 AM
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
@Astra - h pylori can be treated with simple antibiotics, you don't need to come to the UK for treatment. The best thing to do is see a doctor in your own country. Mitch
Mitchell - 20-Jul-17 @ 10:59 AM
From Somalia, I have h pylori for 4 months and i am feeling ilness and nerve of stomach and head is not normal So, i need visa for treatment how much??
Astra - 19-Jul-17 @ 7:54 AM
Respected sir. sir actually i have already treatments fir spine surgery in Doctor Hospital In Lahore Pakistan but im not satisfied for here treatment becuase i have also pain there 'i am in pain before 4month and sir i have too much waste money in this hospital . and this hospital is the best hospitalin Pakistan . so sir what i can do i am not good yet and sir my age only 30years not old and im married and im stuck off for works and business. if you want my treatment ducoments MRI and Exray ' medical reports everything i have..
sajid - 16-Apr-17 @ 2:26 PM
One of my nephews, a British citizen, his mother and father are separated. The mother is a citizen of Bangladesh. He has arrived in the UK for treatment for blood cancer. Is there a way for her to come to this country to see her son? Can she come to the UK without a passport or visa?
Sara - 17-Feb-17 @ 11:05 PM
Hey I am 21 weeks pregnant and i am on Clexane injections due a thrombosis condition i had in 2014. I am in Kenya and the injections are too costly here.I have a relative in the UK who can host me as i go through the medication period.Is this possible and what are the requirements?
Rubz - 5-Jan-17 @ 10:32 AM
A.A sir i am arslan from pakistan i need my special treetment in your contry plz sir, i cant aford the visa fee,my parents are very poor ,sir i am very worrid about our health
st - 18-Dec-16 @ 6:39 AM
hi i a, wahib ali from pakistan /my age is 22 i am facing crohn's disease more then15 years .this is like a cancer .pakistan dr says we can not handel this disease more in pakistan.crohn's disease is very rare in pakistan or asia .crohn's disease only white people have more. crohn's disease effectly badly on my health .this is giving me diffrent type ofdisease more like t.b like neuropathy this time is very painfull for me .if you say i can send you my docoments .i belong to a average family. they invest everything on my disease.now they have also nothing itsvery embarcing for me . he;p me .trust me
wahib - 25-Oct-16 @ 9:11 PM
hi..my husband has an ILR..uk residancy can you please advice me how easy or hard to get a visa so i can have birth in uk. many thanks
randa - 23-Sep-16 @ 7:53 PM
My name is Lal Muhammad s/o Ashraf khan I am from loger Afghanistan Living in Pakistan I am one of the victims of war in Afghanistan between Taliban and USA forces my story is about in 2006 Taliban forces arrested me by the name that you are working and spying for USA forces I told them a lot that I have no relationship with them but they didn't believe me than my father and family told them but didn't work than they finished me a lot still my both feet broken but my family didn't want to hit me more and more My family gave them money and told them please leave our son then thanks to god they left me but I was in much trouble my right foot were broken under my knee and my left foot were damaged above the knee I went to Peshawar Pakistan for treatment because there were no facilities so I registered there with much more doctors the main problem in my left leg is some water coming from my Famous bone and in till the going of that water there is no chance of recovery of my leg So please help me and invite me to attach me with your specialist doctors and machines to feel myself healthy. I have done 14 operations of my left leg above knee during these 10 years but didn't result well have checked a lot of web sites and finally I have find your website So I am sure you people will help me.
Khan - 27-Jul-16 @ 6:29 AM
My one eye has worsened , If I may take a visa for the UK Medical
Kashi - 22-Jul-16 @ 11:33 AM
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