Health insurance for British students abroad

Healthcare Insurance Requirements

British students need to ensure they have health insurance cover whilst studying in The Netherlands. We are not able to offer advice on specific products and their suitability for your requirements so the information provided below should be treated as of general relevance only.

The EHIC/GHIC Card for UK Nationals

British nationals ordinarily resident in the Netherlands before 31st December 2020 can still apply for an EHIC card. All others must apply for the new GHIC card which should have similar functionality.

The terms and conditions governing GHIC cover varies from country to country so much of the information provided by the Dutch governments and universities might not be correct for UK students. According to the NHS, you are entitled to a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for the duration of your course, as long as you intend to return to the UK at the end of your course and you are not working part-time or undertaking a paid internship simultaneously with your studies. Ordinarily the GHIC has a validity of 12 months for temporary residence abroad but there is a clear exception made for students on non-UK university degrees on the NHS’s website.

If you are working part-time or undertaking paid work experience, you will need to have Dutch public health insurance and the GHIC alone will not be sufficient for you. It is possible that you will be fined if you do not have this in place (see below for further details).

The GHIC will cover your treatment until you return to the UK. It also covers treatment of pre-existing medical conditions. The cover you receive will be based on the national standard healthcare system and will not be based on NHS terms and conditions. As a result you might find yourself having to pay for treatments that would ordinarily be provided for free in the UK. Here the information provided by the Dutch government will be of more use to you than anything you can find in the UK.

Make sure you always carry your GHIC card because you will need to show it if you use any of the health services in the Netherlands.


Applying for an GHIC

When you apply for GHIC you will need to include the address of where you will be studying, the period of study and details of the qualification you’re studying for. You will need the input of your university to do this.

Apply for an GHIC card

Health Insurance over and above the GHIC

As part of the student visa regulations for non-EU nationals, British students are obliged to have full Dutch health insurance. There are plenty of options available and one of the best comparison sites is, according to students. The site is in Dutch only. We have found another option that provides information in English but we cannot vouch for its reputation.

If you are an EU national you do not need to have this insurance unless you have a part-time job or paid internship. Then you are required to have Dutch public health insurance (zorgverzekering). Ask your university or employer if they can recommend an insurance company that will give you a discount. Dutch public health insurance only covers your medical expenses. You will need to take out a separate insurance to cover accidents, liability and repatriation etc.

If you are found not to have this public health insurance and you are employed then you could be fined. You could also be in breach of the terms and conditions of your student visa.

The GHIC and Dutch health insurance are clearly not going to be sufficient for all of your insurance needs. It might be a good idea to consider a specialist long-term travel insurance policy that would cover all of your healthcare requirements, include repatriation costs and also offer you contents insurance for your possessions while you are in the Netherlands. This is travel insurance rather than health insurance and it should cover any other insurance needs that you will have.


Dutch Healthcare Allowance for Working Students with EU Nationality

For EU nationals, if you take out Dutch public health insurance (because you are employed or doing a paid internship), then you may be eligible for compensation for your insurance costs. This compensation is called healthcare benefit or healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag). This means that you may be able to claim back much of the cost of your health insurance.


About Study In Holland is an information service designed to assist British and Irish students in pursuing their university education in the Netherlands.

We have extensive knowledge of English-taught degrees in Holland and we also work with careers advisory services. is owned by A Star Future Ltd and is not affiliated with the Dutch government.