What is the process involved in renewing an EHIC?

EHIC renewal is really simple when you do it online. EHIC cards only remain valid for five years, so you need to complete a European Health Insurance Card renewal every five years to make sure you have coverage if you’re travelling to Europe.

You can renew your EHIC card up to six months before it expires. It’s fine to renew an EHIC card that has already passed its expiry date. However, if the EHIC card expired more than two years ago then the details of your expired card will no longer be retained in the system. You’ll need to fill out a few more details if this is the case, as your your EHIC PIN will no longer be recognised.

The EHIC renewal process

To complete the renewal process you just need to provide your full name, UK address, date of birth, and ideally also your personal identification number (PIN), which will be on your old EHIC card. The PIN begins with the letters “UK” and is printed next to your birth date on the card. You can also apply using your National Insurance or NHS number (if you’re in England and Wales), or your CHI number (if you’re in Scotland), or your Health and Care number (if you’re in Northern Ireland).

After you apply online it will take up to 10 working days for your renewed card to be delivered to you. Make sure that you apply in plenty of time before your trip overseas.

EHIC card renewal for children

Every person who is travelling requires their own European Medical Card, including all babies and children under 16. Under 16 year olds can’t complete a separate application form or apply on their own. Instead they need to be listed as dependants on an adult EHIC application. You’ll need to provide the same information for them as for an adult, such as their PIN number and date of birth.

If you need to renew the EHIC card of some (but not all) members of the family that are listed on the same application, you need to enter everyone’s details – even those who don’t need renewal at that time. Only the family members who need their details updated will have their details changed, but you need to enter every person’s details anyway.

Renewing an EHIC from abroad

Should you be applying to renew your EHIC from overseas, such as during an armed services posting, you can still apply in the same way. Remember that it may take slightly longer for your updated EHIC card to be delivered to you via the postal service.

It’s a very simple process to complete an EHIC card renewal and it’s advisable to keep your EHIC valid at all times. An EHIC card helps you obtain certain kinds of medical care when travelling in Europe, and some travel insurers will insist that yours is valid in order to get cover from them. Remember, having an EHIC isn’t a substitute for travel insurance. It’s also important to keep your EHIC card with you at all times when in Europe as you’ll be required to present it in the event of needing medical care.

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