Access to health care
As an EU national, if you are suddenly taken ill or have an
accident during a temporary visit to any EU country, Iceland,
Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you are entitled to use the
public health care services on the same terms and at the same
cost as the people insured in the country you are visiting. Each
country has its own rules for public medical provision. In some,
treatment is free, in some you pay part of the cost, in others you
have to pay the full cost and then claim a refund. So keep all
your bills, prescriptions and receipts. Apply for reimbursement
in the country you are visiting or, failing that, when you get
The European Health Insurance Card proves that you are
insured in an EU country; it simplifies the procedures and helps
to speed up the reimbursement of costs. It is available for free
from your national health insurer. Some countries incorporate
the European Health Insurance Card on the reverse side of a
national card while others issue separate cards.
The European Health Insurance Card is not a substitute for
travel insurance as it may not cover all health costs and it never
covers repatriation costs. So you may want to take out separate
travel insurance to cover those risks.
Take your prescription with you if you are carrying prescribed
medicines. Do not exceed the quantities needed for your
personal use during your trip, as large quantities of drugs
can create suspicion. New pan-EU rules on cross-border
prescriptions will make it easier to get your prescribed
medicines when abroad.
There are, in general, no immunisation requirements when
travelling in the EU. However, there are requirements or
recommendations for certain of the EU’s overseas territories.
Check with your doctor before you go.
Strict standards are set for bathing water throughout the EU and
the overall water quality remains high. More than 94 % of the
22 000 bathing sites at beaches, rivers and lakes in the EU now
meet the minimum water quality standards set. Official symbols
give information on the quality of water at these bathing sites.
In addition, voluntary schemes such as the Blue Flag let you
know that a beach or a marina has met specific standards on
water quality, safety, services, environmental management and
© European Union
Travelling in Europe 2014-2015