NHS does not Qualify as Comprehensive Sickness Insurance for EEA Nationals

Following on from our recent report on the impact of Brexit on EU nationals currently residing and working in the UK and many EU nationals rushing to obtain documents which confirm their right to reside and work in the UK, one key issue that has arisen is the importance of having Comprehensive Sickness Insurance Cover (CSIC).  This is an insurance policy for EEA nationals, that will cover the costs of most of the medical treatment they may require whilst in the UK. Many EU nationals do not realise that they need to have this cover in the first place, we briefly outline below who needs comprehensive sickness insurance and the importance of having it. 

When does an EEA national need Comprehensive Sickness Insurance

EU law gives a right of entry to the UK to any EEA citizen. However, only certain EEA citizens qualify for a right of residence, which brings with it the right to be accompanied by family members, the right to claim certain benefits, protection from removal from the UK and the right to acquire permanent residence after five years of a qualifying activity.

The main categories of EEA citizen who qualify for a right of residence are:

  • Workers
  • Self employed persons
  • Self sufficient persons with comprehensive sickness insurance
  • Students with comprehensive sickness insurance

As you can see, from above the Regulations require ‘self-sufficient’ EEA members and ‘student’ EEA members to have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance. The Regulations also require the family members of self-sufficient individuals and EEA students to have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.

 The UK’s implementation of EU law has always required the family members of self sufficient EEA citizens to possess comprehensive sickness insurance as well as the EEA citizen in order for them to have a right of residence. From 6 April 2015 the same rule has also been applied to the family members of EEA students. The Home Office published its guidance last year on CSIC for family members of EEA students.

How can EEA Nationals evidence Comprehensive Sickness Insurance Cover

We previously reported here on a case decided in the Upper Tribunal (UT) which highlights the importance of having CSIC. The Judge at the UT dismissed the Appellant’s claim that because her EEA national partner paid money into NHS therefore that should have been sufficient to show CSIC.

The case begs the question as to what counts as CSIC. An EEA national living in the UK is allowed to use the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The Home Office has long argued that this does not count for the purposes of EU law as having comprehensive sickness insurance.

So, we know from the Ahmad  case above that access to the NHS does not count as CSIC. We have highlighted below two ways a self sufficient or EEA national student and their family members may be able to satisfy this requirement;

  1. Buying comprehensive private health insurance, which covers the EEA national and their family members. The Home Office guidance states that it must be “full health insurance” cover.
  2. An EEA national may also wish to rely on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as evidence of comprehensive sickness insurance, however the guidance makes it clear that this is only if you make a declaration that you do not intend to stay in the UK permanently.

EEA/EU nationals should seek professional advice if uncertain about whether they require  CSIC, to avoid the shock refusal of an application for permanent residence due to inadequate comprehensive sickness insurance.

Contact us for Advice on your EEA/EU immigration matter

Choosing the right law firm from the beginning can ensure the correct applications are made from the outset this will not only allow for an easy mind in preparing for an application, but will also mean that in the long run applicants will save time and money with a specialist law firm who follow the strict letter of the law and the Solicitors Regulations Guidelines. Many Applicants make the mistake of providing insufficient documentation and thus fail to evidence their recognised entitlement to apply for permanent residence or British Citizenship.

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers bear in mind the paramount duty of all legal representatives to act in your best interest whilst complying with the strict letter of the law. Our team of specialists can be distinguished from other law firms with our client tailored approach and scrutiny of options available to you from the outset. We will be able to advise you in respect of the merits of your application by providing you with advice from our leading team of barristers before your matter even reaches the Home Office.

If you require assistance with an application for an EEA residence card, permanent residence or British Citizenship you can contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us now on 02071830570 for a telephone assessment.

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