Travel updates and guidance

Health and insurance

Guidance on travel and health insurance, and Covid-19 vaccination.

University of Edinburgh travel insurance 

All students who have their travel approved by the Study and Work Away (SWAY) Service will be covered, free of charge, by the University's travel insurance policy. 

All students travelling overseas must be covered by the University insurance policy.  You do not have to apply for this  – once you have received final approval to travel from SWAY, you will be covered by the University travel insurance for the duration of your exchange or placement.

You must be approved to travel by going through the risk assessment process and be given explicit permission to travel by the SWAY Service.  You cannot travel to your destination without approval and without university travel insurance.

All University of Edinburgh students going out on one of our overseas programmes receive the same insurance - this is a blanket coverage and does not change depending on student status e.g. international, RUK, Scottish Home.

What cover is provided?

This provides cover for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation (a more detailed summary is available on the Insurance website). 

Cover will be confirmed upon receipt of a fully completed and authorised SWAY travel risk assessment, which is a mandatory requirement for your placement.  Once your risk assessment has been approved you will be sent a summary of the UoE insurance cover.

If you require official confirmation of insurance cover, either to use in your host institution application or for visa purposes, please email the Insurance Office on with your name, student number and the dates of your exchange. Please allow at least two working days for your request to be processed.

University of Edinburgh travel insurance policy

If you have any questions about the UoE insurance policy or coverage, please contact the Insurance Office:


Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5151  

Additional health insurance requirements

Please note that the University provides travel insurance including medical expenses but this is not the same as a private health or medical insurance policy.  Some host institutions require students to have additional health insurance/medical insurance cover in place.

In some instances the partner university insurance plan will be mandatory and you will be required to take out their policy in addition to the UoE travel insurance.  This may have an additional cost attached. If you want to enquire into whether your host institution allows waivers to their plan then we advise you to contact them directly.

These institutions may accept the medical expenses cover provided by the University travel policy.  The Insurance Office can provide assistance with the comparison as well as confirming the cover you have.

Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)

UK students going to the EU to study or work abroad are advised to obtain a Student Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is a replacement of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).  You can find detailed information about how to apply for a Student GHIC card on the NHS website.

You should refer to the second part of the section "Students studying in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland".  Please note that you should apply for the specific Student GHIC card which is different from the standard one. You will need to download the Erasmus+ status letter from your Mobility Online workflow to accompany your application.

The GHIC gives you the right to access medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the EU at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.  Not all state healthcare is free in the EU and you may have to pay for services that you’d get for free on the NHS. You'll have to pay the same as a patient from that country.

Find out more in the GOV.UK country healthcare guides.

Find out more and apply for a GHIC

Covid-19 vaccine

Current FCDO guidance advises that, wherever possible, British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live.  Many countries require vaccination for visa processing and in order to obtain a student visa. Some countries only accept certain vaccinations. 

The NHS Covid pass is now recognised as equivalent to the EU Digital Covid Certificate, so can be used as proof of vaccination in EU countries.