Health and insurance
Guidance on travel and health insurance, and Covid-19 vaccination.
University 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. You do not have to apply for this – once you have received final approval to travel from SWAY, they will arrange for you to be covered by the University travel insurance from the day of your outbound travel.
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. 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 insurance.
You cannot purchase your own insurance in lieu of University of Edinburgh insurance. As a condition of the travel policy that allows for specific instances of travel during the current Covid pandemic, all students travelling overseas must be covered by the University insurance policy.
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.
If your host institution requires confirmation that you have travel insurance in place in order to enrol, please contact the Insurance Office who will be able to provide this for you.
University travel insurance
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.
These institutions may accept the medical expenses cover provided by the University travel policy. However, if not, you may be required to take out additional health or medical insurance which may have a cost attached. 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 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
Current FCDO guidance advises that, wherever possible, British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. In line with other adults in the UK, students are expected to receive their first dose by the end of July 2021 and their second dose within 12 weeks of their first. Outgoing students are advised to speak to their General Practitioner (GP) for advice about vaccination and the likelihood of being vaccinated before departure.
Unfortunately the University of Edinburgh is not able to arrange a private vaccination programme for our students going abroad. We must follow the NHS Scotland roll out of the vaccine for priority groups. The University is liaising with Public Health and relevant Scottish Government bodies about how this and we will update these pages if guidance changes.
There may be implications for your travel plans if your host country/institution requires that you be fully vaccinated before arrival. National vaccine programmes are at different stages in different countries. It is important to check the entry requirements for the country you are travelling to.
Many countries require vaccination for visa processing and receiving a student visa. Some countries only accept certain vaccinations. Most of the time it will be the case that you will be required to be vaccinated. You can also check this with your host institution once you are accepted. They may offer the option of getting re-vaccinated or second vaccinations upon arrival.