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First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

Old May 6th 2019, 3:55 pm
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Default First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

I emigrated in June 2016 and for the first time since doing so, I am headed back to the UK later this month to visit family. It's going to be interesting seeing the place after 3 years! I had a few questions regarding travel that I know people here can help with.

Firstly, I understand I should take my green card with me when traveling back to the US. When I arrive back do I wait in the long 'visitor' line at the airport or can I go through the 'Citizen/Legal resident' line?

Do I need any form of 'travel insurance' with regards to healthcare? When just a tourist I used to get a comprehensive travel insurance that also covered medical issues here and now I'm not a resident in the UK and should pay for any treatment I needed (hopefully not) I assume it's best to take out some form of insurance? if so, can anyone offer any recommendations or can my healthcare plan provide that insurance?

If you have any other tips feel free to share, thanks.
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Old May 6th 2019, 4:02 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

The latter line. Whilst you are covered by the NHS for emergencies as a visitor you should also take out comprehensive travel insurance as you would do for any other foreign destination.
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Old May 6th 2019, 4:05 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

Check what overseas coverage is available on your US health insurance.
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Old May 6th 2019, 4:20 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

My health insurance covers me overseas too, as out of network. When I go over alone I tend to skip extra insurance, the next time I head over I am plan on the whole family going so I did buy insurance more for trip cancellation and medical evacuation just Incase.
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Old May 6th 2019, 4:23 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

Originally Posted by Harveyspecter View Post
I emigrated in June 2016 and for the first time since doing so, I am headed back to the UK later this month to visit family. It's going to be interesting seeing the place after 3 years! I had a few questions regarding travel that I know people here can help with.

Firstly, I understand I should take my green card with me when traveling back to the US. When I arrive back do I wait in the long 'visitor' line at the airport or can I go through the 'Citizen/Legal resident' line?
Your green card mans you are a legal resident so that is the line you use.

Do I need any form of 'travel insurance' with regards to healthcare? When just a tourist I used to get a comprehensive travel insurance that also covered medical issues here and now I'm not a resident in the UK and should pay for any treatment I needed (hopefully not) I assume it's best to take out some form of insurance? if so, can anyone offer any recommendations or can my healthcare plan provide that insurance?

If you have any other tips feel free to share, thanks.
Yes, you need travel insurance that includes healthcare/medical insurance. As you noted, you are no longer a British resident and are not covered under the NHS. With the exception of emergencies. Medicare and my private supplemental healthcare does not cover me overseas.
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Old May 6th 2019, 5:51 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

My Insurance provide Emergency and Urgent Care outside of the USA - usually by way of paying the local provider and then submitting a claim. They do still recommend taking supplementary travel insurance though.
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Old May 6th 2019, 5:53 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

Check with card providers like American Express as well - sometimes trips purchased through the card get some sort of coverage (car insurance for example when renting a car).
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Old May 6th 2019, 6:01 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

https://improvement.nhs.uk/resources...pfront-tariff/

Interesting, the CAB suggest that Doctors (GP) and Dentists can decide whether or not to treat you without payment by registering - if you've maintained contact with someone local (the family you are visiting), they may accept you as a patient still should you need non urgent attention I guess, or fancy having a filling done.

Those prices seem pretty low having used the services over here last year.

Also, example of cards providing some cover as well:

https://www.americanexpress.com/za/n...insurance.html

Last edited by robtuck; May 6th 2019 at 6:14 pm. Reason: Added Amex link
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Old May 6th 2019, 6:07 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

Originally Posted by robtuck View Post
https://improvement.nhs.uk/resources...pfront-tariff/

Interesting, the CAB suggest that Doctors (GP) and Dentists can decide whether or not to treat you without payment by registering - if you've maintained contact with someone local (the family you are visiting), they may accept you as a patient still should you need non urgent attention I guess, ro fancy having a filling done.

Those prices seem pretty low having used the services over here last year.
Interesting link, thanks robtuck

I wouldn't like to have to pay for Intensive Care, even at the bargain package price of £150,000!
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Old May 6th 2019, 6:09 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

Given Emergency treatment is free, I'm not entirely sure how you'd end-up in a situation where you'd use some of the services and have to pay! Although that is for the package, so maybe you get all inclusive or something?

Last edited by robtuck; May 6th 2019 at 6:11 pm.
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Old May 6th 2019, 8:27 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

Originally Posted by robtuck View Post
Given Emergency treatment is free, I'm not entirely sure how you'd end-up in a situation where you'd use some of the services and have to pay! Although that is for the package, so maybe you get all inclusive or something?
Very easily if you were in an accident or had a medical problem which required hospitalisation, surgery and/or repatriation.
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Old May 7th 2019, 12:54 am
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

Depending on the airport you may be grouped with citizens, or not. Just go to the line for permanent residents. Having been through many airports I would say both that it is random, and also that it changes quite frequently.

On my way back from Spring Break I had to choose the non-citizen line. Ironically it was actually quicker than the citizen line.
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Old May 8th 2019, 3:14 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
As you noted, you are no longer a British resident and are not covered under the NHS.
It's actually not quite so cut and dry - I'm no longer a British resident and I'm absolutely still covered by the NHS.

There's a complex formula that essentially comes down to whereabouts in the UK you were last resident, why you left the UK and how long ago it was.

Certainly in Scotland, the relevant legislation is laid out in Subsection K here:

The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Scotland) Regulations 1989


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Old May 8th 2019, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

Originally Posted by TexanScot View Post
It's actually not quite so cut and dry - I'm no longer a British resident and I'm absolutely still covered by the NHS.

There's a complex formula that essentially comes down to whereabouts in the UK you were last resident, why you left the UK and how long ago it was.

Certainly in Scotland, the relevant legislation is laid out in Subsection K here:

The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Scotland) Regulations 1989
Although the NHS Scotland guidance on charges to overseas visitors has been updated, you may still be ok if you meet the following criteria:

Former UK Residents Working Overseas 24. Certain persons who have previously lived in the UK but have now moved overseas for work purposes are “exempt from NHS charges” if they meet the following criteria:
• They have previously been lawfully resident in the UK for 10 continuous years; and
• Have worked abroad for less than 5 years; or
• Have worked abroad for more than 5 years but have taken home leave at least every 2 years, or have a contractual right to do so; or
• Have a contractual right to passage home at the end of their employment.

https://www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/mels/CEL2010_09.pdf

I suspect meeting this criteria rests on whether it's accepted that you moved overseas for 'work purposes'

Just for the information of others reading this thread, NHS England has very different criteria and charges will certainly be levied for most services for UK citizens who are not 'ordinarily resident'.

Last edited by spouse of scouse; May 8th 2019 at 3:43 pm.
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Old May 8th 2019, 3:35 pm
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Default Re: First time travelling back to the UK as an expat - Checklist

Originally Posted by TexanScot View Post
It's actually not quite so cut and dry - I'm no longer a British resident and I'm absolutely still covered by the NHS.

There's a complex formula that essentially comes down to whereabouts in the UK you were last resident, why you left the UK and how long ago it was.

Certainly in Scotland, the relevant legislation is laid out in Subsection K here:

The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Scotland) Regulations 1989
You moved to the US a couple of years ago, so under which of the categories in the link you provided are you still eligible for the NHS.?
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