World Map

International Students Healthcare

International students can mostly access the USW Health Service or Other Healthcare Choices in the same way as UK students, but there are some special considerations:

National Health Service Registration

If you have paid the immigration health surcharge for your current period of immigration permission then you will qualify for free NHS hospital treatment on the same basis as anyone who is ordinarily resident in the UK. You must be pursuing a full-time course which is at least six months long to qualify. This is stated on the Welsh Government’s website.

Registering with a local GP surgery will allow you free NHS treatment.

Please register with USW Nurse led Health Service online.

You will also need to complete the NHS registration  for the GP and you can complete this on our register page

To See a Doctor

You will need to register with a local GP surgery as soon as possible after arriving in the UK.  If you  are living in Pontypridd you are able to register with Ashgrove Surgery.

If you are living in Cardiff or Newport please follow the instructions on our registration page for those areas

It is important that you tell us about any illness or investigations you have had in the past. If you are receiving any treatment or are disabled as a result of a medical condition please bring information in English from your doctor at home.

Doctors do not always give prescriptions and may recommend medicine that you can purchase from a pharmacy.

Antibiotics are only prescribed for serious infections and not generally for illnesses such as sore throats and flu like illness.

Doctors in the UK do not routinely do blood tests unless there are symptoms to indicate that they are required.

If you need to be referred to hospital you will have to wait for an appointment to be sent to you in the post. This can take some months or longer in conditions which are not considered urgent.

If you move to a different area, you may need to register with a different doctor.

Important information about Vaccinations

If you are from outside the UK, you will need to be up to date with all Vaccinations as recommended by the UK Government's Department of Health.  

We recommend that you have the following vaccinations before coming to the UK 

Tetanus/ Diptheria/ Polio/ Covid 19  

If under the age of 25  Meningitis ACWY  / MMR  (measles, mumps & rubella ) 


University students are a high-risk group. First years and especially International students and those living in halls of residence are prone to contracting the disease because of their close proximity to each other; particularly in the first few weeks of term.

We advise all First Year students under the age of 25 to contact their GP at home to get the Meningitis ACWY vaccination ideally at least 2 weeks before leaving home to start their first academic year.

International students are strongly advised to have the Meningitis ACWY vaccine ideally BEFORE ARRIVING IN THE UK

Any student who hasn't had their vaccination prior to starting University should contact the USW Health Service as soon as possible.

The Meningitis ACWY Vaccination protects against meningitis and septicaemia caused by four meningococcal strains - Men W, A, C and Y. and is free to all first year students under the age of 25  registered with the NHS including International students  

Check out a full list of signs and symptoms here or download the Meningitis Now app for help and information at your fingertips.

Be aware that meningitis symptoms can be mistaken for “freshers flu” so if in any doubt it is advisable to always seek medical help as soon as possible.