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International Students Healthcare

International students can mostly access USW Health Service and other healthcare options in the same way as UK students, but there are some special considerations.

If you have paid the immigration health surcharge for your current period of immigration permission, then you will qualify for free National Health Service (NHS) 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 web page has some more details: A guide to the NHS for international students in the UK

You register with the NHS by registering with a doctor (see below).

You should register with a local GP surgery (doctors) as soon as possible after arriving in the UK.

Our Register page will help you register with a local GP and with the USW Health Service.

Here are some things you should know about doctors in the UK:

  • 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 without a prescription.
  • 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 a hospital appointment date 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.

Register with the USW Health Service as soon as you arrive at Uni.

We can see anyone regardless of NHS registration or not.

Our Vaccinations page has information that applies to all students. If you are from outside the UK, you should also be up to date with all vaccinations recommended by Public Health Wales.

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

  • Tetanus
  • Diptheria
  • Polio

In addition, if you are under the age of 25:

  • Meningitis ACWY
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) 

Meningitis Risks

University students are at high-risk from meningitis, particularly in the first few weeks of term. This is especially true for international students, first years, and those living in halls of residence.

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

Meningitis symptoms can be mistaken for a cold or flu so if in any doubt always seek medical help as soon as possible.

Before leaving home country

New international students are strongly advised to contact their doctor at home and have the Meningitis ACWY vaccine at least two weeks before arriving in the uk.

Missed your vaccine?

Any student who hasn't had their meningitis vaccination prior to starting at USW 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). It is free to all first year students under the age of 25 who are registered with the NHS, including international students.