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Health care for asylum seekers and refugees
If you are an asylum seeker or a refugee living in Scotland, you can access NHS health care while you are here.
Registering for health care
In order to receive care, you will need to register with a GP as soon as you arrive in Scotland.
Find out how to register with a GP
If you need an interpreter, ask the GP surgery to arrange this for you. When you make an appointment, tell them what language you prefer to use.
Accessing health care
If you are an asylum seeker and you need care, you may be asked to show:
If you are a refugee and you need care, you may be asked to show:
- your passport
- your travel documents
- a letter from the Home Office that says you are allowed to stay in the United Kingdom.
Find out more about accessing NHS services and treatments
Health care for asylum seekers and their families is free for the most part. There are, however, some treatments that may incur a cost.
The Scottish Government provide information about health costs and entitlemernt in the following publications:
If you receive asylum support from the UK Border Agency you won't need to pay for your health care.
The UK Border Agency will give you a HC2 certificate to show that you don’t need to pay for some treatments and to help with the cost of travelling to appointments.
The UK Border Agency provide more information for asylum support on their website.
No asylum support
If you are seeking or have been refused asylum and you don’t get asylum support from the UK Border Agency a lot of your health care will still be free.
You will need to complete and return a HC1 form PDF (156 KB) in order to apply for a HC2 certificate.
Families of asylum seekers
If you are registered as an NHS patient your partner and children might also qualify for health care. If you have children they must be aged under 16, or under 19 and in full-time education.
Staff at the GP surgery will ask you to fill in a form to register your family. You may need to show your marriage or civil partnership certificate, and birth certificates for your children to complete the registration process.
All other family members will need to prove that they can qualify for NHS care in their own right.
If you or a member of your family are unwell and your GP surgery and pharmacist are closed. You should phone NHS 24 on 111.
NHS 24 provide an interpreting service if english is not your first or preferred language.
Helpline for asylum seekers and refugees
The Scottish Refugee Council operate an advice line for asylum seekers and refugees on 0800 085 6087.
This service is free from a landline and is open from 09:00am to 05:00pm
You can find out more about asylum support and health through the UK Border Agency.
The Scottish Refugee Council also provide information for asylum seekers in the leaflet – How to Access Health Care in Scotland PDF (454 KB)
You can find more information about health care for asylum seekers in the leaflet - Health care for asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland