Education in EU/EFTA Member States
Are you going abroad to another EU or EFTA Member State to:
- study at university,
- attend a school, such as a secondary school, technical school or primary school,
- do a school or student placement, for example as part of the Erasmus programme?
Take the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you.
The EHIC will confirm your entitlement to medical treatment during your stay in the EU or EFTA Member State in which you are going to study. Under the EHIC, you will be entitled to:
- necessary and unplanned treatment,
- treatment under the public healthcare system of the country concerned,
- the treatment provided so that you do not have to return to Poland before the end of your education and you can continue your stay in health-safe conditions.
The scope of benefits is decided by the doctor who will provide you with medical assistance. They take into account your state of health and the length of your planned stay.
- If you are studying in the United Kingdom, please read the rules that apply after 31 December 2020 under Brexit tab.
- If you are not a citizen of an EU Member State, you cannot benefit from free treatment with an EHIC in the following countries: Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Denmark.
Please note. If you are going to study at a university as a non-matriculated student or to study at a language school, you do not have student status according to EU legislation. If you are over 18 years of age and not continuing your education, you will not obtain the EHIC unless you are insured under your insurance scheme, such as voluntary insurance.
Article 19 of Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems,.
Decision No. S1 of the Administrative Commission for the Coordination of Social Security Systems of 12 June 2009 concerning the European Health Insurance Card.
If you need medical assistance, take your EHIC, identity card or passport with you and go to the nearest public healthcare facility in your country of stay. Show your documents to the doctor or the facility administration and say that your stay is related to your studies or education.
You can only obtain treatment in a public healthcare facility. If you are confused about where to apply, please see the ‘Rules in individual countries’ tab. You will also find contact details for the local authority that will help you.
Please note. The doctor must see the card and check whether it complies with the template set out in EU legislation. Providing the card number alone is not enough.
If you do not have the EHIC and you need to obtain treatment, check how to get a document replacing the EHIC under the ‘Holidays in EU/EFTA Member States’ > ‘Travelling without the EHIC’ tab.
If you want to use the EHIC when you go to an EU or EFTA Member State to study, the important question is:
- whether you are entitled to health insurance in Poland, or
- whether you will take up employment in the country of stay.
When you are entitled to health insurance in Poland
You are entitled to healthcare benefits in Poland if:
- you are insured, e.g. if your parent or grandparent has registered you as a family member or if the university where you study has registered you for insurance,
- you are non-insured and you are entitled to treatment under special entitlements, e.g. if you are not yet 18 years of age and your parent or grandparent could not register you for insurance.
What if you are also going to work abroad
If in the country where you are studying or doing your internship, you:
- will also be working,
- you will be paid for your internship,
– then you must register for health insurance in that country. You will lose the entitlement to use the EHIC issued by the National Health Fund.
Go to the ‘EHIC’ tab. There you will find information on:
- how to apply for the EHIC,
- the expiry date of the EHIC,
- how long it takes to process your application.
What documents do you need to submit?
- If you are travelling for studying, please select:
- Attach to your application a certificate confirming that you are studying or confirming the commencement of the internship,which may be issued by:
- the Polish school or university that is sending you to study or undertake unpaid internship.
- a foreign school or university that accepts you as a pupil, student or for an unpaid internship.
If you make an application while you are already in education or studying, you can present your pupil or student ID card instead of the certificate.
- In exceptional cases, we may ask you for additional documents to prove that you have health insurance with the National Health Fund. These documents may include:
- ZUS ZCNA form, confirming that you are registered for insurance as a family member,
- a document confirming the entitlement to benefits of the person who registered you as a family member for insurance,
What details should be included in a certificate from a school or university?
The certificate from the school or university should include:
- the name of the university or school with address and contact details,
- your full name and date of birth,
- signature of the person authorised to issue the certificate,
- the start and end date of the semester or academic year during which you will have pupil or student status or the period in which you will be doing your internship,
- a statement that the internship does not involve any remuneration, as a result of which you will be subject to the legislation of the country concerned,
- the date of issue of the certificate (maximum 90 days before the date of the EHIC application).
Please note. A notice from a university that you have been accepted for admission is not confirmation that you have student status. You will not receive your EHIC until you have been officially admitted as a student.
If we cannot confirm your admission to a school, university or internship after obtaining a certificate from abroad, we may ask you to provide a Polish or English translation of the certificate.
We will issue the card for a period that will depend on the duration of your education, studies or internship and the information provided on the certificate or pupil/student ID card that you submit with your EHIC application.
- If the certificate or pupil/student ID card states the exact duration of the semester, academic year or study period, we will issue the card for that period, up to a maximum of 12 months.
- If the certificate or pupil/student ID card does not state the exact study period, we will issue the card for the duration of the semester or academic year in Poland.
Please note. We issue the EHIC on the basis of your entitlement to benefits. If you obtain health benefits on the basis of voluntary insurance from a contract of mandate or contract for specific work, we will issue the EHIC for the period to which this group is entitled.
Your EHIC will no longer be valid when:
- you turn 18 years of age and are no longer in education or have interrupted your education,
- you are still in education after turning 18 years of age but turn 26 years of age – except if you have a recognised disability,
- you are still in education after turning 18 years of age, but the person who registered you for insurance has lost the entitlement to benefits from the National Health Fund,
- you start working in the country where you are studying.
Your EHIC will expire:
- if you were a pupil, after 6 months after leaving school or deletion from the list of pupils,
- if you were a student, after 4 months from the date of graduation or deletion from the list of students or doctoral students,
- if you were a student, once you have turned 26 years of age,
- from the day you start work.
- when you have received a pension or disability benefit from another country,
Please note. When you use the EHIC without authorisation, you must then reimburse the medical costs. By doing so, you expose yourself to the risk of debt collection proceedings.
How long does it take and from when is entitlement to benefits calculated for people who have completed post-primary school?
The entitlement to healthcare benefits for post-primary school leavers expires 6 months after leaving school or being removed from the student list. The end of the school year is calculated from the last Saturday in April in schools where classes start on the first weekday in September.
§ 2(4) of the Regulation of the Minister of National Education and Sport of 18 April 2002 on the organisation of the school year.
If, as a student, I start working in another EU/EFTA Member State, and I have voluntary insurance, can I use the EHIC?
No. As soon as you start working in another EU/EFTA Member State, you are subject to the legislation of that country. This means that you should be registered for health insurance – either your employer must register you or you register yourself as an employee. Remember that if you do not have health insurance, you could incur the full, often very high, cost of treatment, for example if you have an accident at work.
Can I use the EHIC as a student working in another EU/EFTA Member State?
No. As soon as you start working in another EU/EFTA Member State, you are subject to the legislation of that country. This means that you should be registered for health insurance in that country.
If you are registered for health insurance in Poland as a family member, the person who registered you should de-register you. If you use your EHIC card without authorisation, we will require you to reimburse us for the cost of your treatment.
If I go to university in another EU/EFTA Member State as a non-matriculated student, will I get the EHIC?
Yes, but you must be entitled to healthcare benefits in Poland. The card will be issued according to your insurance scheme.
Is the EHIC also available to pupils and students who go abroad for pupil or student internships?
Yes, if they are not paid for them. If they take up paid work abroad, they will be subject to the health insurance provisions of the country concerned and the EHIC will no longer be valid.