Welfare & Immigration

The Chevening Secretariat’s welfare and immigration team provides support to all Chevening Awardees. Check this page regularly throughout the year for updates that may affect you during your time in the UK. 

The welfare and immigration team can be contacted via your programme officer or directly via email.




The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly-funded healthcare system for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office pays the Immigration Health Surcharge on your behalf as part of your Tier 4 visa application and this allows you to access the National Health Service in the UK. The NHS provides emergency treatment to all.

Not all treatments are free of charge, for instance you will have to pay for some dental and optical treatment, plus prescription charges if you live in England.

If you live in England check the NHS website: www.nhs.uk for further information. NHS regulations vary slightly in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so you should check the relevant website depending on where you live:

Scotland – www.show.scot.nhs.uk
Wales – www.wales.nhs.uk
Northern Ireland – www.hscni.net

One of the first things you should do at your place of study is to register with a doctor, known as a General Practitioner (GP). Please do not wait until you are ill to register. Ensure you choose an NHS doctor. At many universities there is a student health service on campus. You may need to show proof of your student status and address, along with your Immigration Health Surcharge number.

The NHS also runs a 24-hour non-emergency helpline that you can call for free on 111.

You can also go into any pharmacy in the UK for advice about common ailments such as coughs and colds, and you can read more here.

There’s more information on the UKCISA website.

We recommend that all scholars purchase their own insurance (which includes medical insurance) to cover their time in the UK even if you can access the NHS free of charge. Waiting lists for NHS treatment can be quite long and if you have insurance that allows you access to private medical care, you may be able to get treatment more quickly.


Keeping healthy in body and mind is important so that you are able to focus on your studies and make the most of your time in the UK. Being away from friends and family, potentially studying in a second language, and adjusting to life in a new country can be extremely stressful.

If you are feeling overly stressed and anxious, and this is impacting on your studies and wellbeing, please talk to someone. Universities have lots of support and services that can help, so check with your university or contact the Welfare and Immigration team.

Procedures for scholars who are unwell

If you’re unwell for more than five days, please ensure that your programme officer is informed as soon as possible.

In the event of serious health or welfare issues that occur after your arrival in the UK, Chevening’s medical adviser and/or the Welfare and Immigration Team will liaise with you, with your university’s medical services, and with the academic adviser to consider whether withdrawal from the programme and possible reapplication at a future date would be more appropriate than attempting to complete the course.


Updated February 2017