Health and wellbeing - Fellowships

Whilst living and studying in a new country can be a very exciting experience, at times it might also feel challenging and difficult. In those moments, help is at hand.


National Health Service (NHS)

The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s state healthcare system providing a wide range of health care services including appointments with a doctor, hospital treatment, and dental care. Emergency treatment is free to everyone but your access to other services will depend on what type of visa you have.

If your visa is granted for 6 months or more, and you have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge at the point of your visa application, this will allow you to access the NHS in the same way as UK residents. This means the service is free with the exception of paying for prescriptions, and dental and optical treatments.

If your visa is for less than 6 months then you will not be asked to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and this will mean that you will be liable to pay for the majority of medical treatment that you have in the UK. If you are not required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge we strongly recommend that you take out full comprehensive medical insurance for your time in the UK.

The Chevening Secretariat can provide a pro-rated contribution of up £200 to assist with the costs of paying for medical insurance.

Not all treatments are free of charge, even if you have paid for the Immigration Health Surcharge; for instance you will have to pay for prescriptions in England along with dental and optical treatment in all parts of the UK.  You can find some more information on the UKCISA website here.

For more information on access to health care, including on how to find an appropriate service for your needs, check the NHS website.

NHS regulations vary slightly in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and so if you are living and studying there you are advised to check the relevant website:
Northern Ireland

You may wish to register with a doctor, known as a General Practitioner (GP). In England you can find a GP near you using this website.

The NHS runs a 24-hour non-emergency helpline that you can call for free on 111 if you have questions or concerns about your health.

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

If you take certain medication that is prescribed by your doctor, please check to find out if your prescription medication contains a controlled drug and if you will be permitted to bring it to the UK. You can read more about travelling to the UK with medication here.

Serious health or welfare issues after arrival in the UK

In the event of serious health or welfare issues that occur after your arrival in the UK, please notify your fellowships officer and/or the welfare and immigration team as soon as possible so that they can assist you and advise you of any next steps as appropriate.

Please ensure that you keep any evidence (such as medical reports or letters from your doctor) relating to your situation as they may be required by the Secretariat.


Chevening Scholars who disclose a disability may be eligible to receive additional disability funding to support their living costs in the UK. This funding includes provision for personal care and is in addition to the reasonable adjustments that universities will assess and provide.

If you declare a disability during the Chevening placement process you will be contacted for additional information to help us review what support you may be eligible for.  Scholars are also advised to contact their universities’ Student Support and Disability Services.

Dependents’ support

The Chevening Secretariat does not provide financial or other support for any accompanying dependents. Fellows are discouraged from bringing dependents to the UK, due to high living costs and because it may impact on your ability to fully engage with your fellowship. Fellows will be solely responsible for all arrangements and costs for any accompanying dependents. The welfare team is unable to provide any advice and support regarding their visas and accommodation issues.


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.

You can find more information about wellbeing, including where to get more help and support, dealing with crisis, and practical tips for improving your wellbeing on our website.

Find out more about what to expect from your fellowship experience.

Get support and advice

Get support and advice

There is a lot of support available to help you through challenges you might face whilst in the UK. Find out more.

Arriving into the UK

Arriving into the UK

Find out about what to expect upon arrival into the UK before your Fellowship begins.