Health Checklist for International Students Before Arriving in U.K.


Zihuan Nie | May 08, 2023

If you have read our other posts and also heard about the NHS, you will know that they are known for having long wait times. Resources tend to be reserved for life-threatening scenarios, so for services such as physical examinations, treatment for injuries or sicknesses, you may not receive the care you deserve at the time you need. To make the best of this situation, you should be proactive about your health prior to leaving for the U.K. Since these services may be more accessible in your home country, you can save yourself time and make sure you’re in the best state of health prior to arriving abroad. Go through the list below for more on what you should look to have done prior to leaving for the U.K.:

1. General health check-up and immunization

While in your home country, it’s always recommended to see your family/primary care doctor for a regular health check-up before leaving. This stands even if you do not have a recurring injury/sickness. This way you can get confirmation of what state your health is in and if there are any other types of screening/testing you should get prior to leaving the U.K. If you have a clean bill of health, then you can go abroad with less worries about having to seek medical attention!

It’s also recommended to get this check-up so you can get your most up-to-date immunization record and see if you would need to get an immunization to be on schedule. Some schools in the U.K. may require you to be up to date for certain immunizations so it’s best to have everything settled prior to leaving.

2. Treatment for existing injuries/sicknesses

In a similar vein to the above, you should definitely see a doctor in your home country prior to leaving if you are receiving continuous treatment for an injury/sickness. During this time, it will be best to ask if there are any large procedures or treatment measures that you would need to have done in the foreseeable future and try to schedule them in your home country.

If you are scheduled for something large like a surgery, you should make sure to have it done before leaving, as it will allow you to avoid the situation where you have a long recovery period and could lead to delays your studies in the U.K.

Please note that some insurance plans have waiting periods for pre-existing conditions so it’s also best to see if your doctor has any recommendations for planning around this if you require continuous treatment.

3. Prescriptions

U.K. pharmacies cannot accept foreign prescriptions, with a few exceptions from countries in the EEA (European Economic Area). If you have any existing prescriptions from your home country, we recommend checking if your medication is registered and licensed in the U.K., in which case, you would be able to get prescribed the generic (non-branded) version.

To do this, you would have to schedule to meet with a GP (General Practitioner) first to get the prescription, then go to a pharmacy. It is advisable to bring your prescription note from your home country, as any additional information for the GP could be useful.

If your medication is not permitted in the U.K., you should get advice from your doctor at home about alternatives.

If you are bringing your medication into the U.K., bring your prescription note, and if possible, obtain an English version

Though we suggest taking these precautions before you arrive for studies, we understand that there may be medical services you need to have done during your time abroad. To stayed covered for these, you can enroll in one of ISO's affordable private medical insurance plans and ensure you get the treatment you need in a timely manner.

About ISO

As the leading medical insurance provider for international students since 1958, ISO Student Health Insurance plans are affordable and comprehensive, offering protection for you and your finances while in the U.K.

With 65 years of being an industry leader and commanding a global presence, ISO Student Health Insurance is comprised of former international students, who truly understand the needs and ways to best serve the community.

Discover plan details here

About ISO Student Health Insurance

Founded in 1958, ISO prides itself on being the leader in providing international students with affordable insurance plans. Administered by former and current international students, we are able to assist our member with multilingual customer service in Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, and more. ISO serves over 3,200 schools/colleges and more than 150,000 insured students every year.

For more information, please visit and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn.

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