Pre-travel health related matters

Employees should consult the NHS guidance around vaccinations and medications. If health advice or immunisations are required for the country to which the employee will be travelling, the employee will be responsible for organising these. Costs of immunisations may be reimbursed in certain cases. Agreement must be sought beforehand from your line manager. 

Pre-existing medical conditions (including disability and other health matters)

Members of staff with a disability or any other pre-existing medical condition that could be potentially exacerbated by the proposed work overseas should declare this to the line manager. It is important that such considerations form part of the risk assessment process, so that where possible, suitable arrangements can be identified. Any feasible reasonable adjustments for disability should be arranged well in advance of travel.  NB some countries restrict the entry of people with certain medical conditions, such as previous or current mental health issues, HIV or hepatitis, and may be required to provide medical information such as recent blood test before entry can be granted. Employees can check the relevant entry requirements of their specific country of travel on the governments website (weblink)

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

An EHIC grants access to state-provided healthcare (where it is medically necessary) within the European Economic Area (EEA) countries (including Switzerland), normally at a reduced cost, or sometimes free, depending on the country’s state provisions. The EHIC is a free card, and eligible individuals can apply by filling in the EHIC online application form. An EHIC card does not replace and should not be used as a substitute for travel insurance (see Insurance) and it will not cover any private medical care costs or repatriation. These cards are also time-limited and staff should check the expiry date of their EHIC prior to travelling.

In some countries, additional private health insurance may be required. See also the NHS guide on ‘moving abroad: planning for your healthcare’.

Employees responsible for obtaining their own health guidance and immunisations/health related entry requirements
Employees to obtain EHIC where relevant
Employees should notify the University Insurance office that they will be working overseas and confirm the dates

Health and safety

Prior to a member of staff being employed overseas a risk assessment should be carried out by the recruiting manager to ensure that any risks are identified and where appropriate, steps are taken to mitigate these. Action will also need to be taken to ensure that the University complies with any local legislative requirements relating to Health and Safety. A more detailed risk assessment must be undertaken for assignments that will involve greater risks, including postings to destinations/areas where the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against travel (or ‘all but essential’ travel), or where the planned activities are deemed to be potentially hazardous.   
Where staff are employed through a partner organisation or seconded overseas it is important to ensure that the responsibilities of both the University and partner organisation for the Health and Safety of the employee and compliance with local legislative requirements are clarified, in an agreement, prior to staff commencing employment. It is desirable that where a partner organisation has country specific Health and Safety expertise that this should be utilised.

Where a member of staff based overseas is directly employed by the University it may be necessary to procure specialist Health and Safety advice to ensure compliance with relevant country specific requirements.

Further advice and guidance on Health and Safety considerations and undertaking risk assessments can be viewed on the Health, Safety and Wellbeing website

Manager to complete a risk assessment (obtaining guidance from Health, Safety and Wellbeing if necessary)
Employee to read information on travel on the Insurance website 


Insurance requirements for staff based overseas will be affected by the period of time that they are based overseas and the country within which they are based. It is essential that appropriate insurance is arranged through the University Insurance Office and that this is in place prior to the employee commencing work overseas.

Where a member of staff’s normal base is the UK and they are sent on assignment overseas for less than twelve months cover will normally be provided through University Travel Insurance policy. While this provides emergency medical cover it will not cover routine medical costs and the employee may wish to take out additional health insurance in this respect. 

If an employee is required to travel from their overseas base to a country outwith the UK this may not be covered by the University Travel policy and advice should be sought from the Insurance Office prior to travel.

An additional premium is charged by the University Insurers where a member of staff is planning to be overseas for more than twelve months, or if they are likely to be participating in any hazardous activity. This cost needs to be met by the College or Service. Failure to advise the Insurance Office of extended stays or hazardous activities may result in the cover being deemed invalid by the Insurers. It should be noted that this may also apply to travel to areas that the Foreign Office is advising against visiting for 'all but essential travel'.

There may be requirements within specific countries for the University to have additional insurance eg in the United States the University would require to hold workers compensation cover and possibly health insurance. This will be assessed on a case by case basis by the Insurance Office.    

Manager to contact Insurance office to organise overseas insurance