As of today, 27 October 2020, the Immigration Health surcharge has increased from £400 a year to £624 a year.
For students, Tier 5 (Youth Mobility scheme) applicants and those under the age of 18 at the time of application the fee is £470 per year.
What is the Immigration Health surcharge (IHS)?
The IHS or NHS surcharge is a fee levied on the majority of visa applications on top of other Home Office immigration fees.
It was first introduced through the Immigration (Health Charge) Order 2015, a statutory instrument made under powers conferred by section 38 of the 2014 Immigration Act. The aim was to directly increase overseas migrants’ contribution to the running costs of the NHS by an estimated £200 million per year. Back then the charge of £200 was applied to all eligible applications made on or after 6 April 2015. The Order was updated in 2018 doubling the fee to £400. Two years later it is updated once again to reach £624.
According to paragraph 34(4) of the Immigration Rules failure to pay the charge will result in an invalid application.
Who has to pay the IHS?
It must be paid by most applicants and their dependants seeking permission to enter under the UK’s domestic Immigration Rules, unless it is for 6 months or less. Short-term visitors and fiancé(e) visa applicants are therefore not required to pay.
The charge is also payable for most limited leave to remain applications (i.e. those applying from inside the UK), even if the length of stay is less than 6 months.
Those who have private health insurance still need to pay for the NHS surcharge.
If you have paid three years of surcharge for your current visa and you are switching to a different visa category one year in, the amount already paid will not be deducted from your new IHS bill. You still have to pay the total amount due for your new IHS bill. However, you are due a partial refund for the two years of surcharge paid on your 3-year visa.
Those from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, only need to pay if applying to come to the UK from 1 January 2021.
How do I pay?
The IHS will be paid on the same day you submit your visa application. After you have finalised your application form, you will be taken to a page to pay the IHS, then you can return to your application and continue to pay the application fee.
Only credit and debit cards are accepted. It is not possible to pay by cheque or bank transfer. Cash is only accepted from those applying from North Korea.
Who is exempt from paying the NHS surcharge?
- Those applying for indefinite leave to enter or remain
- Those eligible for the Health and Care Visa
- Diplomats or members od visiting armed forces who are not subject to immigration control
- Dependants of a member of the UK’s armed forces
- Dependants of a member of another country’s armed forces who is exempt from immigration control
- A family member of a European national with European Treaty rights
- those exercising free movement rights until 31 December 2020
- those making applications under the EEA Regulations or the EU Settlement Scheme
- Those applying for a visa for the Isle of Man or Channel Islands
- British Overseas Territory citizens resident in the Falkland Islands
- Asylum seekers or applicants for humanitarian protection and their dependants
- Domestic workers who have been identified as a victim of slavery or human trafficking
- Victims of domestic violence or abuse who are eligible for the domestic violence concession
- If being made to leave the UK would be against your rights under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
Who does not need to pay but will need an IHS reference number?
Children under the age of 18 who have been taken into care by a local authority; relevant civilian employees at NATO or the Australian Department of Defence in the UK (and their dependants) are able to use the NHS without having to pay the surcharge, but still need an IHS reference number.
When do I get a refund?
You will get a full refund for the IHS if:
- you have paid twice
- your visa application is refused
- you withdraw your application
You will get a partial refund if:
- you get less time on your visa than you asked for
- any dependants on your visa application are refused.
If you have any questions regarding how the Immigration Health surcharge increase affects your visa application, feel free to get in touch with a member of our team. 01235 841 568 or email firstname.lastname@example.org