What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?
The UK Government introduced the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) on 6 April 2015. They wanted to make sure that migrants to the UK make an appropriate financial contribution to the cost of making use of the National Health Service (NHS).
The surcharge is costly, but the advantage for migrants coming to the UK is that they can use the NHS. You can use the NHS as soon as you make payment and your UK visa is approved. However, you still need to pay for some health services such as prescriptions, dental treatments and eye tests.
Who has to pay the Health Immigration Surcharge?
All migrants who apply for a UK visa for longer than six months have to pay the UK health surcharge. Dependents who apply also have to pay the surcharge.
What is the cost of the Health Immigration Surcharge?
|Immigration Health Surcharge costs|
|Students||£470 per year|
|Youth Mobility Scheme applicants||£470 per year|
|Children under the age of 18 years||£470 per year|
|All other visa applicants||£624 per year|
When you apply for a visa, you have to pay to cover the whole period of stay for each application. For example, if you apply for a UK Ancestry Visa for five years, you will have to pay £624 x 5 years = £3,120.
Increase in the IHS in January 2024
The Immigration Health Surcharge will increase significantly from 16 January 2024. It might be a slightly later date if approval by the British Parliament is delayed. However, Breytenbachs are taking a conservative approach and working on the 16 January 2024 date.
The immigration health surcharge (IHS) will rise from £624 to £1,035 per person per year. The discounted rate for student visa applicants, children, and youth mobility visa holders will increase from £470 to £776 per person per year.
Clients who qualify to apply for their UK visa or want to extend their current UK visa before the increase takes place must submit their documents to Breytenbachs by mid-December 2023. This will allow us to complete and sign off your application in time.
Are there any exemptions on who has to pay the IHS?
There are a number of categories that do not need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.
Persons applying for UK visitor visas do not need to pay the health surcharge, as these visas are not valid for longer than six months. Persons who apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British citizenship do not have to pay the health immigration surcharge.
- Applicants for the Health and Care Worker visa and their dependants;
- Applicants applying under the EU Settlement Scheme;
- Dependants of a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces;
- Persons who apply under the Home Office concession known as the ‘destitute domestic violence concession’ are also excluded.
The above is not an exhaustive list, but includes the most important exemptions. Your Breytenbachs consultant will advise you if you are exempt from paying the surcharge.
When do I have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge?
The payment is mandatory and collected as part of the immigration application.
If you do not pay the full amount within the prescribed time, your visa application will be unsuccessful.
Can I get a refund of my Immigration Health Surcharge payment?
You can get a refund of the IHS payment if your UK visa application is unsuccessful. Or in cases where a person withdraws their visa application.
It is possible to get a partial refund on the IHS payment if you get less time on your visa than you have requested. Or in cases where the visa application of any of your dependents was unsuccessful.
You will NOT get a refund under the following circumstances;
- You are successful in your UK visa application but decide not to come to the UK;
- Persons who leave the UK before the expiry of the UK visa; or
- You get deported.
How Breytenbachs can help you
Your Breytenbachs consultant will be able to advise you on all aspects of the UK Immigration Health Surcharge. Please feel free to speak to your consultant for further advice.