Applying for a UK visa? You Might Need to Pay Health Surcharge

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The immigration health surcharge (IHS) always comes as a surprise to foreign nationals applying for a UK visa. Still, the UK government constantly reminds the public that paying the IHS is mandatory for select visa applicants.

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On 6 April 2015, the rule was first implemented and imposed on all non- European Economic Area-member (EEA) applicants applying for a visa with a validity of over six months. According to the government, the introduction of the surcharge aims to ensure the non-EEA citizens' involvement in contributing to the reduction of the costs that the National Health Service (NHS) spent on processing their application. The surcharge is solely payable online; regardless if the application is made via the UK website or through the premium service centre.

All visa application types cost £200 per year, except the UK student visa which costs £150 per annum. The applicant must also pay the surcharge for the whole period of his/her stay in the country. For instance, a person applying for a student visa for two years must pay £300 per year, while those who are applying for a work visa for three years must pay £600.

Exemptions

According to the UK immigration’s rules, all foreign nationals applying for a visitor visa, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), and British Citizenship are not required to pay the IHS. Applicants who are applying for an intra-company transfer under the Tier 2 immigration route, dependents of a member of Her Majesty’s Forces, and migrants who apply under the destitute domestic violence concession are also exempted from paying the IHS.

Applicants for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfers are exempted until this year or until the UK government announces a new rule on their case. Also, applicants applying for a UK visa with a validity period of six months or less are exempted from paying the surcharge. Speak to one of our ICCRC-regulated UK migration consultants to apply for a UK visa.