The Immigration Health Surcharge (“IHS”) is a crucial component of the UK visa application process, designed to ensure that individuals from outside the European Economic Area (“EEA”) contribute to the costs of utilising the National Health Service (“NHS”). This fee is applicable to those coming to the UK for work, study, business, or to join family members.
Who Pays the Immigration Health Surcharge?
Most non-EEA nationals are required to pay the IHS, except for certain categories such as EU/EEA citizens, short-term visitors (6 months or less), holders of indefinite leave to remain (“ILR”) or UK citizenship, and specific visa applicants like health and care workers. A comprehensive list of exemptions can be found on the Home Office website.
Immigration Health Surcharge Rates
As of 2023, the IHS rates are as follows:
- £624 per year for the main applicant
- £470 per year for children under 18, Youth Mobility Scheme visa applicants, and Student visa applicants.
For instance, a person applying for a 5-year visa would pay a total of £3,120. It’s important to note that dependents accompanying the main visa holder are also required to pay the IHS surcharge.
The Immigration Health Surcharge is due to increase no earlier than 16 January 2024.
Presently, the IHS has two rates: a standard rate and a reduced rate applicable to students, individuals under 18, and holders of Youth Mobility Scheme visas.
Both the standard and discounted rates are set to undergo an increase as outlined below:
|Rate||Current Fee (per year)||New Fee (per year)||Fee Change (per year)|
How the IHS is Calculated
The duration of the granted visa determines the IHS payment. Refunds are issued if there’s a difference between the paid amount and the correct fee based on the visa duration. Notably, no IHS is payable for visas of 6 months or less applied for from outside the UK, while half of the annual IHS cost is applicable for visas within the UK for 6 months or less.
Immigration Health Surcharge Refunds
Individuals may be eligible for a full or partial IHS refund under specific circumstances. A full refund is possible if:
- The IHS was paid more than once in error.
- The visa application is refused by the Home Office.
- The applicant decides to withdraw their application.
Instances where Refunds are Not Typically Offered
The Home Office usually does not offer refunds if:
- The visa application is approved, but the individual does not come to the UK as planned.
- The individual decides to leave the UK before the visa expiry.
- The Home Office mandates departure before visa expiration.
- The application is for Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”).
EU nationals with an S1 healthcare certificate may receive full or partial refunds. Additionally, students in UK higher education, visa holders starting from January 1, 2021, with a European Healthcare Insurance Card (“EHIC”), and those not working may be eligible for a refund. Individuals working in health and care, including their dependents, may also qualify for a refund.
How Refunds are Processed
Refunds, whether full or partial, are automatic and credited to the card used for payment. Typically received within six weeks of the final visa decision, individuals are advised to contact UK Visa and Immigration (“UKVI”) if a refund is not received within this timeframe.
Understanding the intricacies of the Immigration Health Surcharge and potential refunds is vital for applicants navigating the UK visa process. Contact our expert London immigration lawyers to stay informed and ensure compliance with the latest guidelines to streamline your immigration journey.
Why Instruct Our Specialist Immigration Solicitors?
At DJF Solicitors, our team of specialist London immigration lawyers will always act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meetings, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a visa application and are able to advise you in respect of your prospects and to ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our expert London Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss your visa application.