On 27 October 2020, the Immigration Health Surcharge (“IHS”) increased from £400 to £624 per year for applicants who are 18 years of age or over and to £470 per year for visa applicants who are under 18 or who are applying for student visas. This means that a typical 2.5 year visa will now incur a fee of £1560 for the IHS.

It was on 6 April 2015 that the IHS fee was introduced as part of most UK visa applications. Prior to this change, individuals could access medical care on the National Health Service immediately upon arrival in the UK and without charge.

Although there are some exemptions, these are rare and the fee must be paid prior to applying for temporary leave to enter or remain visas which are longer than six months. The main exemptions to the IHS are:

  • Applicants applying from outside of the UK for a visitor visa
  • Applicants for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK
  • Tier 2 (General) Health and Care Visa applicants and their dependants
  • EEA nationals and their family members
  • Asylum seekers and applicants for humanitarian protection, and their dependants

The charge is paid at the point of submitting the online visa application form and is automatically calculated by the payment system. Further details can be found here.