The Immigration Health Surcharge (“IHS”) is a fee levied on the majority of UK visa applications. You are required to make this payment as part of your application or when you book an appointment. If you apply by post, you will pay the surcharge before you send your application.
Who has to pay the IHS and who is exempt?
The surcharge must be paid by most applicants and their dependants seeking leave to enter or leave to remain in the UK under the Immigration Rules. Certain categories of applicants are exempt from paying the IHS, however, and these include (note this is not an exhaustive list) the following:
- If you are on a visitor visa or a short term visa valid for 6 months or less;
- If you are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain;
- If you are a diplomat, or a member of visiting armed forces and not subject to immigration control;
- If you are the dependant of a member of the UK armed forces or of an EEA national; or
- If you are an asylum seeker or applying for humanitarian protection.
Tier 2 (General) Health and Care visa
Please note that from 4 August 2020, the Home Office introduced a new visa route for qualified doctors, nurses, other health professionals sponsored by the NHS, and organisations providing medical services to the NHS or for adult social care.
If you apply for this visa route together with any dependants, or if you qualified under this route on or after 31 March 2020, you are also exempt from paying the IHS.
EEA nationals and family members of EEA nationals
Please note that whilst EEA nationals and family members of EEA nationals are exempt from paying the IHS, the surcharge will also be applicable, under the same conditions, to all EEA migrants and their family members arriving in the UK under the new proposed immigration system.
How much is the IHS?
The current IHS fee is £400 per year. However, students and those on Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) benefit from a slightly lower cost of £300 per year.
As of October this year, the fee is due to increase from £400 per year to £624 per year. The changes will also include an increase to students and those under the Youth Mobility Scheme from £300 to £470 per year. However, unlike the current scheme, children under the age of 18 will not be required to pay the full IHS fee. The surcharge will also be capped at £470 per year for all child migrants.
What services am I eligible to use once I have paid the IHS?
You will be required to pay for any NHS care you receive at the point that you use the service, unless it is a service that is free. Please refer to the following link which outlines the services that you may be eligible to use without any further charge: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-entitlements-migrant-health-guide.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Consultant, Trainee Solicitor and joint head of our corporate team