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.
The Immigration Health Surcharge was originally due to increase from £400.00 to £624.00 per year, effective from 1 October 2020.
The original draft order that set 1 October 2020 as the date for the increase to come into effect has been replaced by a new draft order which states that the increase will be effective 21 days after the order takes legal effect. Since this latest draft order has not yet been made, the increase cannot take place on 1 October 2020.
The new draft order was approved by the House of Commons on 22 September 2020 and by the House of Lords on 23 September. This means that once a minister has signed the order, it will become law, and the increase will come into effect 21 days later.
The amended draft order also provides an exemption from the IHS for Health and Care Visa applicants.
Students, dependants of students, Youth Mobility Visa holders, and anyone under 18 will be eligible to pay a reduced fee of £470.00.
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.
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 see 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.