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What is the UK Immigration Health Surcharge and who needs to pay?

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a tax that was introduced in April 2015 to “ensure that those coming to live in the UK make an appropriate financial contribution to the cost of their healthcare.”

The IHS is a mandatory visa fee which provides access to NHS Services for people coming to live in the UK for more than 6 months and is payable in full at the time that you submit your visa application.

Who needs to pay the IHS?

Most migrants and their dependants who are seeking permission to enter the UK for a period of more than 6 months (i.e. those applying to live in the UK) must pay the IHS.

Any migrant who wishes to extend their visa from within the UK must also pay IHS.

The IHS is waived for those seeking indefinite leave to remain.

You will be liable to pay the IHS regardless of whether you hold private medical insurance.

Who doesn’t need to pay the IHS?

You will be exempt from paying the IHS if you are:

  • applying for indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK
  • a health and care worker who is eligible for a Health and Care Worker visa (or their dependant)
  • applying to the EU Settlement Scheme
  • a diplomat or a member of a visiting armed forces and not subject to immigration control
  • a dependant of a member of the UK’s armed forces
  • the dependant of a member of another country’s armed forces who is exempt from immigration control
  • applying for a visa for the Isle of Man or Channel Islands
  • a British Overseas Territory citizen resident in the Falkland Islands
  • an asylum seeker or applying for humanitarian protection (or their dependant)
  • a domestic worker who has been identified as a victim of slavery or human trafficking
  • applying for discretionary leave to remain in the UK as someone who has been identified as a victim of slavery or human trafficking (or their dependant)
  • eligible under the Home Office’s domestic violence concession (or the dependant of a person who is eligible)
  • being made to leave the UK would be against your rights under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (or the dependant of a person who falls under this category)
  • an S2 Healthcare Visitor
  • eligible for a Frontier Worker permit and have an S1 certificate

If you are unsure of whether you are exempt from paying the IHS, please do contact us.

How much does it cost?

The IHS fee will vary depending on your age and circumstances. The current annual charge is:

  • £624 per year for all eligible visa and immigration applications
  • £470 per year for children under the age of 18 or those applying for a Youth Mobility Visa.

What is the UK Immigration Health Surcharge and who needs to pay? The exact amount you will have to pay will depend on length of the leave that you are granted. Therefore, if you are granted a 5-year visa and you are over the age of 18 years, you may be liable to pay an upfront cost of as much as £3,120 in IHS fees. It is important to ensure that you calculate the amount of IHS payable correctly, as any underpayment of fees could delay the processing of your application.

What if my application is refused, will the IHS be refunded?

If your application is refused, the IHS fee will be automatically refunded to the card used to make the payment. Refunds can take up to six weeks, and in some cases even longer. You can contact the Home Office if your refund has not been received within six weeks.

If you lodge an appeal against a refusal, or if you submit an administrative review, any request for a refund of IHS fees will be put on hold the process is completed.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson has extensive experience in all aspects of UK immigration law. If you have any queries relating to the blogs published, or are interested in talking to us about your specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.


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 do not 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.

©Gherson 2022


 Ines Yassa 

  Ines Yassa


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