Immigration Health Surcharge
On 6 April 2015 the UK Government introduced the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This means that most people applying for a UK visa will be charged a fee to allow them access to UK healthcare. Those who pay the Health Surcharge will be able to access the National Health Service (NHS), the same as a permanent UK resident.
Who has to pay?
The Health Surcharge must be paid by non-EEA nationals who apply to come to the UK to work, study or join family for more than 6 months. From 6 April 2016, nationals from Australia and New Zealand will also have to pay the surcharge.
It should also be paid by non-EEA nationals already in the UK and want to extend their leave.
Some people are exempt from paying the charge, for example students who enter the UK on a 6 month Short-term Study visa, however they will need to obtain private health insurance.
How much does it cost?
The actual amount you must pay is calculated on your entire period of permission to stay and not on the course dates given on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).
The surcharge is currently set for students at £470 per year of the visa. Part years of six months or less less will be charged differently depending where you apply from. You do not need to pay the surcharge if you are applying from outside the UK for 6 months or less. If you are applying from inside the UK, you will pay half the yearly cost.
If you have dependants applying at the same time as you then each dependant will also be charged the same amount as you.
You can calculate the cost of your surcharge by visiting the Home Office website.
When do I pay the surcharge?
You pay as part of the online visa application. At the end of the application, you will be given an IHS reference number. This reference number must be included in your visa application.
Even if you are exempt from paying the surcharge, you must still complete the IHS application as you need an IHS reference number to include in your visa application.
If you are required to pay the surcharge, then you must make payment or your visa application will be refused.