Introduction of immigration health surcharge for all UK visa applicants
Be aware of recent changes in immigration rules affecting everyone applying for UK visas. All UK visa applications for visas that are more than six months long (including both entry-clearance and visa extension applications) made on or after the 6 April 2015 will require payment of compulsory immigration health surcharge (IHS). The introduced fee will give migrants access to the UK National Health Service. The IHS is set at 150 GBP per each year of your visa for students (200 GBP per year for all other visa categories). Dependants will be charged the same amount as their main applicant.
The total cost of the IHS depends on the length of the visa that you are applying for. If your visa includes part of a year that is six months or less you will be charged an additional 75 GBP for this period. If your visa includes part of a year that is more than six months, you will have to pay 150 GBP for this period.
For example, your course period is from September 2015 to May 2018. According to immigration rules your visa should be granted for the period covering one month before and four months after your official period of studies, from August 2015 to September 2018. Thus, the total health surcharge you must pay will be 525 GBP.
If you are not sure how much you have to pay, please follow the link to the Immigration Health Surcharge calculator
How do I pay it?
The Tier 4 application will direct you to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) portal where you must create an account and pay the required charge. Once you have done this, you will be given a unique reference number, which you must write on the front of your Tier 4 application form.
In case you submit your application without payment of IHS, you will be contacted by UK Visas and Immigration requesting the payment. You will then have to pay the full amount:
- within 10 working days if you’re inside the UK
- within 7 working days if you’re outside the UK
Please be aware that if you do not pay the IHS your application will be refused.
Some nationalities and visa categories are exempt from paying IHS, however, they still must register at Immigration Health Surcharge portal and obtain their reference number.
Is NHS better than private medical insurance?
Private medical insurance in the UK, which is comparable with healthcare provided by the NHS, is likely to be significantly more expensive than IHS. Basic private medical insurance will generally not cover the full range of treatment offered by the NHS, including pre-existing and chronic conditions and treatment for pregnancy.
In case your visa application is refused you will be automatically refunded IHS fee. If you obtain your student visa but decide not to come to the UK, your IHS will not be refunded. No partial refund will be made if you decide to leave the UK before your visa expires. The IHS is also not refundable if you do not use the National Health Service.
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