On 6 February 2024, UK IHS fees will increase by 66%
On 6 February 2024, IHS fees will increase by 66%
Important news for anyone applying for a UK visa: The UK Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is set to increase by a significant 66% on February 6th, 2024. This means higher costs for most visa applicants, so it’s crucial to understand the changes and their potential impact.
Here’s a breakdown of the key points:
What is the IHS? The IHS is a mandatory upfront payment required by most visa applicants aged 18 and over who plan to stay in the UK for six months or more. It contributes to the cost of using the National Health Service (NHS).
What’s changing? The current UK IHS fee is £624 for adults and £470 for children. From February 6th, these fees will increase to £1,035 for adults and £776 for children, representing a 66% jump.
Who is affected? The increase applies to most visa categories, including work visas, study visas, family visas, and more. Some exemptions exist, such as for Health and Care visas and those applying for indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship.
What are the reasons for the increase? The government cites rising healthcare costs and the need to ensure the IHS remains sustainable in the long term.
What can you do? If you’re planning to apply for a UK visa, it’s important to factor in the new IHS fees UK when budgeting. You can submit your application before February 6th to avoid the increased cost. Additionally, explore if you qualify for any exemptions.
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): What Is It?
On April 6, 2015, the Immigration Health Surcharge, or IHS, was initially implemented to make sure immigrants pay a portion of the NHS’s medical expenses.
A one-time payment made in conjunction with the filing of most UK visa applications, the Immigration Health Surcharge entitles the payer to full access to the National Health Service (NHS) while in the United Kingdom. The NHS is available to anybody, without any restrictions. Furthermore, even if you think you won’t use the NHS or would rather pay for private health care, you are unable to opt out of the Immigration Health Surcharge.
Applications for entry into the UK for periods of six months or longer, as well as those requesting UK visas from within the country for any duration of stay—with the exception of those seeking indefinite leave to remain or naturalization as a British citizen—are typically subject to the Immigration Health Surcharge.
The IHS is a yearly fee that is applied for the length of any submitted UK visa application.
When Must I Pay the Health Surcharge for Immigration (UK IHS Fee)?
Paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a mandatory step for many visa and immigration applications to the UK. It grants you access to the National Health Service (NHS) for the duration of your visa, similar to how British citizens use it.
Here’s a breakdown of when you need to pay the IHS:
Applying for a visa or immigration application:
For stays longer than 6 months: If you’re applying from outside the UK for a visa valid for more than 6 months, you must pay the IHS.
Any duration when inside the UK: If you’re applying for a UK visa or immigration application from within the UK, regardless of the duration, you still need to pay the IHS.
Indefinite leave to remain with limited leave: Even if you apply for indefinite leave to remain but are only granted limited leave initially, you’ll need to pay the IHS before your leave is granted.
Who needs to pay:
The main applicant must pay the IHS.
Dependents included in the application also need to pay their own individual IHS fees UK.
When to pay:
Online Applications: You’ll be prompted to pay the IHS during the online application process. Make sure to complete the payment within 30 minutes before returning to the application.
Paper Applications: Pay the IHS online before submitting your paper application.
When Will the IHS Start to Rise?
The UK Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) in the UK saw a significant increase in 2024, but understanding the timeline requires a look back. Originally announced in October 2023, the rise was initially set for January 16th, 2024. However, legislative processes pushed the actual implementation date to February 6th, 2024.
As of today, February 1st, 2024, the increased IHS is already in effect. This means anyone applying for a UK visa subject to the IHS after February 6th will face a higher fee. However, those who submitted their applications before that date will still pay the old rate.
Why is there an increase in the immigration health surcharge?
According to the equity impact assessment, the Immigration Health Surcharge has gone up in accordance with the 2019 manifesto commitment, which says that:
“The increase keeps the promise made in the 2019 manifesto to guarantee that the Health Charge accurately represents the entire expense to the NHS of providing treatment to Health Charge payers. The Health Charge hikes will guarantee that those who pay the Health Charges are fully reimbursed for the cost of providing NHS services.
Who Is Affected by This Increase and What Is the IHS Increasing to?
This change will affect individuals applying for entry clearance or leave to remain in various categories, including Dependent visas, Student visas, skilled workers, spouses, partners, and dependents. However, some groups are exempt, such as healthcare workers, visitors, those applying under the EU Settlement Scheme, and Ukrainian refugees.
The potential consequences of this increase are still being debated. While the government predicts minimal impact on immigration inflows, there are concerns that the higher cost could deter some applicants, particularly students and those on lower incomes. It’s important to note that these are just the expected changes, and the final details may be subject to parliamentary approval.
Who Is Exempt from the Increase in the UK Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)?
For individuals seeking entry clearance as a fiancé under Appendix FM, visitors, health and care professionals, and those applying under the EU Settlement Scheme, there is no IHS. Similarly, individuals seeking entrance clearance or permission to remain under the Ukraine Scheme, or those making asylum claims, are not subject to the UK Immigration Health Surcharge. Furthermore, anyone requesting British citizenship or indefinite leave to remain is exempt from paying the IHS.
If I Don’t Pay the UK Immigration Health Surcharge, What Will Happen?
In accordance with the UK Immigration Rules’ paragraph 34(4), your application will be considered invalid and will not be completed if the IHS is not paid. Your application will be returned within 10 working days if it is submitted from inside the UK, and within 7 working days if it is submitted from outside the country.
Can I Receive a Refund for the UK Immigration Health Surcharge?
Yes, depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a full or partial refund of the UK Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) you paid when applying for your UK visa. Here’s a breakdown of the different scenarios:
You paid twice for the IHS due to an error.
Your UK visa application was refused.
You withdrew your UK visa application before a decision was made.
You’re a full-time student with a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued in:
EU or Norway: From January 1, 2021 onwards
Switzerland: From November 1, 2021 onwards.
Iceland or Liechtenstein: From January 1, 2024 onwards.
You’re a Tier 2 (General) visa holder working in a qualifying healthcare role and eligible for an exemption based on your earnings.
You have a different visa type and work in a healthcare role, but the rules for refunds vary depending on your specific situation.
Get in touch with our immigration representatives
To obtain professional guidance and support concerning a visa or immigration request, reach out to our immigration representatives at Triospace Overseas Consultants in Hyderabad: 8555825755 or fill out the online form provided.
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