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Understanding the UK Immigration Healthcare Surcharge

Embarking on an immigration journey to the United Kingdom comes with the responsibility of understanding the intricacies of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This surcharge, a crucial component of the immigration application process, ensures access to the National Health Service (NHS) during your stay. In this guide, we'll delve into the key details, including who needs to pay, how much, and when. 


Who has to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS Fee)?


The obligation to pay the healthcare surcharge hinges on the type and duration of your immigration status. If you're planning to stay for more than 6 months (applying outside of the UK) or any duration (applying inside of the UK), you'll likely need to pay. However, exemptions apply for visitor visas, those applying for indefinite leave to enter or remain, health and care workers, applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme, diplomats, and more.


When do you need to pay the IHS fee?


The payment process is straightforward: pay online as part of the application or appointment booking if applying online or pay online before sending the application by post if applying through traditional means. Access to the NHS is granted after payment and a successful visa or immigration application. However, it's essential to note that certain healthcare services, such as prescriptions and dental treatment, may still require separate payments. 


How much is the IHS fee?


Understanding the cost breakdown is crucial. As of 2024, most other visa and immigration applicants (excluding those exempt and students), will need to pay £1,035 per year. The costs vary for different lengths of visas: 6 months or less, more than 6 months but less than one year, and more than one year. This may mean you'll pay more than £1,035 in total if your visa is for longer than one year. Dependents aged 18 or over typically pay the same amount as the main applicant, and partial refunds are available if the surcharge was paid for more years than granted leave. 


Important: the Immigration Health Surcharge regularly changes in price. Please check the government website for accurate, up to date fees – or speak to a solicitor at MSD Solicitors who can tell you exactly how much it will cost for your application.


How do you pay for the IHS fee?


Applicants must adhere to specific deadlines for payment. If applying from within the UK, payment for the Immigration Health Surcharge must be made within 10 working days. If applying from outside the UK, the deadline is 7 working days. Failure to meet these deadlines may result in the rejection of your visa or immigration application. 


Speak to a qualified immigration solicitor

Navigating the UK healthcare surcharge is a crucial step in the immigration process, ensuring access to healthcare services during your stay. By understanding who needs to pay, how much, and when, applicants can streamline their applications and avoid potential pitfalls. Utilising the official payment service and staying informed about the latest updates will make your UK immigration journey smoother and more successful. 


If you need any advice relating to Immigration Health Surcharge fees or other costs involved in the immigration process, please contact MSD Solicitors and speak to a qualified solicitor.


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