The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee imposed on majority of UK visa applications. This fee was first introduced in 2015 as it came into force through the Immigration (Health Charge) Order 2015, powers conferred by section 38 of the Immigration Act 2014. It must be paid by most applicants and their dependants seeking permission to enter and remain in the UK.
Who doesn’t need to pay?
Those entering on short-term visitor visas and fiancé visas for 6 months or less are not required to pay the IHS fee. Furthermore, those applying for indefinite leave to remain are also not required to pay the HIS fee.
As of current EU citizens and their family members entering under a family permit are also not required to pay this fee. However, the transition period is due to end on 31st December 2020 and the UK will include EU citizens to be subjected to their immigration law and policies from 1st January 2021. This means that EU citizens and their dependents applying for visas for long term visas (more than 6 months) will be required to pay the IHS from 1st January 2021.
The following applicants are also exempt from paying the IHS fee:
- Diplomats/ members of a visiting armed forces and not subject to immigration control
- UK’s armed force dependent members
- Dependants of a member of another country’s armed forces who is exempt from immigration control
- Applicants for a visa for the Isle of Man or the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey
- British Overseas Territory citizens resident in the Falkland Islands
- Applicants applying for asylum or humanitarian protection as well as their dependents
- Domestic workers who have been identified as victims of slavery or human trafficking
Increase in the IHS fee:
As of recent, the IHS fee was set at a rate of £400 per year for most individuals applying for either leave to enter or remain in the UK. The reduced rate for under 18s, students, their dependents and those applying under the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) (Tier 5 YMS) benefited from the reduced rate of £300 per year.
However, the recent changes set out in section 2 of the Immigration (Health Charge Amendment) Order 2020 stipulates that they are increasing the IHS fee for most adult applications to £624 per year. The reduced rates for under 18s, students, their dependents and applying under the Tier 5 YMS have also been increased to £470 per year.
Points to bear in mind when calculating how much to pay:
If the duration of leave is not a complete number of years, to calculate the IHS fee it must be rounded up to the nearest half year. An online calculator is provided on gov.uk for applicants to check how much they are required to pay. The IHS fee will be paid on the date you submit the application. If the application is refused, the IHS fee paid will be refunded.