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Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) Fee

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), also known as the NHS Fee, is a mandatory charge that most UK Visa applicants need to pay upfront with their visa.

If you need professional guidance with your UK Dependant or Spouse Visa application, ring our customer care team today on 0161 532 7794. Manchester immigration lawyers can advise you over the phone, face-to-face or via Skype.

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    What is the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)?

    The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was introduced by the Government in 2015 in a bid to raise money for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The NHS, which was established in 1948, encompasses most healthcare services – from general doctors’ appointments to urgent A&E services and surgeries. The key principle of the service is that it remains free at the point of need: irrespective of your income or status, you will be treated equally and your healthcare needs will be with dignity.  

    The NHS therefore remains free to all based on clinical need. However, those who work in the UK contribute towards it through National Insurance contributions and other taxes. It is only fair then, according to the Home Office, that non-British nationals who migrate to the UK contribute to the NHS upfront to cover each year of residency.  

    After five years, dependant visa holders can switch onto a permanent status such as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), in which case they will no longer need to pay the IHS.

    Skilled worker visa

    Who needs to pay the NHS surcharge?  

    The NHS fee applies to all overseas nationals in the UK who do not have permanent status. If you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months, you will be expected to pay this fee upfront with your visa application.  

    The only real exception is those who are applying for a Visitor Visa. Migrant staff who are coming to work in the NHS receive a marginal discount from paying the charge, too. 

    However, you will need to pay even if you have private medical insurance. 

    The cost is estimated to cover all GP appointments, A&E services, hospital treatments, and any other medical treatments that may be needed during your time in the UK. 

    The cost of the NHS fee

    Year on year, the fee has incrementally risen. What was once a £200 per year extra cost is now an average of £1,035 per year (as of January 2024). There are no discounts for families (e.g. for more than one child) either. 

    However, the cost does differ from applicant to applicant: 

    • It is £776 per year for all children (under the age of 18) 
    • It is £1,035 per year for all other visa applicants  

    Since most people migrate to the UK under a 5 years visa, for example the Skilled Worker Visa, applicants can expect to pay £5,175 in addition to all their admin and registration fees.

    Do you need help applying for a Spouse Visa? Our lawyers can assist you. Get in touch

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      IHS fee for UK dependent visa 

      Dependent visa applicants such as spouse visa are not exempt from the IHS fee. And since the initial Spouse Visa lasts 30 months, applicants will need to pay around £2,587.50 (as of January 2024) to satisfy the fee.  

      In most cases, those seeking a Partner Visa will be expected to pay: 

      • £1,846 for the Spouse Visa itself if applying from overseas, or £1,048 if applying from inside the UK 
      • £2,587.50 for the IHS (for 30 months visa)
      • £19.20 for registration of biometric information 

      These fees do not include the cost to sit the mandatory English language test or any lawyer fees. 

      Applicants need to repay all of these fees once the permission expires if they wish to renew their Spouse Visa again. 

      If you leave the country before your visa permission expires, you may be able to apply for a partial refund. 

      When should you pay the fee? 

      If you’re sending your Spouse Visa application online, you will need to pay the NHS fee as part of your application. If you’re invited to an appointment instead, you will need to pay it then. 

      If you’re sending your visa application by post, you should pay the NHS surcharge online and before you send it. This is because you will need an IHS reference number to include in your application form. 

      Either way, you will need to pay the IHS fee before you travel to the UK. It is considered a mandatory requirement of your UK Visa application. 

      If you don’t pay the health surcharge 

      If you don’t pay the NHS fee alongside your Spouse Visa application, you may be refused a visa. UKVI will usually contact you if you have submitted your application without the fee and will grant you no more than 10 working days to rectify the mistake. 


      Accessing the NHS  

      You can start using the NHS in the UK once you have paid the healthcare surcharge and your visa application has been granted.  

      You will be able to register with your local GP and attend appointments right away. You may need to provide evidence of your visa status in order to do so.  

      However, you will still need to pay for some services including prescriptions, eye examinations and dental care.  


      How can Manchester Immigration Lawyers help?

      Navigating the Spouse Visa rules and ensuring you have submitted the correct paperwork before entering the UK can be an overwhelming task. The fees can quickly spiral out of control if you happen to make any mistakes in your application, too.

      That’s why our clients choose us to help them with their visa applications. Manchester immigration lawyers can assist visa applicants with all their visa queries. We even offer an untimed advice session with one of our experts. But for full peace of mind, we highly recommend booking a comprehensive application appointment. Here, your immigration lawyer will fill your application for you to the highest standard. We will even provide a Letter of Recommendation which highlights the merits of your character and strengthens your case.

      Get in touch with us to learn more about our bespoke visa services by speaking to our client care team today on 0161 532 7794.

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