Immigration Health Surcharge
Whilst some health treatment (including accident and emergency treatment) in the UK is free for everyone under the National Health Service (NHS), some visitors can be charged for treatment. Please see the UKCISA website for further information about healthcare in the UK.
If you are studying for less than six months, you are strongly advised to take out personal medical insurance (unless you come from a country with a reciprocal health agreement).
Applications for visas that are more than six months long will also include an Immigration Health Surcharge. The cost is based on the length of the visa that you are applying for. This will allow you to use the NHS once you are in the UK, although you’ll still need to pay for certain types of services, eg prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests. Read more about NHS treatments and costs.
You should bring your biometric residence permit with you when you access healthcare in the UK.
Immigration Health Surcharge cost
The surcharge is calculated as £300 per year for each year of your visa. If your visa includes part of a year that is six months or less, you will be charged an additional £150 for this period. If your visa includes part of a year that is more than six months, you will have to pay £300 for this period.
The Immigration Health Surcharge will increase to £470 per year with effect from 1 October 2020.
This charge is in addition to the visa application fee and separate to the maintenance requirements of the visa application.
You can use the Immigration Health Surcharge tool on the Home Office website to check how much you will have to pay.
Immigration Health Surcharge
What happens if an application is refused?
The Home Office will have discretion to reduce, waive or refund all or part of a charge. If an application is refused, the total amount of the charge can be refunded. If a court or tribunal then holds that the refusal was unlawful, the entry clearance officer or caseworker can request that the charge be paid again within ten working days of that request. If the charge is not paid, leave will be refused.
What happens if I do not pay the charge?
This depends on the stage an application has reached. If the application has been made, and the charge has not been paid, but no decision has been reached, the entry clearance officer or caseworker should contact you to request payment. If payment is not made within seven working days (for entry clearance) or ten working days (for leave to remain) of the date of request, an entry clearance application will be refused. A leave to remain application will be treated as invalid.
If the application has been made, and the charge paid, but the charge is cancelled or reclaimed by the applicant before a decision is made, the application will be refused.
If leave has been granted but the charge is then cancelled or reclaimed by the applicant, entry clearance will be revoked or cancelled and leave to remain will be cancelled.
Who has to pay the immigration health charge?
Most people who apply for limited leave, ie not settled status.
Applications outside the UK for entry clearance (a visa) for leave for more than six months are subject to the immigration health charge. This includes those applying under the extended student visitor route to study English language for over six months. It does not include academic visitors (see below).
Applications for leave to remain (extensions) are subject to the charge, even if a period of under six months' leave is applied for, but this means that entitlement to free NHS treatment will continue.
Who is exempt from paying the charge?
Entry clearance (visa) applications for leave of six months or less are not subject to the charge.
Anyone who applies for entry clearance under the visitor immigration rules is exempt. This does not include the extended student visitor route as it is not in the rules, but it does include academic visitors even if they apply to come for longer than six months so they should ensure that they have health insurance.