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, for example 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 £776 per year for each year of your student visa and those of your dependents. If your visa includes part of a year that is six months or less, you will be charged an additional £388 for this period. If your visa includes part of a year that is more than six months, you will have to pay £776 for this period.

A higher rate of £1,035 applies to certain other categories of visa. 

This charge is in addition to the visa application fee and separate from 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

How do I pay the charge?

Most online visa applications, including the Student route, require the applicant to pay the IHS in order to complete and submit the form. Non-payment is not an option, and applications are not deemed valid unless the IHS has been paid.

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, the application will be refused.

You can also get a refund if you pay twice, overpay due to overlapping periods of leave, or withdraw your visa application.

Immigration Health Surcharge refunds (

If you have trouble obtaining a refund for which you believe you are eligible, please contact the Immigration Advice Service.

Who has to pay the immigration health surcharge?

Most people who apply for limited leave, i.e. not settled status, must pay the IHS.

Applications outside the UK for entry clearance (a visa) for leave of more than six months are subject to the immigration health surcharge. This includes those applying under the short term study route to study English language for between six and 11 months. It does not include academic visitors (see below).

Applications for further permission (in-country extensions) are subject to the charge, even if a period of under six months' leave is applied for. 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 includes academic visitors even if they apply to come for longer than six months so they should ensure that they have health insurance.