Huge increase to UK visa fees and NHS Surcharge fee
On Thursday 13th July 2023 the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced increase of pay for public sector employees. At the same time, he explained that this increase in wages should not be funded from people taxes or from borrowing. Rishi Sunak announced that the money will come from the increase of UK visa application fees and NHS Surcharge fees. He informed that this way he is planning to raise over GBP one billion. Both the visa application fees and NHS Surcharge fees must be paid upfront for the entire duration of your visa.
The government fees for UK visas, British Citizenship and NHS Surcharge are already significant. Nevertheless, the UK government has decided that the fees will be even higher. Therefore, those who wish to come to the UK or to obtain British Citizenship will need to find the extra funds.
We have detailed articles about Skilled Worker visa fees and Spouse/family visa fees. When you read them you will see that the costs of UK visa applications are already high. The current fees are also published online by Home Office, so you need to monitor that page for the applicable fees at the time of your visa application.
What are the new higher visa application fees and NHS Surcharge fees
Based on the reports from Parliament discussions that took place on 13th July 2023, fees for work and visit visas will increase by 15% and fees for student visas, certificates of sponsorship, settlement, citizenship, and other entry clearance, leave to remain and priority visas by at least 20%. As an example, current 3-year skilled worker visa application fee is £625, so now it will increase by about £125 to £750.
The NHS Surcharge fee is currently £624 per year and is due to rise to £1,035 a year. NHS Surcharge for children, students and youth mobility visa applicants, who currently qualify under the lower NHS Surcharge fee of £470 per year is going to increase to £776 per year. As an example, currently the NHS Surcharge for spouse entry clearance visa is £1,872, so after the changes it will increase to £3,105.
Home Office is also equalising costs for students and those using a priority service, so that people pay the same whether they apply from within the UK or from outside the UK.
There are also some small positive changes, for example replacement of BRP cards when they reach 10-year expiry. This is, however, of small impact comparing to the big increase in the application fees and NHS Surcharge.
When the higher visa fees and NHS Surcharge fees start
It has not yet been announced when the new higher visa application fees and NHS Surcharge fee will start to apply. However, taking into account the need for the funds by the government, the new fees are likely to be introduced quite soon.
Therefore, if you are considering any UK immigration or nationality application, it is wise to try to submit it as soon as you can, before the new fees kick in.