NHS surcharge

For most of the UK visa types the Home Office requires the applicants to pay the mandatory immigration health NHS Surcharge (IHS) for use of the UK National Health Services (NHS). The NHS Surcharge is a significant financial burden in addition to the visa application fee, and has to be paid upfront for the entire requested duration of the visa. The IHS payment has to be made online before your application can be submitted.

The purpose of the IHS is to “ensure that migrants make a proper financial contribution to the cost of their NHS care.”There is no scope to opt-out of paying the IHS by making alternative healthcare arrangements, such as through insurance cover. 

The upside is that once you pay the IHS and you arrive in the UK with your visa, you can use the NHS public health services in the UK. In order to use the NHS services, you may be asked to present your immigration biometric residence permit or use a digital share code if you are issued with an electronic visa.

Important for UK visa applicants: On 13th July 2023 UK Prime Minister announced significant increase to UK visa application fees and NHS Surcharge fees. It is not yet known when the new fees will come into effect but we expect it to be soon. More about this and the impact on the visa applicants is Explained here.

Please note that our article below reflects the current fees, not the increased fees. This is because the new fees do not yet apply. However, if you plan to make a UK visa application you should do it as soon as you can to avoid paying the higher fees. We strongly recommend reading our blog article about upcoming Increase of UK visa fees and NHS Surcharge.

Who is exempt from NHS Surcharge

You are exempt from the NHS Surcharge if you are applying for a visa for up to 6 months only OR if you are applying for the Health and Care visa irrespective of its duration.

NHS surcharge

How much you have to pay for NHS Surcharge

UK government website provides a list of visa types that require NHS surcharge payment. The IHS fees can add substantially to the cost of your visa application. The amount of the current NHS surcharge fees can be found on this website.

Adult visa applicants are normally required to pay £624 per each year of visa. For example, it will cost you £1872 for a 3-year visa. The fees are slightly lower for adults applying for a Student or Youth Mobility visas, as those applicants are required to pay £470 per each year of visa. For example, £940 for a 2-year Youth Mobility Visa.

For applicants who are under 18 years of age at the time of application the NHS Surcharge is £470 per year of visa.

NHS Surcharge must also be paid for each dependant applicant (i.e. spouse and each child) at the time their application is submitted online. The same rates apply for the dependants, so £624 per year of visa for adult dependants and £470 for dependants who are under 18.

Home Ofiice provides an online calculator to find out how much to pay.

In certain limited circumstances you may be able to claim refund of the NHS Surcharge you paid.