Our Services

UK Visas offer a comprehensive range of services for corporate clients and individuals.
Our immigration and visa application experts will take the time to understand your requirements before recommending the most appropriate service to meet your needs, all at a competitive price.
See all our Services

, , , ,

More detail on the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and UK Visa Application Fees Also Set to Increase

Jul 18, 2023

The Government has not yet announced when this substantial increase in the cost of applying for a UK visa will come into effect. However, the timing of the announcement suggests that it may be as soon as the Autumn.

On 13 July 2023, the UK Government announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will increase by 66%, from £624 to £1,035 per person per year for most main applicants. UK visa application fees are also set to increase by at least 15%.

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

The Immigration Health Surcharge was introduced in April 2015. Applicants who apply for a UK visa online pay the surcharge when they submit their online application form.

Payment of the IHS allows migrants (who are not exempt from paying it) to use the National Health Service (NHS). Holding private medical insurance does not negate the need to pay the IHS and migrants still need to pay for certain types of services, such as prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests and assisted conception. 

In April 2015, UK visa applicants were required to pay £200 per person per year to access the NHS. The IHS was doubled to £400 per person per year in December 2018, before being increased again in October 2020 to £624 per adult per year and £470 per child or student per year.

How much is the IHS increasing by this time?

The main Immigration Health Surcharge rate is suggested to increase from £624 to £1,035 per adult per year, and the discounted rate will increase from £470 to £776 per child or student per year. This equates to a 66% increase.

To put this into context, an adult considering applying for a 5-year visa will need to budget to pay a total of £5,175 over the course of their stay (up from £3,120 currently), before visa application fees.

Meanwhile, a family of two adults and two children will need to pay £18,110 over the course of 5 years (up from £10,940 currently). Moreover, visa application fees will need to be paid on top.

Why Is the Immigration Health Surcharge increasing?

The substantial increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge has been justified as a measure to help the Government raise funds for public sector wages increases.

Will the increase apply to Everyone?

The short answer is no, because not everyone is required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. Whether an applicant is required to pay depends on the immigration route for which they are applying.

For example, an applicant will not be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge if they are:

  • applying for a visitor visa.
  • applying for a visa for 6 months or less from outside the UK (i.e., a Fiancé Visa).
  • applying for indefinite leave to enter or remain in any route.
  • applying for a Health and Care Worker visa (or as a dependant of a Health and Care Worker). 
  • applying to the EU Settlement Scheme; or 
  • applying for British Citizenship.

There are also various other exceptions to the requirement to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

UK Visa application fees also set to increase

The substantial increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge is to be announced alongside an increase in UK visa application fees.

In the same House of Commons debate on public sector pay, John Glen, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said:

“… we will increase fees across a range of immigration and nationality routes, including for people coming here to live, work and study at a time of record high migration numbers. Specifically, that means increasing the cost of work visas and visit visas by 15%, and increasing the cost of study visas, certificates of sponsorship, settlement, citizenship, wider entry clearance, leave to remain and priority visas by at least 20%. We are 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. That will help to cover more of the cost of the migration and border system, allowing the Home Secretary to divert more funding to police forces to help fund the pay rise for the police.”

To put this into context, whereas an application for a Skilled Worker Visa for more than 3 years currently costs £1,235, this is set to increase to something in the region of £1,480.  The increased IHS fee will need to be paid on top.

Meanwhile, whereas an application for a UK Spouse Visa currently costs £1,538, this will increase to at least £1,845.  Again, the increased Immigration Health Surcharge fee will also need to be paid.

When will the increase apply?

There has been no official statement from the Government as to when the increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge and UK visa application fees will come into effect. However, the timing of the announcement suggests that it may be as soon as the Autumn.

If you are considering applying for a UK visa, you may therefore wish to submit your application sooner rather than later. Whenever you apply, professional advice from an immigration advisor will help to ensure that your application is successful.

  • We have a great relationship with the UK Visas team, who provide a prompt, professional service and expert immigration advice. They take the worry out of the visa process, working efficiently even when dealing with numerous requests at once.

    Sarah Bond
    Human Resources Advisor
  • I can honestly say everyone that I deal with at UK Visas are very efficient, super helpful and informative and extremely nice (especially Ana and Garima). Also patient with all my questions – nothing is ever too much trouble, and very prompt with their responses.

    Jackie Thompson
    HR Assistant
  • I’ve worked with UK Visas for almost 10 years now, and the support and advice never fails. From the sponsorship of new employees to training for the whole team, UK Visas are always extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend their services!

    Helena Wittenbach
    Head of Human Resources,
  • Having worked with UK Visas for more than eight years, I cannot recommend their services enough. We have worked with them on a wide variety of immigration topics, including complex licence matters (following acquisitions), day to day sponsorship processes, and reporting; and we have always received an amazing service.

    Members of the team are responsive and come back to our queries quickly, they are always polite, and go out of their way to be as helpful as possible. Thank you to all of the team for the wonderful ongoing support you provide!

    Amy Gadsby
    Director, Human Resources - EMEA
  • We have worked with UK Visas for a number of years and the service that is provided is excellent.

    No query is too big or too small. Always accommodating and helpful. Thank you team!

    Louise Goddard
    Executive Business Partner to CEO and the Board
  • We have worked with UK Visas for over 10 years, since we initially requested obtaining a Sponsor Licence. From day one, their guidance, communication, professionalism, efficiency and support has been and continues to be exemplary, with no request too much.

    Thank you and we look forward to continuing the relationship.

    Sara Searle
    Head of Human Resources and Payroll
  • I’ve worked with UK Visas for over 6 years and always find them helpful, friendly and experts in what they do. I know I can always call them up or send them an email and I will get a detailed response, fast. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone to help and support with your visa journeys.

    Gerry Weiss
    HR Business Partner
  • We have been using UK Visas for many years and service is always expeditious, even as number of requests have increased in recent years. The team advise on a wide range of queries and are always supportive, informative and clear in their advice.

    Jodie Plom
    HR Administrator CVS Vets
Arrange a consultation

Contact our OISC advisor team

For more than a decade we have been assisting businesses and individuals with immigration and visa enquiries, providing sound advice and successfully handling applications.
Please submit your details via our online enquiry form and our expert team will be in touch to progress your enquiry. Alternatively, you may contact us directly on the phone number below.

Our Clients

At UK Visas, we're passionate about delivering exceptional service to our clients. We're excited to share their success stories with you and showcase our commitment to excellence.

Sign up for visa news

[fluentform id="2"]

Regulated by the OISC

We are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). Our registration number: F200300183.
Please note we are NOT a UK Government body or agency and have no connection with the UK Government.

Get in touch

[email protected]
01403 801801

Contact us

Arrange a consultation with our team of expertise.

Enquire today