The Immigration Health Surcharge
From 6 April 2015, most non-EEA nationals applying for temporary leave to remain in the UK must pay an Immigration Health Surcharge to the Home Office, in addition to the immigration application fee. This is one of the provisions of the Immigration Act 2014.
Who is affected?
As a general rule, if you are a non-European Economic Area (EEA) national, you must pay the charge if you are applying to come to or stay in the UK for longer than six months.
Once you have paid the charge, you are entitled to free NHS treatment on the same basis as permanent residents, for the duration of your visa.
Your dependent family members must also pay the charge if they are coming to live in the UK.
Certain categories of applicant are exempt from paying the surcharge but still have access to free NHS treatment. These include Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) workers, certain vulnerable groups (in Northern Ireland, all asylum seekers have access to free healthcare), and people applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
If you are coming to the UK for less than 6 months, you do not have to pay the charge. Instead, you must pay for any NHS treatment you receive while you are in the UK.
If you are an EEA national, you do not have to pay the charge.
How much is the charge?
The health surcharge is currently:
- £150 per year for international students and their dependants
- £200 per year for other applicants
The actual amount you have to pay will depend on the duration of the visa you (and any dependants) are applying for. The charge must be paid as part of your application for a visa.
Refunds and exemptions
The Home Office has the discretionary power to refund or waive the surcharge.
Current policy is that full refunds are given if an application is refused or rejected as invalid. Partial refunds are given if a visa is granted for a shorter length of time than was paid for. Reductions or waivers of the charge are only expected to be made in other circumstances for exceptional cases.
(This information was last updated on 14 April 2016)
For more information and for an online calculator, visit: www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/overview.