Immigration Health Surcharge
What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?
If you are going to live in the UK for more than 6 months, you need to pay a health surcharge as a part of your immigration. This health surcharge is known as the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
The immigration health surcharge is imposed on non-EEA citizens in the UK temporarily for more than 6 months. EEA citizens from Europe are unaffected. There are 11 different exemptions from the surcharge include anyone visiting the UK for under six months, intra-company transfers, children under 18 years in care, and nationals of Australia and New Zealand.
Benefits of the Immigration Health Surcharge
Once you have paid immigration health surcharge and you are granted a visa to live in the UK, you will be entitled to use NHS (National Health Service) in the UK in the case of emergency or other medical treatment situations. You don’t need to pay for hospital treatment or other medical treatments. However, you still have to pay for a few health services, such as prescriptions, dental treatments, and eye tests.
How Much is the Immigration Health Surcharge?
If you are a student, then you have to pay £150 per year. For all other visa applicants, you need to pay £200 per year.
If you have any dependents then they will usually need to pay the same amount as you. The exact amount that you have to pay as IHS depends on how much leave you are granted against your visa or immigration application.
If your application includes part of a year which is less than 6 months then you will need to pay half of the yearly amount of IHS. If your application includes part of the year which is more than 6 months then you will have to pay for a whole year.
If you don’t pay the full IHS amount (within 10 working days if you are inside the UK and within 7 working days if you are outside the UK), then your visa application will be considered invalid. Also, your application will be delayed if you don’t pay the right amount. However, if you paid for a period which is more than you were granted leave for then you will automatically get a partial refund.
Once payment has been made, you can use NHS hospitals from the date your visa is granted until the date it expires. If your visa is curtailed or ended prior to the planned date by the Home Office, you will have to pay charges for any further NHS treatment from that date onwards - even if you have paid IHS.
Immigration Health Surcharge Exemptions
You are not required to pay for IHS if you are applying for short term visas like - for example, if you're applying from the outside UK for a visitor visa or any other visa which lasts for 6 months or less. In this case, you will have to pay for any healthcare you receive through NHS at the time you use it in the UK.
How to Apply for the Immigration Health Surcharge
You can apply for a visa online, through the premium service centre or by post.
If you apply for a visa online or through the premium service centre, you will make the IHS payment as part of your application or at the time when you book the appointment.
If you are applying for a visa by post then, before sending your application, you will pay IHS online. You will need to include IHS reference number on your visa application form.
Now you can avail NHS hospital treatment from the date your visa is granted till the date it expires. However for any reason, if your visa is curtailed or is ended prior to the planned date by the Home office then you will have to pay charges for any further NHS treatment from that date onwards even if you had paid IHS. If you apply for an extension of your visa, then you will need to pay a further surcharge, although if you are granted indefinite leave to remain you will not have to pay any additional surcharge.