Update: UK IHS Fee increase January 2024

Jan 12, 2024

Individuals looking to enter or remain in the United Kingdom will soon need to budget more for healthcare fees, with a significant increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) originally set to take effect 16 January 2024. The IHS hike comes per the Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023, which is awaiting final parliamentary approval.

The IHS increase due on 16th January 2024 has been delayed. Given that MP’s did not debate the order until 10th January 2024, the earliest date the fee increase can be implemented is 31st January 2024

The Immigration Health Surcharge mandates payment from applicants seeking UK entry clearance or leave to remain. The fee covers most healthcare access through the National Health Service. Standard IHS fees are currently £624 per year. But the incoming changes will push fees up by 66% to £1,035 annually for most applicants.

Certain categories will see slightly lower increases. Students, Youth Mobility Scheme applicants, and those under age 18 will pay £776 annually—up from the present £470. However, all applicants should prepare for a notable impact on costs.

The Immigration Health Surcharge was first introduced in 2015 to offset pressures on the NHS from immigration growth. Income from the fees supplements direct NHS funding. With continued demand increases, the UK Home Office cites rising healthcare costs as rationale for the pending fee hikes.

Applicants typically pay the Immigration Health Surcharge upfront as a lump sum with their main visa application. Payment covers the full multi-year period of a visa. So, the higher costs will require greater upfront outlays for those looking to enter or remain in the UK long term.

For example, someone granted a 2-year work visa would currently pay £1,248 in Immigration Health Surcharge fees. Under the new structure, this will jump to £2,070—a 66% increase. The changes make budgeting the right amount paramount.

Some key points on navigating the Immigration Health Surcharge:

Fees must be paid online via debit or credit card. Pay close attention to requested duration when the system calculates your surcharge total.

The fee is mandatory for nearly all UK visa routes, from work to study to family visas. Short-term visitors are exempt.

  • Payment covers you and any dependents included on your UK application.
  • Keep the surcharge receipt to prove your NHS access entitlement.
  • You can request an IHS refund if your application is rejected or you decide to cancel it.

With the 2024 Immigration Health Surcharge hike looming, applicants who can submit sooner rather than later to avoid incurring these further charges. The UK Home Office typically provides several weeks of notice before implementing significant immigration fee changes.

Anyone needing UK entry clearance or leave to remain should act promptly if possible. Consulting an immigration lawyer can help ensure you understand the IHS requirement and complete visa formalities before the new elevated surcharge rates take force

Our expert immigration lawyers offer a free 10 minute consultation to assess your situation. Please get in touch now to start your visa application process before the IHS fee surcharge takes effect.

This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.
Sherry Fitzgerald

Sherry Fitzgerald

Partner, Head of Immigration

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