The immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS) is a fee that all applicants and their family members who are coming to the UK for 6 months or longer must pay to access the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The IHS is designed to help cover the cost of healthcare for immigrants, who are not eligible to pay taxes and National Insurance contributions in the same way as UK citizens.

Who has to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)?

Most immigrants, and their family members, who are coming to the UK for more than six months must pay the IHS. This includes people who are coming to the UK to study, work, or live with family members.

There are some exemptions to the IHS, such as for refugees and asylum seekers. You can find a full list of exemptions on the UK government website.

How much is the IHS?

The surcharge is £470 per year based on the amount of leave granted on your visa.  If the leave granted includes part of a year that is 6 months or less, the amount payable for that part of a year will be £275.  If you have any dependants, they will also have to pay the charge.

For example, an MSc programme student would have to pay £705: £470 for their 1-year course plus £275 for the additional 4 months of leave granted after the course ends.

You can use the tool on the UK government webpage to calculate exactly how much you will need to pay.

How to pay the IHS?

You can pay the IHS online when you apply for your visa. You can also pay by post or by phone. You will be prompted to pay the surcharge when you complete your online visa application. Please do not try to pay your health surcharge separately from your application, as if you do you will have to pay the fee twice, and although one payment will be refunded it can take a while for the refund to be processed.

What happens if I don’t pay the IHS?

If you don’t pay the IHS, you will not be able to get a visa to come to the UK.

Why is the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge important?

The IHS is important because it helps to cover the cost of healthcare for immigrants, who are not eligible to pay taxes and National Insurance contributions in the same way as UK citizens. The IHS also helps to ensure that the NHS is available to everyone who needs it.

People also asked..

Can I get a refund if I don’t use the NHS during my time in the UK?

No, you are not entitled to a refund, even if you do not access the service during your time in the UK

Can I take out private healthcare instead of the healthcare surcharge?

You can take out private health insurance in addition to the healthcare surcharge.  However, you will still need to pay the surcharge as part of your visa application.  All applicants coming to the UK for over 6 months are required to pay the IHS, even if they intend to use private healthcare.

If I pay the IHS but my visa gets denied will I be refunded the IHS?

Yes, if your visa application is denied you will recieve a full refund for the IHS. The visa application however will not be refunded.

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