In the framework of the United Kingdom immigration application, it might be necessary for individuals to fulfil the requirement of remitting the ‘immigration health surcharge’ (IHS). If the payment for the IHS is not made in a timely manner, it will result in the rejection and non-processing of your application.

This guide aims to address commonly asked inquiries posed by visa applicants, specifically pertaining to the immigration health surcharge. The discussion encompasses the definition of the surcharge, healthcare visa UK, the individuals obligated to make the payment, and the associated cost.

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

The immigration health surcharge refers to the fee that individuals are required to pay when travelling to the United Kingdom. This payment grants them comprehensive access to national health services. 

This implies that upon arrival in the United Kingdom, individuals are able to avail themselves of the country’s healthcare services, including the ability to register with a general practitioner and obtain prescribed medications. There is no necessity to be concerned about supplementary medical insurance.

Purpose of IHS

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) refers to the healthcare fee imposed on non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrants over the course of their immigration application procedure in the United Kingdom. The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) provides immigrants with the opportunity to avail themselves of complimentary healthcare services provided by the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom.

The importance of understanding IHS for immigrants

The payment of the IHS grants individuals the right to avail themselves of all healthcare services provided by the NHS. The payment in question is obligatory and cannot be declined based on the anticipation of not requiring medical services during one’s absence. The payment of the immigration health surcharge remains obligatory, irrespective of the possession of private health insurance.

Who is required to pay the IHS?

The Immigration Health Surcharge is a mandatory payment required from the majority of individuals applying for a UK visa, along with their dependents, provided that the visa being sought is intended for a duration exceeding six months. Applicants and their dependents who hold UK health and care visas are exempted from the requirements of the IHS.

How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

The UK Immigration Health Surcharge fee for 2023 is £624 per applicant for each year of leave granted, with a £470 reduction for student visa holders, Youth Mobility Scheme participants, and children under 18. These prices will last until 2025, when fees will rise.

Adult dependents usually have the same financial commitment as the original visa applicant. The IHS payout depends on authorised leave. Application fees are half the annual amount for partial years of less than six months.

The payment requirement covers the entire year if an application lasts more than six months.

Your visa or immigration application will be denied if you fail to pay the healthcare surcharge. If the right amount is not paid, your application may be delayed.

What are the fees for international students?

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for international students varies by academic programme length.

As of March 2023, the NHS charges students £470 per year for each academic year. For instance, a three-year undergraduate student must pay £1,645 (£470 x 3 + £235) for the immigration health surcharge. A £235 allowance is given for four months after the course.

Students must pay the IHS only if their course lasts more than six months. However, if the study lasts less than 18 months, students must pay £705, which is £470+ £235.

If the course lasts 12 months, you must pay £705 for 18 months. The visa starts one month before the course starts and must last four months afterward.

Time duration Total amount 
1 year £470 + £235 = £705
18 months£470 x 2 = £940
2 years£470 x 2 + £235 = £1175
3 years£470 x 3 + £235 = £1645
4 years£470 x 4 + £235 = £2115

How did it increase? 

The UK’s Immigration Health Surcharge fee will rise to £1,035 for primary applicants and £776 for students and children.

If approved by both houses within that time frame, the increases will go into effect on January 16, 2024.

For instance, the increased Immigration Health Surcharge applies to three- and five-year visas.

Let’s check:

3-year visa5-year visa5 year visa
For 1 adult £3,105£5,175
For 1 child £2,328£3,880
2 adults £6,210£10,350
2 Adults & 1 child£8,538£14,230
2 Adults & 2 children£10,866£18,110

How do we reduce the impact of this?

In order to circumvent the payment of escalated fees, it is recommended that applicants endeavour to conclude and submit their applications prior to the implementation of the revised price structure in January. In certain instances, it may be possible to submit the application prior to the anticipated timeline, thereby enabling the payment of the prevailing IHS fees.

It is imperative to prioritise seeking legal counsel in order to mitigate any potential negative consequences for one’s immigration status or record.

IHS payment process and options

Use the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) payment service to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and get an IHS reference number for your visa application.

The IHS fee must be paid upon visa application or appointment booking. Online payment processing using a credit or debit card is easy. Visa applications automatically receive the IHS Reference Number after payment.

Processing time 

According to GOV.UK immigration health surcharge processing time, it takes fewer than 30 minutes to make the payment and re-access the online immigration application.

How do I pay the healthcare surcharge?

Paying for your visa, immigration application, or premium service facility appointment is essential.

Five steps are required to pay the healthcare fee and apply for a visa or immigration.

  1. Register for access to and use of the service.
  2. Answer the following questions to determine if you must pay the healthcare surcharge or qualify for an exemption.
  3. Without an exemption, you must pay online. 
  4. You will receive an immigration health surcharge reference number via email. This information will also appear on the screen after payment. This must be on the visa application cover if submitted online from outside the UK. 
  5. Fill out the application and pay the visa or immigration fee.

When applying from abroad, check the embassy or visa application center’s Immigration Health Surcharge payment policies.

What information do you need for payment?

The following items will be requested from you:

  • Your name and nationality
  • The individual is required to specify the category of visa for which they are seeking an application, as well as provide the number associated with their passport or travel document.
  • The individual’s date of birth and email address are requested.
  • The visa application centre is the designated facility for individuals who are applying for a visa from a foreign country.
  • Could you please provide me with the dates for your course? If one is submitting an application as a student

You must also gather the same information for each dependent applying for a visa or immigration. You must also get the above details for anyone you want to accompany or join in the UK, save UK or EEA nationals.

To accompany someone in the UK, know their leave expiration date. You must obtain the companion’s immigration health surcharge reference number.

Required documents for HIS payment

In order to initiate the application process for an immigration health surcharge from a location outside of the United Kingdom, it is imperative to possess the subsequent documentation.

In order to proceed with the registration process, it is necessary to provide-

  • An email address
  • A valid passport
  • A credit/debit card

Benefits and coverage of HIS

You must use the service to get an immigration health surcharge reference number. If the criteria are met, payment is not required.

If you are under 18 and under local authority care, or a civilian employee affiliated with NATO or the Australian Department of Defence in the UK (or a dependent), the IHS online system will confirm your exemption status and waive the fee. Their application requires a healthcare surcharge reference number, which the system generates.

When do you don’t have to get an IHS reference number?

  • The applicant seeks a health and care visa.
  • The individual is applying for a visiting visa as a dependent of a health and care worker. 
  • Individuals must pay for NHS treatment at the time of use.
  • The applicant requests indefinite leave to remain.
  • Travelling diplomats and military personnel are immune from immigration control.
  • You are dependent on a UK military member. You are also the dependent of an immigrant-exempt military member from another country.
  • EU citizens or family members exercising treaty rights or applying under EEA Regulations or EU settlement plan 
  • Asylum seekers, humanitarian protection seekers, or children of such individuals
  • A domestic worker who has been identified as a victim of slavery or human trafficking may request discretionary leave to remain in the UK.
  • The Home Office offers a domestic violence concession to qualifying individuals or their dependents.

If an individual is compelled to depart from the United Kingdom, such action would contravene their entitlements as stipulated in Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, unless they are considered dependents of said individual.

When will you get a refund from HIS?

A complete IHS refund fee can be obtained by an applicant in the following circumstances.

  1. The incidence of dual payments
  2. The visa application has been denied.
  3. The applicant has voluntarily retracted their visa application prior to the issuance of a final determination.

If their visa is approved for less time than requested or if any dependents are denied entry, applicants may be eligible for a partial refund.

If a student does not go to the UK after visa clearance or leaves before their visa expires, they cannot be refunded.

If a person qualifies for a full or partial refund, the refund will be immediately provided within six weeks using the same payment method.


The IHS acts as a link between immigration policies and public health, guaranteeing that newcomers to the UK can benefit from and contribute to the NHS’s high standard of medical treatment. We’ve got the whole story on this, from its early beginnings to its modern-day pricing.

A major step forward is making it through the application procedure. Whether you’re applying for a visa or making an IHS payment, it’s important that everything goes as smoothly as possible so that you can focus on enjoying your trip. In addition, we have provided direction to help those of you who are requesting extensions or who are dealing with unusual circumstances.

In short, knowing more about the IHS gives you more control over your life and career options in the UK. In this large and inviting country, education is your best friend and the key to a successful and happy future.

You have entered a new period of your life. Accept it with self-assurance and enthusiasm.


Is the UK health surcharge refundable?

If your visa is denied or you cancel your application before a decision is issued, the IHS cost is refundable in full. Your original payment method (bank account, credit card, etc.) will be credited with the refund.

What services are covered by the IHS?

If you pay the IHS, you can get health care through the UK’s National Health Service. You may get medical attention in an emergency without worrying about costs, and you won’t have to pay anything more if you end up in the hospital. Prescriptions, dental work, and vision exams are not included and will cost extra.

How much is the UK Immigration Health Surcharge?

Every year of stay, the Immigration Health Surcharge costs £624.00. Student visa holders, Youth Mobility Scheme members, and kids under 18 receive a £470 discount. From January 2024, the annual fee will rise to £1035 from £776.

What IELTS score is required for a health and care visa in the UK in 2024?

Health and Care Worker visas require a CEFR level B1 on the scale. Equals 4.0 IELTS overall. This comprises 4.0 overall and in all four talents.

What are the benefits of the immigration health surcharge in the UK?

Through the IHS, foreign nationals can gain access to the UK’s publicly funded healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS). A non-European Economic Area (EEA) national who wishes to enter the United Kingdom will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Who pays a UK health surcharge?

Visa applicants (both European and non-European) and their dependents must pay the NHS surcharge. Non-immigrant visa types (such as business visitors, general visitors, and academic visitors) are exempt from paying the NHS surcharge, regardless of the length of their stay in the country.