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Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and Refund

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee payable by visa applicants to cover the cost of using the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The IHS UK is necessary to ensure that those who come to the UK and require healthcare services adequately contribute to their use of the publicly funded NHS.

The IHS surcharge is paid by most overseas nationals from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) who are coming to the UK to work, study, run a business, or join family members for:

  • Over 6 months if applying for a visa outside the UK (but not applying to stay permanently), and
  • Any length of time if applying from within the UK.

Not everyone needs to pay the IHS, however, including:

A full list of all of those who do not need to pay the IHS can be found on the Home Office website1.

How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge in 2023?

The Immigration Health Surcharge fee in 2023 are as follows:

  • £624 per year
  • £470 per year – this is a discounted rate for children under 18, Youth Mobility Scheme visa applicants, and Student visa applicants.

For example, a person applying for a 5-year visa would pay £3,120.

Some important points to consider are as follows:

  • Dependants who are joining the main visa holder are also required to pay the IHS surcharge.
  • The length of visa you are granted will determine the IHS you pay – a refund will be given if there is a difference between the amount you paid and the correct amount based on the leave granted.
  • No IHS is payable for visa applications of 6 months or less made from outside the UK.
  • Half of the annual IHS cost is payable if applying for a visa within the UK of 6 months or less.
  • If your visa application is for more than 6 months but less than a year, you must pay the IHS for a full year.
  • If your visa application is for 18 months or less, you must pay the full annual IHS fee plus half the yearly cost.
  • If your visa application is for more than 18 months, but less than 2 years, you must pay the full annual IHS fee for 2 years.
  • If you do not pay the IHS, or you do not pay the correct amount, your visa may be refused or delayed.

Immigration Health Surcharge refunds / IHS reimbursement

You may be eligible for a full IHS refund or a partial refund you have paid in certain circumstances.

There are three scenarios under which you can expect to receive a full refund of your IHS fees:

  • You paid the IHS more than once in error
  • Your visa application is refused by the Home Office, or if
  • You decide to withdraw your application

A partial IHS refund is available in two circumstances:

  • Where the visa holder is granted less time on their visa by the Home Office than they applied for, or
  • If a member of your family (i.e., your spouse/partner or dependant child) has their UK visa refused.

The Home Office will not normally offer an IHS refund if:

  • your visa application is approved by the Home Office, but for some reason, you do not come to the UK as planned
  • you decide to leave the UK before the expiry of your visa
  • you are required to leave the UK by the Home Office before your visa expires
  • you are applying for ILR

If you are an EU national with an S1 healthcare certificate and paid the IHS fees, you should receive a full or partial refund. The guidance on IHS reimbursement for EU nationals also states that you may be eligible for a refund if you have paid the IHS if you:

  • are full-time students in UK higher education
  • have a visa that started on or after 1st January 2021
  • have a European Healthcare Insurance Card (EHIC) issued in an EU country
  • do not work

You and your dependant family members may also receive an IHS refund if you work in the field of health and care.

Refunds (whether full or in part) are made automatically to the card used to make the payment. Therefore, there is no need to apply for an IHS refund. Immigration Health Surcharge refunds are normally received within 6 weeks of a final decision being made on your visa application. UKVI advise that you should contact them directly if you have not received a refund of your IHS within 6 weeks2.


1 GOV.UK: Who needs to pay

2 GOV.UK: Contacting UKVI from outside UK

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