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30 August 2023

Our useful guide to the Immigration Health Surcharge

Here is your guide to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This is a fee immigrants pay to access the NHS.
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Doctors seeing a patient after they have paid the immigration health surcharge

A History of the Immigration Health Surcharge

The Immigration Health Surcharge was introduced in 2015 by the Cameron-Clegg coalition. It was introduced to stop medical tourism (when overseas visitors come to the UK to use free NHS services).

The Home Office stated the reasons for the introduction were to, ‘ensure that migrants make a proper financial contribution to the cost of their NHS care.’ In 2020 when the price was hiked again, they added, ‘This will help ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS’. 

The surcharge was raised to £175 in its first year, with 450,000 surcharge payments being made.

IHS Price History:

PriceYear% increase
£200 April 2015 (Introduction)N/A
£400 January 2019100%
£624 October 202056%
£1035 6 February 202466%


The IHS currently costs:

  • £776 for the Student Visa, Youth Mobility Scheme and for applicants under 18. 
  • £1035 for all other visa types. This price is set to increase to £1035 by the end of the year.
  • If you travel to the UK for less than 6 months you do not need to pay the IHS. 
  • If you are staying in the UK for more than 6 months but less than 12, you must pay for the whole year. 

You must pay the surcharge when submitting your online visa application or when booking your appointment.

You must pay for the total amount of years you plan on living in the UK for when applying.

For example, if you are moving to the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa for three years, you must pay £1872 (£624×3) upfront. This is to cover you for the entire time you are living in the UK.

Your visa application will be rejected if you do not pay the sufficient amount.

Applicants will either receive a full, partial or no refund based on their situation.

ReasonFull refundPartial refundNo refund
You paid twice  
Your application was rejected  
You have withdrawn your application  
Your visa is approved for less time than you initially applied for  
Your dependents are refused   
You chose not to come to the UK after your application was approved  
You decide to leave before your visa expires  
You are asked/made to leave before your visa expiry date  
You submit an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain  

All refunds are automatically issued, you do not need to do anything.

If you still require advice, you can call the helpline.

Monday to Friday 8am- 6pm (British Local Time)

0300 330 7693 – inside the UK
+44 191 283 8937 – outside the UK

Contact us

Get in touch for your FREE 10-minute consultation with one of our experts. We offer help and advice with all UK visa types.

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