Immigration Healthcare Surcharge

When making a visa application, students have to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS).

The IHS is intended to fund healthcare from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) which you will be able to access when living in the UK.  This means that you will not have to pay to visit a doctor’s surgery, healthcare centre or hospital.  You may need to pay for dental and optical treatment and any medicine prescribed to you by a doctor.


Who has to pay the healthcare surcharge?

Visa applications outside the UK: You will have to pay the surcharge if you are making an application for a visa longer than six months in duration.

Visa applications within the UK: You will have to pay the surcharge if you are making a visa application regardless of the amount of leave requested.

How much is the healthcare surcharge?

The surcharge is £400 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 £50.  If you have any dependants, they will also have to pay the charge.

For example, an MSc programme student would have to pay £450: £400 for their 1 year course plus £50 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.

Is anyone exempt from the charge?

You will not have to pay the healthcare surcharge if any of the following applies:

  • You are a national of a country inside the European Economic Area
  • You are applying for entry clearance for less than six months
  • You are applying for a Short Term Study or Visitor visa
  • You have been awarded a Chevening or Commonwealth scholarship *

Chevening and Commonwealth scholarship students will have their surcharge paid by the UK Government, but will still need to obtain an IHS number.

When do I pay the healthcare surcharge?

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.

You will also have to pay the surcharge and the visa application fee before you submit your application. You will not be able to submit your application until full payment is made.

Can I take out private health insurance 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.  The Home Office will not waive it for those who already hold or intend to purchase private health insurance.

Can I get a refund if I do not use the NHS during my studies?

No, you are not entitled to a refund, even if you do not access the service during your studies.

What happens if I pay the healthcare surcharge but then my visa application is refused?

You will receive a refund of your payment for the healthcare surcharge, but not for the visa application fee.

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