Image via Shutterstock.com
Image via Shutterstock.com
The National Health Surcharge came into effect on 6 April 2015 and applies to all non-EEA nationals applying for UK Visas for periods longer than six months. It was introduced by the UK Government as a way to ensure that non-EEA nationals make an appropriate financial contribution to the cost of making use of the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain.
As there are still many grey areas for UK Visa Applicants on the issue, BIC has compiled a short guide on the issue.
Who is eligible to pay the Surcharge?
Only non-EEA nationals (including South Africans) who are applying for UK visas for periods more than six months will be subject to the health surcharge.
Applicants for UK Visitor Visas are thus exempted from the surcharge.
Are there any exemptions?
Citizens from Australia and New Zealand were exempted, as their governments had reciprocal healthcare agreements with the UK Government, which exempted them from having to pay this surcharge. This is however now changing with the inclusion of these citizens from 6 April 2016.
However, citizens of Australia and New Zealand who visit the UK for less than six months will be exempted from having to pay for NHS treatment if the treatment cannot wait until they return home.
Certain categories of UK Visa applications are exempted from having to pay the UK Immigration Health Surcharge. This includes; Intra-company transfers under the Tier 2 immigration route, dependents of a member of Her Majesty’s Forces and migrants who apply under the Home Office concession known as the ‘destitute domestic violence concession’.
The health surcharge is also not payable by applicants applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or British citizenship.
Visitors to the UK
The surcharge does not apply to non-EEA nationals coming to the UK for six months or less, or those visiting the UK with a visitor visa. These persons will however still be fully liable for the cost of any National Health Service (NHS) treatment they receive in the UK, during their stay in the UK.
What are the exact costs?
The UK Immigration Health Surcharge is £200 per year. Dependents applying for visas are also subject to the surcharge.
When applying for your visa, you will have to pay to cover the whole period of stay for each application. As an example, if you are applying for a UK Ancestry Visa for five years, you will have to pay £1,000 (£200 x 5 years).
Tier 4 Students pay a lower rate of £150 per year for students.
Persons, aged between 18 and 30, applying to come to the UK on the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, also benefit from a discounted rate of £150 per person per year. This is the same rate payable by Tier 4 Students.
What are the practical implications?
All UK visa applications have to be accompanied by the surcharge. It is payable for the total period of the UK Visa being applied for.
The amount is collected as part of the immigration application and the payment is mandatory.
Unsuccessful UK Visa Applications
Should your UK visa application be unsuccessful, you will receive a refund.
For more information in your unique circumstances, please contact your BIC consultant today.