Ask the experts at BIC today
Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants (BIC) has been inundated by queries from South Africans on how the introduction of the UK Health Surcharge will impact on their situation. BIC has compiled some answers to the most frequently asked questions.
What is the UK Health Surcharge all about and why was it introduced?
The UK Government has made quite a sudden announcement in March 2015, that a health surcharge will be introduced for all non-EA nationals applying for UK visas for a period longer than six months. The surcharge came into effect on 6 April 2015.
It was done in order for non-EA nationals to make an appropriate financial contribution to the cost of making use of the National Health Service (NHS). Before introduction of the surcharge, non-EA nationals coming to the UK had access to the UK as if they were permanent residents.
I will be visiting the UK soon. Will I be subject to the surcharge?
Only non-EA nationals (including South Africans) who are applying for UK visas for periods in excess of six months will be subject to the health surcharge. Visitors are exempted from the surcharge.
The UK Government is reportedly planning to introduce measures that will be introduced in the near future, that will force visitors to the UK, who make use of the services of the NHS, to pay the costs at a rate of 150%. This will then supposedly cover for the administrative costs of a visitor making use of the services of the NHS.
Are there any exemptions? I heard from an Ozzie friend that Australians are exempted from this surcharge?
Yes, nationals from Australia and New Zealand are indeed exempted from this surcharge. Their governments have reciprocal healthcare agreement with the UK Government, which exempt them from having to pay this surcharge.
Other exemptions include: intra-company transfers under the Tier 2 immigration route, dependents of a member of Her Majesty’s Forces and migrants who applies under the Home Office concession known as the ‘destitute domestic violence concession’.
How much can I expect to pay for the surcharge?
The cost is £150 per year for students. All other applicants will pay £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. For example, if you are applying for a UK Ancestry Visa for five years, you will have to pay £1,000 (£200 x 5 years).
I will be applying for my Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK soon, will I have to pay this surcharge?
Applicants applying for ILR or British citizenship will not need to pay the surcharge.
I need to renew my visa soon will I be subject to the surcharge?
The surcharge is unfortunately payable for extensions of UK visas.
I am already in the UK on a five-year visa. Will I be liable for the surcharge retrospectively?
Fortunately, persons who have applied for their visas before the introduction of the fee on 6 April 2015, will not be subject to this surcharge, and there will be no backdated liability.
I will be applying for my UK visa soon. What are the practical implications with regards to the visa application?
Since 6 April 2015, 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 will be collected as part of the immigration application and the payment is mandatory.
What if my visa application is unsuccessful?
If your UK visa application is unsuccessful, you will receive a refund.
For more information on your unique circumstances, please contact your BIC consultant today.
www.bic-immigration.com or email@example.com
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