As is the normal yearly routine, Home Office/British Embassy visa application fees will be increasing as from 6 April 2015. Most fees will be increasing, some by 8 per cent and some by more. A few fees will be left unchanged and a few fees will actually be reduced.
But in addition to this the Government will – also from 6 April 2015 – be introducing an entirely new extra fee for certain categories of non-EEA visa applicant, which will be called the Health Surcharge. This fee, which will be passed on to the NHS, is designed to cover the cost of NHS services used by temporary migrants.
This fee, which will have to be paid upfront by the visa applicant, is calculated at a rate of £200 per year, except for students, in which case it will be £150 per year. So, for example, if an applicant is applying for a three-year visa they will have to pay a health surcharge of £600 or, if they are a student, £450. It will be payable by visa applicants applying outside the UK or inside the UK.
But there are various exemptions to the health surcharge including, most importantly:
- It will only be payable by non-EEA applicants
- It will not have to paid by visitors
- It will not have to be paid by Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa applicants
- It will not have to paid by applicants applying for six months leave or less
- Nationals of Australia and New Zealand will not have to pay it
- Asylum/humanitarian protection applicants will not have to pay it
If a visa applicant pays the health surcharge but their visa application is unsuccessful then the health surcharge should be automatically refunded to them.