Back in July 2023, the government announced its plans to massively increase visa fees. In this announcement, the government said it would also increase the Immigration Health Surcharge from £624 to £1,035 per person. The fee must be paid for every year in the UK, and for all dependants. It is a fee that an applicant must pay on top of the visa fees. Read our legal update blog outlining the changes here.
This draft order was laid in Parliament outlining the change. The increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge was due to happen on the 16 January 2024. However, there has been a delay, and this order was voted in Parliament last night – on the 15 January 2024. It was passed 290 votes to 53. From this point onwards, there are 21 days until the increased fee will be in force. This means it will be brought in in early February.
To read more about the process of how this change will be enacted, you can read this blog on Free Movement.
What does this mean for my visa renewal application?
If you are due to make a visa renewal application soon, you might be able to make an early application to take advantage of the current fee rate before it increases.
To avoid paying the higher fees, you must lodge the online application form before the Immigration Health Surcharge has been increased.
However, there can be complications with making an early application – particularly if it means you will have to make one more application later down the line. For an in depth article on the complications of making an earlier application, read this article by Free Movement.
Applying for a fee waiver
With the recent increases to immigration visa fees, and this huge increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge, many more people will be eligible for fee waivers than before.
It is important that more people are aware of the option of applying for a fee waiver, and have information about how to make an application.
You can apply for a fee waiver for just the Immigration Health Surcharge if you are able to pay the fee for making your immigration/human rights application but not the Immigration Health Surcharge.
If you cannot afford to pay the application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge, you can apply for a fee waiver for both. The process requires you to demonstrate why you cannot afford the fee.
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