In this article, we delve into the topic of NHS fee associated with the spouse visa application process. Navigating the intricacies of immigration law and healthcare charges can be daunting, but with the right information, you can better understand the financial implications and ensure a smoother visa application experience.
Understanding IHS Fees for Spouse Visa
The Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS), more commonly referred to as the NHS fee was introduced by the UK government in April 2015 urging migrants to make a fair contribution towards the costs of NHS. The fee covers a wide range of medical services, including GP appointments, A&E services, hospital treatments, and any other necessary medical treatments during your stay in the UK.
The IHS is applicable to all overseas nationals residing in the UK without permanent status. When planning to stay in the UK for a period exceeding 6 months, it is mandatory to make an upfront payment of this fee along with your visa application.
If you are applying to join your spouse in the UK or are extending your leave as a spouse, it is typically necessary to pay the IHS fee. However, applicants seeking a visitor visa or indefinite leave to remain in the UK are not required to pay the surcharge. It is important to note that having private medical insurance does not exempt you from the requirement to pay the IHS fee.
The current IHS fees for a Spouse Visa
When applying for a spouse visa in the United Kingdom, the IHS fee is an important consideration due to its significant cost. This fee is charged to individuals who are applying to live in the UK with their British or settled spouse, or those who are extending their leave under the partner route.
The exact amount of the healthcare surcharge you must pay will depend on your circumstances. The following costs apply:
- £470 per year for dependants under the age of 18 at the time of application.
- £624 per year for partners (including married, unmarried and civil partners), amounting to £1,560 for a 2.5-year Spouse Visa.
If you are applying from outside the UK for a stay of 6 months such as under the fiance or proposed civil partner routes, there is no surcharge requirement.
Dependents aged 18 or over are generally required to pay the same amount as the main applicant.
IHS payment process
The spouse visa IHS fee is paid as part of the application process. It is usually submitted online, along with the necessary documentation and application forms. The payment can be made using a debit or credit card, and it is essential to retain proof of payment for future reference.
Alternatively, if you receive an invitation for an appointment, you must make the payment during the appointment. It is mandatory to pay the IHS fee before travelling to the UK or to make a valid application.
If you fail to pay the required surcharge or if the payment falls short, UK Visas and Immigration will send you an email notification concerning the outstanding amount. Upon receiving the email, it is essential to make the surcharge payment within the specified time frame, usually this will be 7-10 working days.
Failure to submit the full payment within the designated timeframe will result in the refusal of your visa or immigration application.
Frequently asked questions
You’ll get a full refund if you paid twice, your visa application is refused or you withdraw your visa application.
You can start using the NHS when both you’ve paid the IHS fee for your spouse visa (or are exempt from paying it) and your visa or immigration application is granted.
You will need to provide your biometric residence permit (BRP Card) if you have one or prove your status online using a share code, if you have a digital immigration status.