Tue | Apr 25, 2017

Immigration Corner: Will I have to pay a health surcharge?

Published:Tuesday | September 8, 2015 | 9:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I read where you advised that when applying for certain visas, the applicant will have to pay a health surcharge. I am curious as to how much a person will have to pay.

- UA

 

Dear UA,

The amount that a person will have to pay with regards to the health surcharge will vary. For instance, as a student, he/she will have to pay £150 per year; that is £300 for a two-year visa. The cost for all other visa and immigration applications is £200 per year and, therefore, the cost for a five-year visa would be £1,000. It should be noted that any dependent would usually need to pay the same amount as the person applying. Hence, the exact amount that a person will pay depends on how much leave the applicant is granted.

It is advisable that applicants calculate how much he/she will have to pay before applying and that a person should use the 'Calculate your immigration health surcharge' section of the UK.gov website to calculate the surcharge. It should be noted that persons will pay half of the yearly amount if their application includes part of a year that is less than six months, and will pay for a whole year if their application includes part of a year that is more than six months. It should be further noted that a person's visa or immigration application will not be granted if he/she does not pay the health-care surcharge. It is also possible that an application will be delayed if the right amount is not paid.

Persons must pay the health-care surcharge for themselves and any dependents before submitting or sending their visa or immigration application or booking an appointment at a premium service centre. The applicant will be asked for the type of visa he/she is applying for; the passport or travel document number; an email address; start and end dates on a certificate of sponsorship; and course dates if he/she is applying as a student.

With respect to family members, persons will need the same information that he/she used to pay for any person applying for a visa or other immigration application and any person that is applying to join or remain and who is already in the United Kingdom. Please be aware that a person will not need to add this person's details if he/she is a UK or EEA citizen. The applicant will also need that person's leave-expiry date if he/she is joining someone in the United Kingdom or immigration health surcharge reference number if he/she has one.

When a person has made the health-care surcharge payment, he/she will need to finish his/her visa or immigration application. That person will be sent an e-mail with a surcharge reference number, which will also be shown on the screen after payment has been made. This number will need to be written on the cover of the visa application if applying online from outside the United Kingdom, on the cover sheet if applying online from inside the United Kingdom, or on the application form if applying by post. Also, a person would need this reference even if exempt from paying the health-care surcharge. Upon doing this, the applicant should finish his/her application form and pay the visa or immigration application fee.

With respect to whether a person is eligible for a refund, this will depend on where the application was made and how he/she can appeal. If a person has applied within the United Kingdom, the health-care surcharge will be automatically refunded when a person's application has been refused and he/she cannot appeal the decision; if the person's application has been refused and his/her administrative review has also been dismissed; also, if an application has been refused and that person can no longer ask for an administrative review; or a person withdraws his/her application.

If a person has applied from outside of the United Kingdom, the health-care surcharge will only be automatically refunded when the application has been refused and his/her administrative review has been dismissed; or if that person can no longer ask for an administrative review of the decision; or if the application has been refused. Please note that a person will have to repay the health-care surcharge if he/she successfully appeals the immigration decision. A person may also request a refund using the same service used to pay if he/she does not want to finish the visa or immigration application.

Persons may also automatically be eligible to get partial health-care surcharge refunds if a visa application is approved but not granted the maximum amount of leave for the visa; if a person's appeal or administrative review has been successful and granted less time than requested; if a person's application has been granted but his/her dependents are turned down.

A person will not get a refund for the health-care surcharge if the visa application is granted but the person does not travel to the United Kingdom; a person leaves before his/her permission to be in the United Kingdom ends; if the Home Office withdraws a person's permission to be in the United Kingdom; or if a person does not use any health services during his/her stay.

Persons should be aware that they will be contacted by UK Visas and Immigration if he/she had not paid the surcharge or did not pay enough as part of the visa or immigration application, and the visa or immigration application will be turned down if he/she does not pay the full amount within 10 working days if he/she is inside the United Kingdom or within seven working days if outside the United Kingdom.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (U.K.). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com