What is Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) in the UK?

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) in the UK

Often international students ask us questions like “What is Immigration Health Surcharge?”, “When do I need to pay the IHS fees?” or “How much would I pay for IHS fees?”. Read this article to learn everything you need to know about IHS fees in the UK.


If you are coming to the UK as a student or a skilled worker, you might need to pay a health surcharge (called Immigration Health Surcharge or IHS) as part of your immigration application. It depends on the immigration status you’re applying whether you need to pay.

How much I have to pay?

Here is how much you have to pay if you are coming to the UK as a student:

  • £470 per year for a student or Youth Mobility Scheme visa, for example, £940 for a 2-year visa
  • £470 per year for visa and immigration applicants who are under the age of 18 at the time of application
  • £624 per year for all other visa and immigration applications, for example, £3,120 for a 5-year visa

Dependants aged 18 or over usually need to pay the same amount as you.

When do I need to pay IHS?

If you’re making your immigration application online, you pay the surcharge as part of your application or when you book an appointment. If you’re applying by post, you pay the surcharge online before you send your application. You’ll need to include the IHS reference number on your application form.

What happens if I don’t pay IHS?

You’ll get an email from UK Visas and Immigration if you do not pay the surcharge (or do not pay enough) as part of your visa or immigration application.

Once you get the email, you must pay the surcharge within:

  • 10 working days if you’re inside the UK
  • 7 working days if you’re outside the UK

When can I start using the NHS?

You can start using the National Health Service (NHS) when both:

  • you’ve paid the healthcare surcharge (or are exempt from paying it)
  • your visa or immigration application is granted

You’ll still need to pay for certain types of services, such as prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests and assisted conception.

When you access healthcare in the UK, you may need to:

  • provide your biometric residence permit, if you have one
  • prove your status online using a share code, if you have a digital immigration status

If you are planning to study at a top university in the UK, contact us today for a stress-free university admission process handled by our experienced student consultants

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