Immigration Fee Assistance
There are two types of support currently in place, the Interest Free Loan and Visa Fee Reimbursement.
The University offers assistance for fees you incur in relation to your Global Talent, Skilled Worker or UK Residency applications and associated UK legal fees. In respect of Global Talent and Skilled Worker, this includes payments for immigration healthcare surcharge fees (NHS) and the UK National Information Centre (UK ENIC/ECCTIS) fees. Please note you will only need to use UK ENIC/ECCTIS if you are applying for the skilled worker visa and need to demonstrate your English language ability using an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK ENIC/ECCTIS as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.
Those applying for a Global Talent or Skilled Worker visa or extension can apply for a loan and then reimbursement of the fees.
You can apply for a pre-application loan to cover costs for both your own and your dependants’ applications. Loans can be taken to assist with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) application fees, immigration healthcare surcharges, UK legal fees (associated to immigration queries) and the cost of using the UK ENIC/ECCTIS service.
Please note, if you are applying for a Global Talent or Skilled Worker visa you will also be able to apply for reimbursement of fees post-application. Please be aware that there may be tax implications on the total that is reimbursed. It is also important to know that you can claim reimbursement for the cost of standard fees only, therefore if you have taken a loan to cover an enhanced UKVI Service or the UK ENIC/ECCTIS Fast Track service, these amounts will not be reimbursed. You cannot apply for a loan if you have already submitted an application through the University's Visa Fee Reimbursement procedure for the same application.
You can apply for the loan if you are already employed by the University of Edinburgh or have received a formal offer of employment from the University
you are applying for a Global Talent visa to continue employment at the University.
you have submitted the first stage of your application and received endorsement.
you are sponsored by the University under the Skilled Worker route of the UK’s immigration system.
you are applying for UK residency or citizenship.
Your Global Talent or Skilled Worker visa application could be for the initial visa, a switch from another immigration route e.g. Tier 4/Student/Graduate route, change of employment from one Skilled Worker role to another, or an application to extend your existing visa.
How much can I borrow?
You may apply for a loan to cover all or part of the fees you are due to pay for your visa or residency application up to £10,000.
You will be asked to specify how much you require to borrow in order to assist with UKVI visa fees, NHS surcharges, UK legal fees and the cost of using UK ENIC/ECCTIS (including for your dependants, if applicable). The total amount must be given in Pounds Sterling (GBP) according to the fees published by UKVI:
A calculator has been produced to assist you to work out how much you may need, depending on your own personal circumstances:
Please note you must only request the amount you actually need and the money should be used for the payment of your visa or UK residency application and associated costs as outlined above.
How will I receive the money?
If you have not yet started employment with the University a lump sum will be paid into your specified bank account. If you are already in employment, the loan will be processed by Payroll and paid as a lump sum with your monthly salary.
How is the loan repaid?
The sum borrowed will be recovered through monthly deductions from your salary over a period of between 12 and 48 months. Please note the University will check the remaining length of your contract. If you have requested to repay the loan over a period of time beyond your contract end date, the University will automatically reduce the repayment period to end in line with the expiry of your contract.
How do I apply?
Applications for a University loan are made by completing a form.
If you are a prospective member of staff the form is available through the University’s People and Money system. You will be allocated a task by your School/Department which will ask you to confirm you accept the terms and conditions of the loan. Once you have accepted these you will be provided with the loan form.
If you are a current member of staff, the form and the terms and conditions are available below for you to download.
Please refer to the Guidance Notes below which provide more information and will assist you in completing the form. Please note, if you are requesting a loan to pay for legal fees you will be required to submit a Letter of Engagement from the solicitor with your application form.
Reimbursement of Visa fees
When you are a current employee you can claim reimbursement for your Global Talent or Skilled Worker visa fees. This includes the cost of the UKVI standard service, but not any enhanced UKVI Service fees.
To be eligible, you must be one of the following:
- New employee
- current employee who has confirmation of continued employment e.g. has confirmation of a contract extension or already has or is moving to an open ended appointment.
- received a formal offer of employment from the University and are switching from another category
- submitted an application for a Global Talent or Skilled Worker visa.
This could be the initial visa, a switch from another immigration route e.g. Tier 4/Student/Graduate route, change of employment e.g. change of SOC code, or an application to extend to your existing visa.
What can I claim for?
You will be able to claim back Global Talent or Skilled Worker visa application fees (Biometric Residence Permit fees are included in the cost of obtaining a visa), immigration health care (NHS) surcharges and the cost of using The UK National Information Centre (UK ENIC/ECCTIS) service. We will reimburse your fees and those of your accompanying dependants, i.e. your spouse/partner and children aged under 18. You can claim reimbursement for the cost of standard UKVI fees and standard UK ENIC/ECCTIS fees only therefore if you have paid fees to cover any enhanced UKVI Service or the UK ENIC/ECCTIS Fast Track service, these amounts will not be reimbursed. Links to the information are provided on the guidance notes.
When can I make a claim?
The UK tax authority classifies the reimbursement of visa fees as earnings so you have to be on the University’s payroll for payment to be made.
If you are about to join the University, you should submit the claim form when you take up your post, your fees will be reimbursed with your salary. You should aim to submit your claim within three months of taking up your post with the University.
If you are already ‘on the payroll’, you can submit the claim form as soon as you can evidence payment of the fees to UKVI; once approved for payment, your fees will be reimbursed with your next monthly salary. You should aim to submit your claim within three months of having paid your visa fee.
How do I make a claim?
You make a claim by completing the Visa Fee Reimbursement Form, check to ensure you have completed all parts of Section one then submit the form by email to your local School/Department Administrator or Line Manager, attaching scanned copies of receipts/evidence of payment.
Further information on how to complete and submit the necessary documentation is available in the Guidance Notes
How and when will I receive payment?
You will receive payment with your monthly salary.
You will be reimbursed in pound sterling in accordance with UKVI fees published on their website.
Will I have to pay tax on the reimbursement?
As the reimbursement of visa fees is classed as earnings by the UK tax authority, the University must deduct tax and national insurance contributions (NICs), where appropriate.
You will be asked to self-declare whether you were present and resident in the UK in the two years prior to arriving in the UK on your Global Talent or Skilled Worker visa. The University will use this self-declaration to assess whether or not to deduct tax and NICs from the payment made.
Whilst the visa fee reimbursement form does explain the tax rules, the University is unable to provide individual tax advice. Therefore if you are in any doubt about your tax status, you should contact the UK tax authority, HMRC, on 0300 200 3300.