Immigration Fee Assistance
There are two types of support currently in place, the Interest Free Loan and Visa Fee Reimbursement.
The University offers assistance to those paying for fees in relation to their Tier 2 visa or UK Residency applications and associated UK legal fees. In respect of Tier 2, this includes payments for NHS surcharges and NARIC fees. All non-UK members of staff can apply for a loan to assist with UK residency costs.
Those applying for a Tier 2 visa or extension can apply for a loan and then reimbursement of the fees. Please read the details below for further information.
The Interest Free Loan
Eligible staff can apply for a pre-application loan to cover costs for both their own and their dependents’ applications. Loans can be taken to assist with UKVI application fees, healthcare surcharges (NHS), UK legal fees (associated to immigration queries) and the cost of using The National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) service. UK NARIC statements confirm your international qualifications level and/or demonstrate your English language ability. Further details can be found on their website:
Staff in need of legal advice, in relation to immigration law, may wish to contact one of the Scottish law firms offering assistance to University of Edinburgh employees. For more information and contact details, please visit the following:
The list is not exhaustive of all firms specialising in immigration law and individuals can seek legal advice from a firm of their own choosing. Further guidance on law firms can be obtained from The Law Society of Scotland.
Please note, those applying for a Tier 2 visa may also be able to apply for a 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 the priority/ premium service, this outstanding amount 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. For further details on Visa Fee Reimbursement, please refer to the information following the loan section.
You can apply for the loan if you are employed or will be employed by the University of Edinburgh and are applying for a Tier 2 visa, residency or citizenship.
Your Tier 2 visa application could be for the initial visa, a switch from another immigration, route e.g. Tier 4, or an application for an extension to 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 fees, NHS surcharges, UK legal fees and the cost of using NARIC (including for your dependents, 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 12 or 24 month period, as specified by you. If you have a fixed term contract which ends prior to the duration selected, Payroll will adjust the repayments to the remaining duration of your contract.
How do I apply?
Applications for a University loan should be made by completing one of the Interest Free Loan forms, either the UK Residency Loan form or the Tier 2 Loan form, and then submitting it to your College/Support Group HR team. Please refer to the Guidance Notes to provide more information and 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 Tier 2 Visa fees
Once the application fees have been paid and employment with the University has started, Tier 2 staff can make a claim for reimbursement. This includes the cost of the UKVI standard service, but not the priority/ premium fees.
To be eligible, you must have submitted an application for a Tier 2 visa. This could be the initial visa, a switch from another immigration route e.g. Tier 4, or an application for extension to your existing visa.
What can I claim for?
You will be able to claim back Tier 2 visa application fees, NHS surcharges and the cost of using The National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) service (if you have needed to evidence how your international qualifications compare to UK qualifications and/or to demonstrate your English language ability). We will reimburse your fees and those of your accompanying dependents, i.e. your spouse/partner and children aged under 18. You can claim the standard UKVI fees as set out on the UKVI website (links to the information provided on the guidance notes). However, you will not be reimbursed any additional amounts for the priority/premium service.
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 must 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 must submit your claim within three months of having paid your Tier 2 visa fee.
How do I make a claim?
You make a claim by completing the Visa Fee Reimbursement Form, which you then submit to your College/Support Group HR team. 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 Tier 2 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.
For further information, please contact your College/Support Group HR team in the first instance.