Immigration Health Surcharge
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee all international students need to pay as part of their visa application. Some European students may be able to get a refund.
The UK has a healthcare system which is paid for through taxes. This means that all UK nationals and most residents have equal access to the NHS without being charged each time they visit a doctor or hospital.
When you come to the UK as an international student, paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) allows you to use the NHS in the same way as UK nationals and residents.
You have to pay the IHS if:
you are applying for your visa outside the UK and you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months
you are applying for your visa inside the UK and you’ll be here for any length of time
You do not have to pay the IHS if you are:
applying to come to the UK for less than 6 months (for example, on a Standard Visitor visa)
an academic visitor coming to the UK for up to 12 months (even if you are here for more than 6 months)
If you are coming to the UK for less than 6 months and you will be studying full-time, you are entitled to free services on the NHS. However, this only applies in Scotland.
You won’t be able to access free healthcare services in other parts of the UK, which means you should take out separate medical insurance if you want to travel within the UK.
The surcharge for students is £470 per person, per year of the visa. You must pay the same amount for any dependants (for example, your partner or children) who join you in the UK.
If your visa lasts for more than 1 year, any additional period of less than 6 months will be charged half the annual amount (£235).
The exact amount you have to pay depends on the length of the visa you are granted, rather than the length of your studies. For example, if you are coming to study a 1-year masters, your visa will start 1 month before your course begins, and end 4 months after your course ends. This means the IHS cost will be £705.
You can use the UKVI calculator to find out how much you will need to pay.
You must pay the IHS by debit or credit card as part of your online visa application.
The surcharge will be calculated based on your programme start and end dates. If you are extending your visa in the UK, your start date will be the date your new programme (or period of study) begins.
You can find information about your programme start and end dates on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).
If you are an international student, you will need to pay the IHS as part of your online visa application.
However, you may be eligible for a full or partial refund if you are from an EU country or Switzerland and you meet all of the following conditions:
you’re a full-time student in higher education at the University
your visa started on or after 1 January 2021
you hold a valid EU or Swiss-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
you are not working and do not intend to work in the UK
Your refund will be backdated for anything you have paid from:
1 January 2021 onwards if your EHIC was issued in an EU country
1 November 2021 onwards if your EHIC was issued in Switzerland
If you apply for a refund of your IHS, you will need to present your EHIC on any occasions where you receive necessary medical treatment from the NHS during your studies. You will have to pay for any NHS healthcare you receive that is not deemed medically necessary.
If you get a refund, you should not work in the UK. Working in the UK is very likely to invalidate your EHIC, which means you will need to pay for any NHS healthcare you receive.