London News

New Immigration Health Service Charge for International Students in the UK

nhschargeFrom 6 April 2015, all nationals from outside of Europe coming to live in the UK for longer than six months are required to pay a ‘health surcharge’ in order to gain access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

What is the immigration health surcharge?

Students have to pay a fee when they apply for their first Tier 4 visa at home or when they extend their current Tier 4 visas in the UK.

The health surcharge is £150 per year (or £75 for 6 months or less) for students and is payable when you submit your visa application on-line. Visa applicants need to pay up-front for the total period of their UK visa.

For example, if you are planning on studying a 12 month master’s degree, then the actual length of your Tier 4 visa is around 17 months. Therefore you would be charged £150 for the first 12 months and £75 for the remaining 5 months, totalling a charge of £225.

Is it optional?

No, the health surcharge is mandatory for all Tier 4 visa applicants. Even if you decide to take out a separate health insurance, you still need to pay this fee.

After you have completed the visa application form, paid the visa fee and booked a visa application centre appointment, you will be required to go to the health surcharge online payment portal to make your health surcharge payment. You must pay the health surcharge prior to attending your visa application centre appointment.

Should your application be refused, rejected or withdrawn, the charge will be refunded.


Nationals of Australia or New Zealand are exempt from the charge due to reciprocal healthcare agreements between the UK and Australia and New Zealand.

What health services will you get?

You will be able to access the NHS in the same way as a permanent resident. The following services will be free of charge:

  • consulting a doctor and most other doctor’s services
  • treatment in a hospital (both emergency and non-emergency treatment)

You may need to pay for:

  • medicines prescribed by your GP
  • some doctor’s services (eg vaccinations for travel, getting a sickness certificate)
  • dental treatment
  • optical treatment

For more information on the health surcharge, visit the UK Home Office website.

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