We now have full details of the UK visa, immigration and nationality price hikes announced by the Prime Minister in July.
The Home Office has announced that higher fees will apply from October 4, 2023, and we would advise anyone affected to get applications in before where possible. Advice from an immigration solicitor will generally ensure applications are more likely to succeed the first time.
- The rise in fees that the Home Office charges for visas, extensions and nationality applications vary, with most increases above and beyond the rise in general inflation.
- There is a bit of good news in that sponsor licence fees for employers will remain the same, though Certificates of Sponsorship are increasing by 20%.
- Settlement applications are set to rise by 20% too.
- Fees for most work and visit visas will generally increase by 15% (6% increase only for visitor visas for under two years).
- The fees for expediting applications in and out of country are being aligned. Priority service (within five working days) for applications will now cost £500, super priority service (one working day) goes up to £1,000.
The cost of most of immigration fees will be rising far greater than inflation. For context, 20 years ago, the Home Office did not charge for visa extensions, work permits or settlement.
Another cost increase to bear in mind, is the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) – the compulsory charge to be able to use of the National Health Service – which is also set to increase by about 66%: from £624 to £1,035 per year, with the discounted rate for students, children and youth mobility visa holders increasing from £470 to £776 per year. It has already tripled since it was introduced in 2015 when it cost £200. To put this into context, an adult on a five-year visa will need to pay a total of £5,175 IHS over the course of their stay before paying their visa application fees. The IHS increase is expected to kick in at a later date, possibly in the early months of next year.