***Last updated 15th February 2024***

This article will continue to be updated as further details emerge. 


Immigration fees increased across the board on 4 October 2023.

The increases have been very unwelcome, both for would-be migrants to the UK, and for those foreign nationals already here.  Depending on their route to settlement, the latter might find themselves paying the increased fees several times over, at rates far higher than they’d planned for.

We’ve outlined below what you could expect if you’re planning one of the more popular immigration applications now or in the near future.  We hope you find this summary useful.

And remember you can always contact us to discuss this or any other immigration issue with our team of experts.

When are the increases happening?

The rise in immigration application fees took effect on 4th October 2023.

An increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge was implemented on 6 February 2024.

Immigration Health Surcharge

The Immigration Health Surcharge, or ‘IHS’ fee, must be paid when applying to enter or remain in the UK for more than six months.  This mandatory fee allows migrants to access the National Health Service (NHS).  It must be paid in full and upfront at the time of application.

The IHS fee was previously set at £624 per person per year (or part-year) of their visa.  As an example, we will consider the fees for an entry clearance partner visa.  If this type of visa is granted, the applicant would be granted 33 months leave to enter.  The IHS in these circumstances would amount to £1,872.

This has been increased by 66% as the fee is now £1,035 per year (or part-year) for adult applicants.  This amounts to a staggering £3,105 when applying for that same entry clearance partner visa as outlined above, solely for the IHS fee.

The IHS fee has also increased for child applicants, soaring from £470 to £776 per year.

Partner Visa

(also known as a family application, spouse visa, unmarried partner visa, fiancé(e) visa)

Partner visa applications are amongst those affected by the increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge.

The first application fee, for entry clearance from overseas, was among the 4 October 2023 fee increases, and rose from £1,538 to £1,846.

The fee for later applications for permission to stay in the UK (or for switching applications) was one of the few fees not to increase on 4 October 2023, and remains at £1,048.  We will update this blog as further details become available.

When we add in the increased Immigration Health Surcharge (for 2.5 years), you’re looking at almost £5k in fees for a first partner visa from abroad, and just over £3.5k in fees for an in-country extension.

Applicants will normally pay for one first application and one subsequent application, for an anticipated total of over £8.5k.  That’s the new price tag for falling in love with a Brit.

And remember that your £8.5k only gets you five years with your partner.  To stay longer, you’ll probably need to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and then citizenship, the extra costs of which are outlined later in this article.

Work and Sponsorship

For employers, sponsoring an overseas worker is already a significant investment. Applying for a Certificate of Sponsorship, which previously cost £199, had a 20% fee increase to £239 on 4 October 2023.

For workers, the cost of a Skilled Worker visa has always depended on the visa’s duration, and whether the applicant is overseas or already in the UK when they apply.

An example at the cheaper end is a Skilled Worker visa for two years, applied for from overseas.  That would previously have cost £625, plus the Immigration Health Surcharge at £624 per year, equalling a total of £1,873.  After the increase in both visa fees and the health surcharge, exactly the same thing will cost £2,789 (as the new application fee is now £719 and the increased surcharge will be £1,035 per year).

And at the more expensive end, a Skilled Worker visa lasting five years, applied for from within the UK, previously cost £1,423.  After the fee increases it now costs £1,500.  Add to that the increased Immigration Health Surcharge for five years, and the total fees come to a staggering £6,675.

Applicants will admittedly pay less if they are coming to work in healthcare or a shortage occupation, but even these have seen fee increases, as follows:

Application fees for skilled workers under a Health and Care visa:

  • For 3 years or less (whether applying from outside or within the UK) – £247 increased to £284.
  • For over 3 years (whether applying from outside or within the UK) – £479 increased to £551.

Application fees for skilled workers in a shortage occupation:

  • For 3 years or less (whether applying from outside or within the UK) – £479 increased to £551.
  • For over 3 years (whether applying from outside or within the UK) – £943 increased to £1,084.

To impose such financial deterrents on overseas workers seems senseless, especially as the Government claims to be trying to attract global talent to the UK workforce.

Indefinite Leave to Remain / Settlement

The current application fee of £2,404 has risen by 20%, to £2,885.

Applicants do not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of this application.

Citizenship / Naturalisation

The previous application fee of £1,250 has risen by 20%, to £1,500.  For many, citizenship is the final costly step in a long and expensive immigration journey.

As it is for Indefinite Leave to Remain, applicants do not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of this application.

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Catherine Reynolds
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