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Saturday, 28 February 2015


Find out if you are affected! Visa, extension and renewal applications are bound to increase enormously. This is a huge addition, details herein, as usual, on Lamzat!

How much will the immigration health charge cost?

£150 for students and their dependants.

£200 for other applicants.

This sum is an annual amount and applicants will be charged the annual amount for each year of the maximum period of leave which could be granted under the immigration rules. If this period of leave includes part of a year that is 6 months or less, the amount payable for that part of a year is half the specified amount, ie £75 for students and dependants, and £100 for others. If the period of leave includes part of a year that is more than 6 months, the full annual amount is payable.

Note that the Order refers to length of leave, not length of course, so the additional periods at the start and end of a course might be taken into account when calculating the immigration health charge. We will seek clarification of this point.
Who has to pay the immigration health charge?

Most people who apply for limited leave, ie not settled status.

Applications outside the UK for entry clearance (a visa) for leave for more than 6 months are subject to the immigration health charge. This includes those applying under the extended student visitor route to study English language for over 6 months. It does not include academic visitors (see below).

Applications for leave to remain (extensions) are subject to the charge, even if a period of under 6 months' leave is applied for, but this means that entitlement to free NHS treatment will continue.
Who is exempt from paying the charge?

Schedule 2 of the draft Order [^] lists the people who are exempt from the immigration health charge.

Entry clearance (visa) applications for leave of 6 months or less are not subject to the charge.

Anyone who applies for entry clearance under the visitor immigration rules is exempt. This does not include the extended student visitor route as it is not in the rules, but it does include academic visitors even if they apply to come for longer than 6 months so they should ensure that they have health insurance.

It also exempts nationals of Australia and New Zealand, and British Overseas Territories Citizens who are resident in the Falkland Islands.

Other exempt applications are Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) applications, leave to remain applications made by children under 18 who are looked after by a local authority (or by an authority in Northern Ireland), leave to remain applications for asylum or humanitarian protection or challenging removal from the UK under article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, leave to remain applications made by victims of human trafficking or under the destitute domestic violence concession, applications made by dependants of people in these exempt categories, applications by dependants of members of HM forces or members of a force exempt from immigration control, applications made pursuant to an EU obligation created by or arising under the EU Treaties.
What happens if the charge if not paid or is cancelled?

This depends on the stage an application has reached.

If the application has been made, and the charge has not been paid, but leave has not yet been granted or refused, the entry clearance officer or caseworker should contact the applicant to request payment. If payment is not made within 7 working days (for entry clearance) or 10 working days (for leave to remain) of the date of request, an entry clearance application will be refused. A leave to remain application will be treated as invalid.

If the application has been made, and the charge paid, but the charge is cancelled or reclaimed by the applicant before a decision is made, the application will be refused.

If leave has been granted but the charge is then cancelled or reclaimed by the applicant, entry clearance will be revoked or cancelled and leave to remain will be cancelled.
What happens if an application is refused?

The Home Office will have discretion to reduce, waive or refund all or part of a charge. We have no further information about how or when this discretion will be applied.

However, if an application is refused, the total amount of the charge can be refunded. If a court or tribunal then holds that the refusal was unlawful, the entry clearance officer or caseworker can request that the charge be paid again within 10 working days of that request. If the charge is not paid, leave will be refused.

We do not know how this will affect applications rejected as invalid, though it is likely that the full amount will be refunded. We have no details yet of how this will affect refusals that attract the right to apply for administrative review. It is possible that the charge will be retained until the deadline for applying for administrative review has passed without such an application, or until all administrative review stages have been completed. It is likely that the full amount will be refunded if no administrative review application is made or if it is unsuccessful. However, we do not yet know and will ask for information about this.

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