UK visa fee hike for visitors, students to be effective from October 4

The British government has announced that a proposed increase in visa fees will take effect on October 4, with a visit visa for less than six months costing GBP 15 more and student visas costing GBP 127 more for visitors from all across the world, including Indians.

Following legislation introduced in Parliament on Friday, the UK Home Office announced that the cost of a visit visa for less than six months will increase to GBP 115, and the fee for applying for a student visa from outside the UK will increase to GBP 490 – to match the amount charged for in-country applications.

It comes after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned in July that visa applicants’ fees and health surcharges for the UK’s state-funded National Health Service (NHS) would climb “significantly” to meet the country’s public sector salary hike.

“We are going to increase the charges that we have for migrants who are coming to this country when they apply for visas, and indeed something called the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is the levy that they pay to access the NHS,” he stated at the time.

“All of those fees are going up, and that will raise over GBP 1 billion, so visa application fees are going to go up significantly across the board, and similarly for the IHS,” he stated.

The Home Office reported a 15% rise in the cost of most work and visit visas, as well as a 20% increase in the cost of priority visas, study visas, and sponsorship certificates.

“Fee-based revenue is critical to the Home Office’s ability to run a sustainable immigration and nationality system.” “When setting fees, care is taken to reduce the funding contribution from British taxpayers while continuing to provide a service that is appealing to those wishing to work in the UK and supports broader prosperity for all,” the Home Office said this week.

The fee increase affects the majority of visa categories, including health and care visas, applications to register and naturalise as a British citizen, and fees for up to six months, two, five, and ten-year visit visas.

The fee increase also applies to the majority of entry clearance fees and certain applications for leave to remain in the UK, including those for work and study; fees for indefinite leave to enter and indefinite leave to remain; and fees for certificates of sponsorship and confirmation of acceptance for studies.

The reforms are subject to legislative approval and are anticipated to take effect on October 4, according to the Home Office.

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