All nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), coming to the UK for longer than six months to work, study or join family, are required to pay a health surcharge as part of their visa application.
The surcharge is also payable by non-EEA nationals who are already in the UK and apply to extend their stay.
Those who have paid the surcharge (and those who are not required to do so because they are exempt), will be able to access the National Health Service (NHS) in the same way as a permanent UK resident (with the exception of assisted fertility treatment).
The health surcharge is £400 per year and £300 per year for students and has to be paid online and upfront for the total period of their UK visa. Dependants generally pay the same amount as the main applicant.
The surcharge does not apply to anyone applying for a visitor visas. However, non EEA visitors will continue liable for the costs of any NHS secondary care treatment at the point they receive it, unless they or the service they require is exempt under the NHS Charging Regulations.
When to pay the health surcharge
The health surcharge is payable in full when you apply for your visa.
The charge is calculated based on the amount of time you are permitted to stay in the UK under your visa.
Certain groups of non-EEA nationals are exempt from paying the health surcharge.
You will not be granted a visa until you pay your health surcharge. It is very important that you ensure have paid the surcharge before you submit or send your visa application. If you choose to attend in person at one of the UKVI Premium Service Centres (UK only), you have to ensure that you have paid your surcharge prior to your appointment.
Read Home Office guidance on the health surcharge
What the BMA thinks about the health surcharge
The BMA has lobbied to try to gain an exemption from the health surcharge on the grounds that many migrants who do not have indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK are working, paying tax and making National Insurance contributions. Adding another, additional payment for their healthcare is unfair. However, no exemptions have been granted to the healthcare workforce.
The health surcharge was increased in January 2019. The increase impacts medical students and doctors applying for a Tier 2 and Tier 5 visa. Those on a Tier 2 visa will now be expected to pay £400 instead of £200 per year, and students and those on a Tier 5 visa will pay £300 instead of £150 per year.
The fact the charge has doubled adds further financial burden to the applicant and we continue to lobby for an exemption from the health surcharge for doctors.