Getting an Immigration Health Surcharge Refund banner


Getting an Immigration Health Surcharge Refund

  • Posted on

Once you have paid your immigration health surcharge there is then a wait for your visa application to be processed. It can be a long and anxious wait if you have not paid the Home Office extra to use their priority service. The delay for a sponsoring employer or sponsoring partner can be just as frustrating.

A bugbear of many visa applicants is that they have to pay their immigration health surcharge for the duration of their visa. A large sum has to be found upfront and is kept by the Home Office until the visa application is decided or the applicant has exhausted all their administrative review and appeal rights.

In this blog, our Immigration Solicitors look at the April 2024 caseworker guidance on the immigration health surcharge and the processing of immigration health surcharge refunds.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For immigration law advice call London-based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Our lawyers speak Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, French/Mauritian Creole, Spanish, Tamil Tagalog/Ilonggo, Urdu/Punjabi

Who gets an immigration health surcharge refund?

The Home Office can decide to give a full or partial IHS refund. The rules say the IHS refund will be paid back into the bank account that it was originally paid from. The caseworker will not accept a change in the bank account before the refund is processed.

Full refunds of the immigration health surcharge

A visa applicant is entitled to a full refund of their immigration health surcharge payment if one of the following applies:

  • The visa application was refused and all appeals have been finalised or the deadline to submit an administrative review or an appeal has passed
  • The visa application was withdrawn
  • The visa application was either rejected or voided
  • The IHS has been paid twice in error

For entry clearance applications the time limit for the submission of an administrative review is within 28 days of the application being refused.

For administrative review applications, the administrative review request must be made within 14 days for permission to stay applications. If the administrative review or appeal confirms the application is refused then at that stage the full IHS will be refunded.

With a voided, rejected or withdrawn application the IHS should be refunded when the Home Office issue the notification confirming the visa application is voided or rejected.

Partial refunds of the immigration health surcharge

Partial refunds of the IHS are granted by the Home Office where:

  • The visa or entry clearance was granted for a shorter period than applied for
  • The applicant used one immigration health surcharge reference number for a main visa application and Dependant Visa applications and a Dependant Visa application was refused
  • The applicant has overpaid their immigration health surcharge
  • The applicant is applying for another visa or switching visa and they have already paid their IHS and have at least 6 months of their visa left. This is referred to by Immigration Solicitors as ‘’overlapping IHS’’. Examples include someone on a Spouse Visa or Student Visa switching to a Skilled Worker Visa

To be eligible for a partial refund for an overlapping visa period, a refund applicant must have paid the IHS twice for the same period and be applying from within the UK.

Calculating an immigration health surcharge refund

The immigration health surcharge is calculated in units of 6 months and any refund is also based on 6-month units rather than the immigration health surcharge being refunded using an apportioned daily rate.

If an applicant paid their immigration health surcharge from overseas they will have paid using a Home Office applied exchange rate. If a refund is required the Home Office calculator uses the same currency conversion rate as the one used when paying the IHS.

When won't the Home Office refund the immigration health surcharge payment?

Given the amount payable in immigration health surcharge to secure a Work Visa or Family Visa Immigration Solicitors say it is vital to know if the Home Office will provide a refund and in what circumstances the Home Office will not do so.

The Home Office caseworker guidance says a visa applicant will not get a refund of their IHS payment if:

  • The visa applicant withdraws their application after a decision has been made by the Home Office
  • The visa applicant decides not to come to the UK even though the Home Office granted them a visa
  • The visa applicant or holder passes away before coming to the UK or whilst in the UK
  • The visa holder leaves the UK early
  • The visa holder has to leave the UK. For example, a deportation order after a criminal sentence
  • A visa holder applies for Indefinite Leave to Remain whilst they have time left on a current visa
  • A visa applicant switches to a visa where they do not need to pay the immigration health surcharge. For example, switching from a Skilled Worker Visa to a Health and Care Worker Visa

Immigration health surcharge reimbursement schemes

The Home Office operates reimbursement schemes for refunds of the IHS. For example, students from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein or a scheme for health and care workers.

There is separate guidance on the healthcare reimbursement scheme and the EU student scheme.

With the healthcare reimbursement scheme, overseas workers employed in the Health and Care sector on visas other than the Health and Care Worker visa can claim reimbursement of the IHS paid for periods they are employed in the sector. Some dependants can also claim reimbursement.

The eligibility criteria for the health and care reimbursement scheme says that the worker must:

  • Work in the healthcare sector and be employed by an eligible company and
  • Work on average a minimum of 16 hours per week

The healthcare reimbursement is also calculated in 6-month periods so evidence of ongoing work in the healthcare sector may be needed if reimbursement of the IHS is sought for a period in excess of 6 months.

Immigration and visa help

The rules on paying the immigration health surcharge and on refunds and reimbursements are complicated and it is therefore easy for visa applicants to get the rules wrong.

Our specialist Immigration Solicitors can support you by advising on the best visa route for your circumstances and help you apply for your visa by submitting the correct visa application with a supporting statement, the correct evidence and offer advice on payment of the immigration health surcharge.  If your circumstances have changed and you are looking to switch visas or settle or if you are working in healthcare we can advise you on immigration health surcharge refunds and reimbursements as well as assist you with your visa switch or Indefinite Leave to Remain application.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For immigration law advice call London-based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Our lawyers speak Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, French/Mauritian Creole, Spanish, Tamil Tagalog/Ilonggo, Urdu/Punjabi

Related Posts

OTS Solicitors Celebrates its Inclusion in the 2024 Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession

Can a Skilled Worker Visa Holder Move Jobs?

Immigration News: the Government Publishes its Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules

How Much Does it Cost a UK Sponsor to Hire a Skilled Worker From Overseas?

    Get in touch

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.