This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.

Legal insights & industry updates

| 3 minutes read

UK visa fees explained

With many different fees to be paid when applying for a UK visa, it can often be difficult to work out exactly how much you will need to pay. The overall cost of making an application will depend on the type of visa that you are applying for and whether you are applying in the UK or overseas. Fees are often increased in April by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). For an up to date look at visa costs, the latest fees table can be found here.

In addition to visa fees, there are some extra charges that need to be paid for most applications. Below is an overview of those additional costs:

  • Biometric fees  

For those applying for leave to remain in the UK, an additional £19.20 is added to the visa application fee to cover the costs of enrolling the applicant’s biometrics (fingerprints and photograph). The fee is payable whether the applicant has to attend a visa application centre to enrol their biometrics or UKVI reuses biometric information already held on file. It is not however payable for settlement or naturalisation applications.

  • Immigration health surcharge  

Generally, the immigration health surcharge (IHS) is payable by those applying to come to UK for more than six months, or those applying to remain in the UK for any length of time. However, it is not payable for settlement applications. There are also some exceptions as to who needs to pay.

The surcharge is essentially a levy to cover NHS treatment in the UK and is payable regardless of whether the visa applicant has private medical insurance or not. The amount that an individual has to pay depends on their age and the type of permission they are seeking. Students and Youth Mobility Scheme applicants pay £470 per year of permission, as do applicants who are under 18 at the date of application. All other applicants pay £624 per year of permission granted, with periods of six months or less being charged at half the yearly rate.

In order to make a valid immigration application, the IHS must be paid. With most applications submitted online, the payment is an integral part of the application process and you will be directed to pay the fee before you can finalise and submit your immigration application.

  • Visa application centre costs 

As mentioned above, applicants may have to attend a visa application centre (VAC) as part of the visa process to submit their biometric information. This service has been outsourced by UKVI to third party providers. In the UK, the centres are operated by Sopra Steria and their UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS). If applying overseas, the provider will depend on your country of application but is usually TLScontact or VFS Global. Whilst free biometric appointments are available, these are often limited so many applicants will opt for a ‘paid for’ appointment to secure an earlier appointment slot. Appointment costs vary depending on the type of service and time of the appointment.

  • Add-on costs at the visa application centre 

Most VACs offer additional paid for services. In the UK, UKVCAS offers various add-ons including document scanning, SMS updates, interpretation and translation services.

Additional services are also offered overseas by TLS and VFS Global. These include document scanning, prime time appointment slots and the option to keep your passport whilst your application is under consideration. Prices vary across the VACs.

  • Priority processing 

In some instances, it is possible to pay for the expedited processing of an application. For in-country applications, both a super priority service for an additional £800 and a priority service for an additional £500 are available. Applications processed under the super priority service generally result in a decision by the end of the next working day after the submission of the biometric information, with priority service applications dealt with in five working days. Details of applications eligible to use these services can be found here. It is important to note that the Home Office does not guarantee these processing times, particularly if the application is complex and/or you do not provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate you meet the visa requirements.

Priority processing is also available for out of country applications. However, this service is currently suspended for family visa applications. When available, the priority service costs an additional £573 for settlement applications and £250 for non-settlement applications, and the super priority service is an additional £956. With visa processing times taking longer than usual at present, these services are often worth the investment.

Should you require assistance navigating the UK immigration system and applying for a UK visa, please get in touch with a member of our team to discuss.