23 Sep, 2023 07:53 AM

Home Office increases UK Visa Fees from 04 October 2023

⦁    Khaled Noor

On 15 September 2023, the Home Office published an increase in the UK immigration and nationality fees that will come into effect from 04 October 2023.  
The Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2023, which amends the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2018 (S.I. 2018/330) was laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State on 9 March 2023 (HC 1160) and 7 September 2023 (HC 1780).  

By this statutory instrument, the Government has announced its intention to increases a range of UK immigration and nationality fees by an amount above the average rate of CPI inflation, which was estimated at 9.1%. This includes increases of 15% to most work and visit visa fees, a 35% increase to the student visa fee charged on those applying from overseas, 20% increases to wider entry clearance visa fees, as well as 20% increases to fees for British citizenship, settlement, and Certificates of Sponsorship/Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies. Fees charged for Priority Visa and Super Priority Visa services are also being increased. 

These fees to increase from 9 a.m. 4 October 2023. 
Regarding the rationale for the level of increases in immigration and nationality fees, the Explanatory Memorandum, which was laid before Parliament on 9 March 2023 (HC 1160) and 7 September 2023 (HC 1780) stated that: “to significantly increase the income generated through immigration and nationality fees for the purpose of meeting costs within the wider migration and borders system, in line with the Secretary of State’s charging powers under section 68(9) of the Immigration Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”).”
The changes are summarised as below: 
⦁    Fees for visit visa application to rise by 15%, with the exception of visits for up to 2 years - where 6% increase is applied. 
⦁    Fees for work routes to increase by 15%. 
⦁    Fees for student visa, those applying from overseas to increase by 35% 
⦁    Fees for wider entry clearance routes (for example, Route to Settlement), as well as application for settlement, British citizenship, certificate of sponsorship, and other visa application to increase by at least 20%. 
⦁    Fee for ‘Route to Settlement – Refugee Dependent Relative’ to increase by 4%

Fee Waiver: There is no fee charged to someone for making a fee waiver application, however there is a requirement to pay a fee for any substantive application made if the preceding fee waiver application is unsuccessful. 

Fee Exemption: There are fee exception for dependants of the persons of refugee or humanitarian protection status in the UK. Currently, there is no fee payable in respect of an application for entry clearance or leave to enter made under paragraphs 352A to 352FI in Part 11 of the Immigration Rules. There will not be a change in the existing fee exception due to this amendment.
Transitional arrangement in relation to fees payable for child citizenship registration by those who have made a fee waiver request: 

Under the existing provisions for child citizenship registration, applicants can request a waiver from the relevant fee on the basis that it is unaffordable. Under these Regulations, those who request a fee waiver for child citizenship registration before the date of the fee increase, and a decision on the fee waiver application is made after the increase in fees. Those unsuccessful in their application for a fee waiver, will pay a fee for their substantive application that is the fee that was in force on the date of their fee waiver application. 

Finally, it should be noted that in July 2023, the UK Government announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will also increase from £624 to £1,035 per person per year, and for children under 18, student and youth mobility applications, from the current £470 to £776. 

Khaled Noor is a Barrister (N/P) and Solicitor. He is the Principal at Blackstones Solicitors, specialising in Immigration, Family Law, and Commercial Property law.

The information contains in this brief piece is for general information purposes only and it does not purport to provide comprehensive legal advice. Blackstones Solicitors accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this article. For further information or legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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