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Advice and Counselling Service

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

You will need to pay the IHS if you apply for Student immigration permission in the UK, or if you apply outside the UK for permission that allows you to stay in the UK for more than six months. 

Payment of the IHS allows you access to hospital treatment from the NHS (National Health Service) while you are in the UK. 

The IHS costs £470 for each year of Student immigration permission granted (rounded up to six months). Please note that you will pay for the expected duration of your visa rather than the duration of your course. You will be granted additional time before and after your studies. To work out how long your immigration permission will be valid, see the table in the Check it section.

Here are some examples

Course length/type

Pre-sessional English (applying for immigration permission outside the UK)


Pre-sessional English (applying for immigration permission inside the UK)


1 year master’s degree


3 year undergraduate degree


4 year PhD


The IHS payment is integrated within the online Student visa application form. If you are liable to pay the IHS, or if you are exempt but require an IHS reference number, you will be automatically directed to the IHS payment website when completing your Student online form. Once you have completed the IHS process you will be issued an IHS reference number, and you will be redirected back to your immigration application form. 

If you are applying to extend your Student immigration permission to continue your current course, you can write your start date as the day after your current Student visa expires, for the IHS to be calculated correctly.  

If you are applying to extend your immigration permission inside the UK, you will continue to have free access to NHS hospital treatment while your application is being processed as long as you make your immigration application before your current immigration permission expires. While your immigration extension application is being processed, you should keep evidence of your IHS payment in case it is not clear to hospital staff that you have paid. 

Nationals of the EU and Switzerland 

The UK Government web pages confirm that if you begin a course of study in the UK that is longer than six months and pay the IHS as part of your visa application, you may be entitled to a full or partial refund if you’re a full-time student in higher education and have an EHIC issued by an EU country or Switzerland. To be eligible for a full refund, you should hold a valid EHIC for the duration of your stay. Your UK visa start date must be on or after 1 January 2021. 

You will not be eligible for a refund if you work or intend to work in the UK while studying. 

You can apply for a refund from 1 January 2022, and your refund will be backdated to include any IHS payments made since 1 January 2021 if you are an EU national, or from 1 November 2021 if you are a Swiss national. 

If you intend to apply for a refund, you should use your EHIC for medically necessary treatment during your studies. Medically necessary treatment means healthcare that cannot reasonably wait until you return home. You may have to pay for any NHS healthcare you receive that is not deemed medically necessary, for example elective treatment such as planned, non-urgent surgery. Students who have received a reimbursement may want to consider buying insurance to cover any healthcare requirements not covered by their EHIC. 

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