ECB06: entry clearance fees

Updated 28 July 2015

1. ECB6.1 On what basis are fees charged?

A fees order sets out functions for which fees may be set in regulations and includes maximum fee levels for applications routes and available services.

Fees regulations then detail the individual charges applicable to various application routes and available services. Details of exceptions and fee waivers are also included within the fees regulations.

2. ECB6.2 What are the entry clearance/visa fees?

Information on visa fees is available on the visa fees page on this website.

This includes information on the fee for dependents. Each applicant for an entry clearance visa pays a fee, even if a spouse and/or children are included in the main applicant’s passport. If making the same application type as the main applicant, dependants are generally charged the same fee as that paid by the main applicant.

3. ECB6.3 How are fees paid?

Fees are usually paid online following the instructions provided. If online payments are not mandatory, the Visa Application Centre website will advise what methods of payment can be used.

Fees for entry clearance and related services are set in UK legislation in UK pounds (GBP). Changes to the Fees are approved by the UK Parliament. Fees can be paid in Locally Acceptable Currency, which is determined by the country where the applicant will provide biometrics. The exchange rate is determined by the UK Consular Rate of Exchange mechanism and may be subject to change.

4. ECB6.4 Are there any other charges?

Applicants for visas to the UK for more than 6 months will normally be subject to the Immigration Health Surcharge.

In some locations there is an additional fee to use the application centre (called ‘user pays’) or other facility which receives and/or processes visa applications.

Additional fees may be applicable in relation to premium and/or priority services on offer at select locations. These include appointments outside application centre opening hours, and passport passback, where the customer pays to retain their passport during the application process.

Information on which application centres are ‘user pays’ and the additional services on offer can be found on the commercial partner country websites.

For applications handled on behalf of certain Commonwealth / Overseas Territories, a charge may be made for preparing and forwarding documents to the Commonwealth Country / Overseas Territory in support of an application for a visa, residence permit, identity card or travel document. There is no such charge for referrals of applications for entry clearance for the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar.

5. ECB6.5 Fee Exceptions

No fee is payable by the applicant in relation to:

  • an application made in connection with the official duty of any official of Her Majesty’s government;
  • dependants of refugees or persons granted humanitarian protection who are applying as the partner (spouse/civil partner/unmarried/same sex partner) or child of the refugee or person granted humanitarian protection;
  • applications under the EC Association Agreement with Turkey.

No fee is payable in respect of exempt vignettes to individuals described as exempt in ECG Exempt (EXM5), or applications made under the EEA Regulations (EEA family permits ECG European Nationals & Schemes EUN (21)).

6. ECB 6.6 Discretion to waive the fee

The official determining the application may decide to waive the payment of the fee or reduce the amount of the fee in relation to:

  • scholarships funded by Her Majesty’s government;
  • applications where an official determines to waive the fee as a matter of international courtesy;
  • visitors under a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Bilateral Programme where the applicant intends to visit the United Kingdom in connection with programmes operated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to give funds directly to Embassies and Missions outside the United Kingdom to support activities directly connected to the United Kingdom’s international priorities;
  • visitors under a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Strategic Programme where the applicant intends to visit the United Kingdom in connection with programmes of funding operated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to promote action on global issues in areas of strategic importance to the United Kingdom;

Discretion to waive a fee in other cases:

  • where the Secretary of State determines that the fee should be waived (the exercise of this discretion should be applied in exceptional circumstances only, such as civil war or natural disaster).

Posts have no discretion to waive visa fees for any other reason other than those listed in the fees legislation, as quoted in above.

If an applicant requests that the fee should be waived for reasons other than those listed above they should be advised to contact the UKVI contact centre. The applicant will need to state their reasons in writing. The contact centre should refer this request to both RCU and the relevant post. RCU will consider the request for waiving the fee only; they will not consider the visa application itself. RCU will reply to post with their decision on whether or not to accept the application without payment of the fee. Post should advise the applicant of the outcome.

Destitution alone will not be considered as valid grounds for waiving fees. When considering waiver of the fee it is usual practice to consider not only the applicant’s ability to pay but also to take into account the sponsor’s, or other wider family’s ability to pay the fee.