1. Overview

You may need to pay a healthcare surcharge (called the ‘immigration health surcharge’ or IHS) as part of your immigration application.

If you’re applying online or through the premium service centre, you’ll pay the surcharge as part of your application or when you book an appointment.

If you’re applying by post, you must pay the healthcare surcharge online before you send your application - you’ll need to include the IHS reference number on your application form.

Your information will be shared with the National Health Service (NHS) in England if:

  • you’ve paid the healthcare surcharge (or are exempt from paying it)
  • your visa or immigration application is granted

You’ll then be able to use the NHS. You’ll still need to pay for certain types of services, eg prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests.

You should bring your biometric residence permit with you when you access healthcare in the UK.

Visitor visas and short-term visas

You don’t have to pay the healthcare surcharge if you’re applying from outside the UK for a visitor visa or any visa that lasts 6 months or less.

You don’t need to use the healthcare surcharge service or get an IHS reference number for your visa application. Instead, you’ll have to pay for any healthcare you get through the NHS at the point you use it.