Students Staff

Immigration Health Surcharge

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a charge levied by the UK Government which is paid directly to the National Health Service (NHS).

The National Health Service provides emergency, primary and secondary care in the UK. Some NHS treatment is provided free for everyone and you will normally be eligible to register with a General Practitioner (GP) surgery. Free hospital care is only available to certain migrants including Tier 4 (General) and short-term students who have paid (or are exempt from paying) the IHS.

Who has to pay

You will have to pay the charge:

  • if you are applying for a Tier 4 visa overseas and your course is for more than six months or;
  • if you are applying for a short-term student (11 month) visa overseas to study an English language course or;
  • if you are applying for Tier 4 leave to remain inside the UK, regardless of the length of the course


Tier 4 applications from British Overseas Territory citizens who are resident in the Falkland Islands, or UK Government Scholarship students (Chevening, Marshall and Commonwealth) are exempt from paying the charge.


For applications made on or after 8 January 2019, the charge for Tier 4 (General), Short-term Student and Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) applications will be increased to £300 per visa year. The amount you will be charged is based on the length of your visa (not your course). The cost for all other UK visa and immigration applicants is £400 per year.

We would expect most Essex students to pay the following amounts. This is based on the course start and finish dates as stated on the CAS, plus the additional periods of leave given before and after your course:

  • UG 3 year (course plus 1 month before, 4 months after) - £1,050
  • UG 4 year (course plus 1 month before, 4 months after) - £1,350
  • Masters 1 year - Tier 4 Pilot (course plus 1 month before, 6 months after) - £450
    Please note: because the University of Essex is a new Pilot institution and, the IHS page hasn’t been updated yet, it is being calculated for an additional 2 months after the end of your course rather than 6. You should pay the amount requested. You may be asked to pay an additional amount and be given a deadline to pay by but if you aren’t, we have been assured that you will still be covered for NHS treatment for the whole of your visa period.
  • Masters 2 year – (course plus 1 month before, 4 months after) - £750
  • PhD 4 year (course plus 1 month before, 4 months after) - £1,350

If you are bringing dependants with you to the UK, each dependant will also have to pay the surcharge for the length of their visa.

You can calculate how much you’ll have to pay before you apply. Make sure you enter the course start and end dates stated in your CAS statement.


Refunds are only given in certain circumstances.

Access to healthcare

If you pay the ISH or are exempt from paying, in addition to state emergency and primary healthcare, you will have access to the same free state hospital (secondary) care as a UK national, whilst you remain ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK.

Make sure you know what you are entitled to and arrange private health insurance to cover treatment you may have to pay for. Read the NHS information about moving to England for more information.

Our University provides advice and guidance about your health and wellbeing and you will have access to many support services whilst you are studying with us. After your arrival in the UK you will need to register with a local doctor, also known as a GP (General Practitioner), they will provide you with your NHS number.

European healthcare - if you plan to visit other European countries whilst you are studying in the UK you may be entitled to apply for a UK issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If you are eligible for a card you will have access to the state care provided in the country you visit. This may change when the UK exits the European Union.