23 January 2024
The UK Parliament approved a law increasing the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fees, which will become effective on 6 February 2024. This means that anyone submitting a UK settlement partner or spouse visa application on or after 6 February 2024 will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge at the new increased rate. The annual IHS fees for adult applicants will increase to £1,035 per person a 66 percent increase from the current £624 per year. The surcharge will also be set at £776 per year for all children under the age of 18. The new fees were originally due to come into effect on 16 January 2024 according to a draft order laid before Parliament in October last year. However, this has now been delayed as the increase may only be implemented 21 days after it becomes law. The delay provides some extra time for individuals to submit their visa applications before the increased fees come into effect. If you wish to avoid the increase for your UK family visa application, you must apply on or before 5 February 2024.
On a positive note, the Home Office has abandoned its plan to dramatically raise the minimum income threshold for British Citizens and UK permanent residents sponsoring foreign family members to settle in the UK. The income requirement for fiancee, partner and spouse visas will initially rise to £29,000 per annum in spring 2024 and will be incrementally increased to £38,700. Those who already have a UK family visa or who apply before the new rules come into force will continue to have their applications assessed against the current income requirement and will not be required to meet the increased threshold. Anyone whose gross annual income does not exceed the required £29,000 must submit their partner’s UK visa application before the new rules become effective.