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UK Visa Fees for Entry Clearance Applications

Entry clearance is a procedure used by Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) at British overseas missions to check, before a person arrives in the UK, if an applicant qualifies under the Immigration Rules for entry to the UK.  In most cases a mandatory visa application fee is payable.

UK Visa Application Fees

UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) maintains a comprehensive list of the visa application fees that it charges for the full range of UK visas including visitor visas, business and work visas, student visas and settlement visas.  The list can be found on the visa fees page of UKVI’s website.

Dependants are generally charged the same fee as the fee paid by the main applicant.

UK Visas & Immigration also provides an online tool which can be used to work out the cost of a UK visa application in the country of application.

How are UK Visa Application Fees Paid?

Fees are usually paid online as part of the online application submission process.

Additional Charges

If you are a non-EEA national and you apply for a visa to work, study or join your family in the UK for more than 6 months (but are not applying to remain in the UK permanently) then you will generally need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.  This will allow you to use the National Health Service (NHS) once you enter the UK.  The Immigration Health Surcharge is currently £400 per year, but this will increase to £624 on 1 October 2020.  A list of persons who are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is available on the IHS page of UKVI’s website.

Some visa application centres charge an additional fee to use the application centre.  This is called a ‘user pay’ fee.  For example, the VFS application centre in Vancouver charges an additional fee of USD 75 to use it. You can pay this fee when you book your appointment online, or at the centre when you attend. You do not have to pay if you are exempt from the visa application fee (see below).

Most visa application centres offer a range of premium and/or priority services.  These include appointments outside normal business hours, expedited visa processing and the ability to retain a passport during the application process.  Additional fees will apply if you choose any of the premium and/or priority services on offer.

Fee Exceptions

The following immigration applications do not attract an application fee:

  • applications under the EC Association Agreement with Turkey;
  • applications by 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 made in connection with the official duty of any official of Her Majesty’s government;
  • applications for exempt vignettes from persons who are exempt from immigration control even though they do not have the right of abode in the UK;
  • applications for EU Settlement Scheme family permits and EEA family permits.

Discretion to waive the visa application fee

Where an application fee is ordinarily payable, overseas posts have a residual discretion to waive or reduce the amount of the visa application fee.

This discretion will only be exercised in exceptional circumstances, such as civil war or natural disaster.

If you consider that the visa application fee should be waived for any other reason, it is possible to apply to the Home Office for a visa fee waiver. 

Detailed reasons must be provided in support of any application for a visa fee waiver.  The Home Office will expect you to address any exceptional circumstances which justify the visa application fee being waived.  Destitution will not be regarded as an exceptional circumstance.

You will also need to explain why the visa application fee cannot be paid by a third party.  If you have a UK sponsor or other immediate or extended family member, you should explain why they cannot pay the visa application fee on your behalf.

Contact our Immigration Barristers 

For expert advice and assistance regarding an application for a UK visa, or for a visa application fee waiver, contact our immigration lawyers in London on 0203 617 9173 or complete our online enquiry form below.


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