The government has published the new visa and nationality application fees that will be implemented from 4 October this year. Below you will find a table with the new fees that I consider to be the most relevant for the Latin American community in the UK.
|New fees from 4th October 2023
|Spouse/partner visa – from outside the UK
Extension of visa from inside the UK (partner/parent etc.) – from inside the UK
|Indefinite Leave to Remain
Those wishing to see the changes to all fees can visit this page at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-regulations-revised-table/home-office-immigration-and-nationality-fees-4-october-2023.
The government justifies the increase in fees “to pay for vital services and to allow more funding to be prioritised for public sector pay rises” and explains that “a 15-20% increase is being sought across a range of different immigration and nationality products and services to contribute significantly to the Home Office’s wider funding targets”.
In addition to this increase in fees, there will be an expected increase in the NHS surcharge. This increase is estimated to rise from £624 to £1,035 per year of visa duration and will come into effect later this year.
To illustrate how this will affect people let me give the following example: If on 30th September a person has to pay £2608 for a visa extension (£1048 visa fee plus £1560 NHS surcharge), by the end of 2023 they will have to pay £3845 (£1258 visa fee and £2587 NHS surcharge). This is a 32% increase overnight and comes in a context where people do not have enough money to cover even basic living expenses, food, etc. How does the government expect people to pay for their immigration applications? I suspect that this question doesn’t matter to them in the slightest and that the government’s mentality is rather “Do what you have to do. If you want to stay in the wonderful UK, you will pay whatever we want“.
If you have the opportunity to make your visa or nationality application now, don’t wait to do so any longer. If you do not have money to pay for your visa application, remember that in some cases you can apply for a fee waiver for the application fees and NHS surcharge.
The Regulations foresee most of the changes taking place on 4 October 2023, with two exceptions. The new route ‘Appendix Gurkha and veteran of Hong Kong military unit discharged before 1 July 1997’ will be added to the rules on 5 October 2023, so the £1,846 fee will apply thereafter. The £10 fee for an electronic travel authorisation comes into effect on 25 October 2023, which is the date that applications open.
It is also important to note what has not been changed. The explanatory memorandum states that it was only the need to establish technical arrangements that prevented a 20% increase in the £1,048 fee for limited leave to remain. Once these problems have been resolved, new regulations will be put in place to implement the increase.
Manuel Padilla Behar is a solicitor specialising in immigration law and is the owner of MPB Solicitors. You can contact him here: email@example.com