Visitors to the UK are not required to pay the immigration health surcharge. It is desirable, though, to have a travel insurance covering medical care as visitors are not allowed free access to the NHS.
If you are applying for a visa permitting a stay of more than six months, you will be charged the Immigration Health Surcharge in addition to the visa fees. The charge applies to all major visa categories, such as spouse visa, work-related visas, entrepreneur and investor visa. This is a one-off payment made at the time of applying for the visa. The amount depends on the duration of the visa and is calculated on the basis of six months increments. After the fee increase comes into effect, the calculation will be on the basis of £200 per a six-month stretch of leave or a part thereof.
An applicant for a five-year Tier 2 General (sponsored worker) visa will be paying £2000 in Health Surcharge fees. The same applies to all dependent family members.
An applicant for a spouse visa, currently paying £600 IHS for a 27-month stretch of leave, will be paying £1200 for the same period.
Unlike the visa application fee, immigration Health Surcharge is refunded if the visa application is unsuccessful. However, there is no refund if you leave the country earlier than planned or vary the visa for another category or to work for another employer.
Private medical insurance is not a substitute for the mandatory IHS.
Applicants for indefinite leave to remain or naturalization do not have to pay the IHS.