UK government announces proposed visa fee changes

by Ray Clancy on February 10, 2014

The UK government has announced proposals to change the fees charged for visas, immigration and nationality applications and associated premium services.

If Parliament approves the changes the new fees will apply from 06 April 2014, however, some fees for premium services overseas will apply from 31 March 2014. The proposals increase most fees by 4%, including the short term visit visa.


New services include a three to five day priority visa service, a priority settlement application service and a super priority visa service.

‘Other targeted increases are being proposed so that we can limit wider general increases. The increases will allow us to improve our customer service, and enable us to begin offering optional premium services,’ said a UK Border Agency spokesman.

Premium services likely to be introduced include a three to five day priority visa service costing £100, a priority settlement application service at £300 and a super priority visa service for £600.

Other proposals are for appointments outside of office hours for a fee of £50, and a passport pass back service at more locations, which will be charged at £40 per applicant.

The proposals also contain a number of fee reductions and changes, including reducing the fee for direct airside transit visa to £40, reducing sponsorship fees for tier 2 large sponsor licenses and sponsor action plans, and freezing a number of other sponsorship fees.

A tier 2 shortage occupations fee of £428 for applicants both overseas and in the UK will be introduced, along with a new five year tier 2 general/ICT application. There will be a change to the discount for nationals of countries that have ratified the 1961 European Social Charter to a flat rate of £55.

‘The Home Office has given careful consideration to its fee levels, to ensure they provide the funding necessary to operate effective immigration controls and invest in improving service levels to customers. This is balanced against the need to ensure that the UK continues to attract and welcome the brightest and best migrants from around the world and those that make a valued contribution to British society,’ said a ministerial statement lodged in the House of Commons.

‘Given the ongoing need to reduce public spending, we believe it is right that we continue to reduce the contribution made by UK taxpayers towards delivering the immigration system by asking those who use and benefit directly from the system to make a greater contribution. For certain application categories, we will continue to set fees higher than the administrative cost to reflect their value to successful applicants.’ the statement read.

‘This helps to provide resources to run the UK immigration system and enables the Home Office to set lower fees elsewhere in support of wider government objectives to attract those businesses, workers, students and visitors who most benefit the UK. This includes the short term visit visa which remains significantly below cost,’ it explains.

‘In developing these proposals, the Home Office has sought to limit most increases to 4%. There are further targeted increases to bring dependant fees in line with main application fees, to register as a British Citizen and some premium services,’ it adds.

The statement also says that a staggered rise has been applied to the long term visit visa, greater than six months, with a higher rise to the two and five year visas to ensure the 10 year visa stays at its current level.

‘We are also introducing a reduced fee for those applying to work within areas regarded as shortage occupations and to the direct airside transit visa,’ it concludes.

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