The United Kingdom’s Home Office has revealed substantial increases in visa fees, which will go into effect on October 4, 2023
The changes, aimed at bolstering funding for essential services and public sector pay rises, have raised concerns among travelers and students alike.
Starting next month, the cost of a standard visit visa for less than six months will surge from £15 (approximately N14,592.70) to £115 (around N111,878.28). This staggering 667 percent increase has raised eyebrows and prompted discussions regarding its impact on prospective tourists and visitors.
Likewise, student visa fees will also experience a significant hike, with rates climbing from £127 (about N123,537.58) to £490 (approximately N476,677.59). This marks a 286 percent increase, further accentuating the financial burden on international students seeking education in the UK.
The UK government justified these fee increases by stating that they are necessary to allocate more resources to crucial services and facilitate public sector pay rises. The announcement was made via a statement titled ‘New visa fees set to come into effect next month’ on the government’s official website, gov.uk. The statement, published on Friday, followed the laying of legislation in parliament.
“The changes mean that the cost for a visit visa for less than six months is rising by £15 (N14,592.70) to £115 (N111,878.28), while the fee for applying for a student visa from outside the UK will rise by £127 (N123,537.58) to £490 (N476,677.59), to equal the amount charged for in-country applications,” the statement explained.
These increases follow a previous announcement in July, where the government disclosed a 15 percent hike in the cost of most work and visit visas and an increase of at least 20 percent in the cost of priority visas, study visas, and certificates of sponsorship. The Home Office emphasizes that income from visa fees plays a pivotal role in maintaining a sustainable immigration and nationality system while reducing the financial burden on British taxpayers.
The fee adjustments extend beyond standard visas. Fees for entry clearance, certain applications for leave to remain, including work and study visas, have also seen upward revisions. This includes fees for indefinite leave to enter and remain, convention travel documents, and stateless person’s travel documents. Additionally, health and care visa fees, along with costs related to certificates of sponsorship and confirmation of acceptance for studies, have been raised.
The government clarified that parliamentary approval is still required for these changes to take effect on October 4. Notably, these amendments exclude the planned increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is slated for introduction later in the Autumn.
The substantial visa fee hikes have sparked concerns among travelers, students, and the wider community, with many questioning the impact on immigration and the attractiveness of the UK as a destination for work and study.