ArticleIs your UK visa extension eligible for an IHS refund?

The complexities of the UK immigration system can be daunting, especially when it comes to the financial aspects of visa applications. One key area where applicants often seek clarity is the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) refund policy for overlapping periods of temporary immigration permission.

Eligibility Criteria for IHS Refunds

To qualify for a partial refund of the IHS paid due to overlapping periods of immigration permission, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Double Payment of IHS: The applicant must have paid the IHS twice, covering the same period of immigration permission.
  2. In-Country Application: The extension of immigration permission must have been applied for from within the UK.
  3. Remaining Permission Period: At the time the further visa application is granted, the existing period of immigration permission must have more than six months remaining.

These criteria ensure that the refund policy is fair and applicable only to those who have genuinely overpaid due to overlapping visa periods.

How to process the HIS refund?

When an applicant meets the eligibility criteria, the current caseworker is responsible for processing the partial IHS refund. This refund is processed against the IHS reference number associated with the initial period of immigration permission.

For example, if an applicant switches from a Student visa to a Skilled Worker visa, the refund should be processed by the Skilled Worker decision maker against the IHS reference number for the Student visa. It is crucial to ensure that the correct IHS reference number is used, particularly if the applicant has multiple previous IHS reference numbers.

Calculating the Overlapping Period

To determine the overlapping period, the date the further extension is granted and the expiry date of the initial visa are used. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate this process:

  1. Example 1:
    • An applicant is granted a Graduate route visa valid from 1 January 2024 to 1 January 2026.
    • They subsequently receive a Skilled Worker visa on 1 December 2024, valid until 1 December 2027.
    • The overlapping period is from 1 December 2024 to 1 January 2026, totaling one year and one month.
    • The applicant is eligible for a partial IHS refund for one year.
  2. Example 2:
    • An applicant holds a Student visa valid from 1 January 2024 to 1 January 2028.
    • They are granted a Graduate route visa on 1 December 2025, valid until 1 December 2027.
    • The refund should be processed for the period from 1 December 2025 to 1 January 2028 against the IHS reference number associated with the Student visa.

Special Considerations

If the initial period of immigration permission was granted as entry clearance, the partial refund is processed based on the exchange rate applicable on the date the IHS was paid. The IHS portal will automatically calculate the exchange rate, so manual calculation is unnecessary.

In cases where the applicant has received a partial refund through the Health and Care reimbursement scheme, it is essential to determine the period covered by the reimbursement before processing the refund for the overlapping period. This ensures that migrants do not receive double reimbursement for the same period.

Understanding the IHS refund policy for overlapping periods of temporary immigration permission is crucial for applicants extending their stay in the UK. By meeting the eligibility criteria and following the outlined process, applicants can ensure they receive the refunds they are entitled to, thereby mitigating the financial burden of the immigration process.

For personalised advice and assistance with your visa application or IHS refund, contact GigaLegal Solicitors. Our team of experienced immigration solicitors is dedicated to supporting you through every step of your immigration journey.

Get in touch:  For a comprehensive understanding of your options or queries on UK immigration matters, contact GigaLegal Solicitors at 02074067654 or click here to book a no-obligation consultation with an immigration expert.