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22 March 2024

Never ending fee increases: Home Office unveils further wide-ranging fee hikes

3 mins

Following the extortionate increase of the Immigration Health Surcharge on 6 February 2024 and the huge rise in application fees introduced on 4 October 2023, the Home Office has revealed further increases to the costs of visa, nationality and passport applications over the coming months.

The government has laid out new regulations that provide for a number of increases at different dates, amongst which include:

  • From 10 April 2024:
    • A whole range of increases to fees for various nationality related applications, which include, amongst others, the increase of the citizenship ceremony fee from £80 to £130, the cost of an application to review the refusal of a registration or naturalisation application from £372 to £450, and the cost of an application for a letter confirming nationality status rising from £250 to £429.
    • Applicants under the Innovator Founder route will now need to pay £500 for a ‘contact point meeting’ between an applicant and the endorsing body to assess progress against their business plan, unless the applicant has limited leave to remain in the UK granted under Appendix Innovator, Appendix Innovator Founder or Appendix Start-up and certain exceptions apply. This was previously a free service.
    • Two year multiple-entry visit visas will increase from £400 to £432 – separate fees apply for Chinese nationals applying under the Chinese visa scheme.
    • Applications for leave for those with permission under Appendix Skilled Worker or Appendix Global Mobility (Senior or Specialist Workers) who have been issued a Certificate of sponsorship for more than three years will increase from £1,500 to £1,636. The increase does not apply to dependents. A lower rate where a shortage occupation certificate of sponsorship has been issued for more than three years will still apply.
    • One positive is that those applying to extend permission under Appendix Hong Kong British National (Overseas) will now be able to apply for a fee waiver. Certain requirements will apply, including to show that the applicant is unable to afford the application fee.
  • In time for the busy summer holiday period, online applications for an adult British passport will increase to £88.50 from £82.50 from 11 April 2024 and from 1 July 2024 the fees for using the Border Force fast track service will be increased to £10. Other provisions are made to the increase in the hourly rate of immigration officers providing premium services relating to entry or transit through the UK.
  • From 24 July 2024 there will be a 20% increase in the application fee for those applying for leave to remain where the fee is not specified elsewhere in the Regulations – this will include those applying to extend their stay as partners and parents under Appendix FM. The fee will rise to £1,258.
  • From 10 September 2024, there will be fees introduced to cover a new Sponsor a Worker scheme. The fee for approving a sponsor under this new scheme will be £239 (subject to certain exceptions).

In addition, Health and Care visa applicants and their dependants who pay a reduced fee will also see an increased rate of £1,085 rather than £949.

These further increases in costs and new fees for previously free services are particularly disproportionate at a time when the service received by applicants is frequently plagued by technical errors and delays, with higher fees in no way reflecting an improved service. The rise in fee for those applying in-country under Appendix FM, coupled with the increased Immigration Health Surcharge, will surely lead to an increase in applications for fee-waivers, which are themselves now taking many months to be considered and will only add to the backlogs and delays experienced by applicants.

For more information on our Immigration services, please visit our page here.

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