UK Visa Major Fee Increase and Health Surcharge Boost in January 2024!

“Prepare for the UK Visa Fee Hike and Health Surcharge Surge in January 2024!” Get ready for significant changes to the UK visa landscape! Starting January 2024, the UK is set to increase its immigration health surcharge, impacting individuals and families alike.

Did you hear that the UK plans to increase the cost of the immigration health surcharge in January 2024?

The new rule will start on January 16, 2024, or 21 days after it gets approved by the parliament, whichever happens first.

How the UK’s Immigration Health Surcharge Increase Affects Individuals and Families

The UK is making significant changes to its immigration health surcharge, and it will impact individuals and families in several ways.

  1. Higher Costs: Most visa applicants coming to or staying in the UK currently pay a surcharge of £624, but it’s going up to £1,035. This means individuals and families will need to budget more money when applying for UK visas.
  2. Special Concerns for Minors and Students: The increase in the surcharge is especially challenging for two groups – minors (those under 18) and students. Their yearly surcharge is increasing from £470 to £776. This change reflects the UK’s aim to better cover the costs of using the NHS.
  3. Advice for Employers: Employers are advised to apply for visas before the new surcharge comes into effect to avoid the higher fees. It’s also recommended to consider getting the longest sponsorship period possible. For skilled worker visas or global business mobility, you can apply up to three months before your planned start date.
  4. Impact on Those Moving to the UK: The upcoming increase in the immigration health surcharge represents a significant financial change for anyone looking to live, work, or study in the UK. This affects both companies and individuals seeking to move to the UK.

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Understanding UK Visa Processing Times

If you’re wondering about how long it takes to process a UK visa, especially for study, family, or visiting purposes, you’re in the right place.

We’ll talk about visa processing times in this article.

Factors Affecting UK Visa Processing Times

The UK is a top choice for travelers, and many people apply for visas to go there every year. But the time it takes to get a UK visa can vary.

It depends on things like the type of visa you need, where you’re from, and how many applications they have to process right now.

Let’s go over some important things to keep in mind.

Locking in Travel Plans

Once you’ve applied for a UK visa, it’s a good idea to lock in your travel plans as soon as possible, especially if you have specific dates in mind.

If you’re in a hurry, you can speed up the visa application process with accelerated processing.

The UK Department of Visas and Immigration (UKVI) offers two main ways to start applying for a UK visa using your UK immigration ID.

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Starting the Application Process

There are two ways to start applying for a UK visa. You can use the Check app, or you can set up a biometric appointment at a visa application center.

Now, let’s talk about how long it usually takes to process different types of UK visas:

For Visit Visas:

  • Regular visitor visas take about three weeks.
  • If you’re coming for authorized paid work, it’s also around three weeks.
  • If you’re planning a marriage visit, you can expect it to take about three weeks too.

For Study Visas:

  • If you’re applying for a student visa, it typically takes three weeks.
  • For child students, it’s also around three weeks.
  • If you’re coming to the UK to learn English for six to eleven months, you can expect a similar processing time of about three weeks.

When it comes to Family Visas for the UK, here’s what you can expect in terms of processing times:

  • If you’re applying as a partner or spouse, it usually takes around 24 weeks.
  • The same goes for parents, children, and adults coming to live with relatives.

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Tracking Your Visa Application

Remember, once you’ve applied for a visa, it’s important to keep an eye on its status.

You can do this by using the tracking feature on the official UK government website.

The countdown to processing time starts once they receive your completed application and necessary documents.

If you’re facing delays, it’s a good idea to consult with a licensed immigration attorney.

Updates to UK Immigration Laws in 2023

In 2023, the UK is making some important changes to its immigration laws.

For those applying for visas through the Ukraine Scheme, there’s some good news.

The application deadline has been extended to May 16, 2024.

This applies whether you’re applying from abroad or within the UK, giving you more time to complete your application.

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Visa Requirement Changes for Travelers from Specific Countries

Attention to travelers from Namibia, Timor-Leste, Dominica, Honduras, and Vanuatu: If you’re planning to visit the UK, you now need to get a visa before you go.

This change is for added security and to prevent high-risk visitors from entering the UK.

Make sure to prepare your documents before your trip to avoid any issues.

Here’s some important information about different UK visa routes:

EU Settlement Scheme Route

If you have pre-settled status and forget to apply for an extension, don’t worry.

The government will automatically extend your leave by two years, so you can still stay in the UK.

Student Visa Route

Starting in January 2024, there’s a change for students with student visas.

You won’t be able to bring family members to the UK unless you’re enrolled in a postgraduate program with strong research.

This is to prevent people from using student visas to get work permits.

Shortage Occupation List

Good news for job seekers! The list of jobs in short supply now includes some new ones.

So, if you work in the fishing industry, construction, building trades, or certain agriculture fields, you might find job opportunities in the UK.

Temporary Work (Seasonal Worker Route)

If you’re thinking about the seasonal worker path, be aware that there are new salary standards in the horticulture sector and some specialized poultry production jobs.

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Important Checklist Before Applying for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

If you’re considering utilizing the Youth Mobility Scheme visa for an extended stay in the UK, here are some crucial points to check before applying:

1. Eligibility Requirements

Ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa, including age restrictions, nationality, and financial requirements.

2. Valid Passport

Check the expiration date on your passport. It should be valid for the entire duration of your intended stay in the UK.

3. Financial Proof

Make sure you have the necessary funds to support yourself during your stay in the UK, as per the visa requirements.

4. Tuberculosis (TB) Test

Depending on your country of origin, you might need to undergo a TB test and obtain a certificate before applying for the visa.

5. Application Form

Complete the visa application form accurately and provide all the required documents.

6. Visa Fee

Check the current visa application fee and make the necessary payment as part of the application process.

7. Biometric Appointment

Schedule a biometric appointment as instructed by the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) for fingerprint and photograph submission.

8. Proof of Accommodation

Prepare documentation that demonstrates your accommodation arrangements while in the UK.

9. Comprehensive Travel Insurance

Purchase travel insurance that covers your entire stay in the UK, including medical expenses.

10. Employment Plans

If you intend to work in the UK, have a clear plan for finding a job and ensure you’re aware of UK employment laws.

11. Health Requirements

Understand the UK’s healthcare system and make arrangements for your healthcare needs.

12. Criminal Record Check

Depending on your plans and background, you may need to provide a criminal record certificate.

13. Visa Processing Time

Be aware of the approximate processing time for your visa application to plan your travel accordingly.

14. Stay Informed

Stay updated on any changes in visa regulations or requirements, as these can evolve over time.

Planning for an extended adventure in the UK is exciting, but thorough preparation is essential to ensure a smooth and successful visa application process. Stay informed and meet all the necessary criteria to make the most of your three-year stay under the Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

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