UK Visa Fees 2023: Work, Family, Student Rate Hikes for Oct 4

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By Sanwar Ali:


The United Kingdom has implemented many changes to its immigration policies and procedures over the years. But few have generated as much discussion as the recent announcement concerning the substantial rise in immigration fees. The new UK immigration and visa fees, outlined in a recent Home Office memo, will come into effect on October 4, 2023, and have caused much controversy.

Details on Fee Changes

Due to these changes, immigration fees will increase substantially. Visit visa routes, for instance, will see a 15% upswing, with a minor exception for visits up to 2 years - these will only experience a 6% rise. Work routes will also receive a uniform 15% hike. In contrast, the student route sees a significant 35% increase for out-of-country applications to align with in-country fees. Settlement entry routes and applications for British citizenship will become costlier by 20%. The visa fee increases are capped at the fee maximums as set out in the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Order 2016.

Many fees are going up, with a wide range of percentage increases. For instance, 'Route to Settlement – Refugee Dependent Relative' will be impacted by a smaller 4% increase aligned with unit costs. The heightened charges also extend to the Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) and Confirmations of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) which increases by 19-20% - both of which had remained static since 2016. Interestingly, the immigration health surcharge will see the most significant rise, from £624 to £1,035 per year, although this will be implemented later in the autumn of 2023.

Reaction To Changes

These changes have understandably faced criticism from a number of different groups. Immigration lawyers, advocates, and migrant groups have raised concerns regarding the affordability and fairness of these increases, emphasizing the problems the rises will pose for already economically vulnerable groups.

There has been widespread apprehension about the impact on families, students, and low-income groups. Unfortunately, exact figures or estimates on the number of visa applicants likely to be affected by the rises are currently unavailable.

Changes to Fee Waivers

There's however some relief in the new fee waiver and reduction rules for vulnerable groups. Although the new system maintains a factual and neutral tone, the fee for ‘Route to Settlement - Refugee Dependent Relative' is set at a much lower fee increase of 4%. This is apparently in line with unit costs - the previous system did not provide such exemptions.


The changes to UK immigration fees of October 4, 2023, are most likely part of the Government's efforts to reduce immigration. Some migrants and businesses will find the cost increases unaffordable. 

The Government claims that the shock increases in UK visa fees will help fund vital services and allow more funding for public sector pay rises. This increase in visa fees puts an unfair burden on immigrants and many businesses.

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