Subject to Parliamentary approval, the new fees will take effect from 6 April 2014, though fees for premium services overseas may come into effect one week earlier. A copy of the proposed new fees table is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/immigration-and-nationality-services-change-in-fees-for-2014-to-2015.
This letter provides you with details of the proposed fee changes for your information.
The Home Office is committed to achieving efficiencies and reducing the cost of the department to the taxpayer. By reducing our running costs and ensuring that those who use and benefit directly from our services contribute appropriately, we are reducing the cost to the public purse of running the immigration system.
From April 2014 we propose to increase the majority of fees by 4%, including the short-term visit visa. Targeted increases are proposed to other fees to limit the general increases otherwise required. These include:
- Removal of the current 25% discount given to dependants when applying with a main applicant in the UK. This is in line with our long-term strategy, which recognises that dependants receive their own benefits and entitlements when granted an application to remain in the UK. Dependant applications made outside of the UK are already charged the same fee as the main applicant.
- Increasing nationality registration fees to 90% of the naturalisation fee. This recognises that the categories offer similar benefits to a successful applicant. Minors will also now receive a 10% reduction from the adult fee when applying for registration.
- Applying a staggered rise to long-term visit visas to enable the 10-year visit visa fee to be frozen. This means that the 2 year visit visa will rise by a higher percentage than the 5 year visit visa.
- Increasing the fee to make an application in person at a Premium Service Centre (known as Public Enquiry Offices until 1st April) from £375 to £400 and the priority postal fee available for tier 2 applicants from £275 to £300.
- Introduction of the Registered Traveller scheme which allows expedited border clearance to regular visitors from a number of countries. The service will be available to non-EEA visitors from specific countries with an e-passport, who visit the UK at least 4 times a year. A yearly fee of £50 will be rolled out following a successful pilot.
Improvements to our services in 2014
The increase in fees detailed above will allow the Home Office to improve customer service whilst continuing to attract the brightest and the best. Increased fees will also ensure we are able to offer products that applicants have indicated they want. A consultation was held between 11 November and 3 December 2013 on charging principles which highlighted that our customers wanted to see an expansion of optional premium services. The changes we have proposed, which are summarised in this letter, will ensure that those who are willing to pay for a faster or more personal service are able to access these services.
Outside of the UK we are expanding a number of premium services which are currently only available in a limited number of countries and are introducing a global fee for services that are currently charged at local rates.
- We will introduce a fee of £100 for a 3-5 day priority visa service. A similar service for settlement applications will also be available, with a fee of £300.
- We will introduce a fee of £600 for a super priority visa service which will usually provide a visa decision within 24 hours.
- We will open new user pays visa application centres, in addition to the current free to access centres, where applicants can submit applications and enrol biometrics at additional, convenient locations. The fee for this service will be £59.
- We will introduce appointments outside of office hours to offer more flexibility to customers. These appointments will be charged at £50.
- We will roll out the passport pass-back service to more locations, which will ensure that applicants have the ability to hold onto their passport for most of the application process, enabling them to travel while their application is considered. This service will be charged at £40 per applicant.
We operate a flexible pricing approach in relation to immigration fees and as such we are also proposing a number of fee reductions and changes as follows:
- Reducing the fee for the direct airside transit visa from £54 to £40 in support of the UK's position as a global hub.
- Reducing sponsorship fees for Tier 2 large sponsor licenses and sponsor action plans while freezing a number of other sponsorship fees to reflect reduced processing costs.
- Introduction of a Tier 2 shortage occupations fee which reduces the fee from £514 to £428 for overseas applicants and from £601 to £428 for in-country applicants to encourage skilled applicants to fill vacancies where appropriate.
- Introduction of new Tier 2 general/ICT rules allowing applicants to apply for leave for up to 5 years rather than the current 3 years.
- Change the reduction offered to nationals of countries that have ratified the 1961 European Social Charter. The discount will change from a 10% reduction to each main applicant fee to a simple flat rate discount of £55.