South Africans travelling to the United Kingdom will have to pay significantly more for visas.

In July, the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said that public sector wages would increase by between 5% and 7% across the board.

However, Sunak said that he would not raise taxes as citizens were already struggling financially or allow the government to borrow more money over fears of inflation.

To pay for the increase, he said that the government would increase the cost of UK visas for foreign visitors and the immigration health surcharge (IHS), which is the levy that they pay to access the country’s National Health Service (NHS). He said that this would raise over £1 billion

The government has now announced the increases for UK visas, which will become effective from 4 October 2023.

The cost of a standard 6-month UK visa has increased by 15% from £100 (R2,299) to £115 (R2,644).

The biggest jump in price is the partner/spouse visa, which has increased by over 20% from £1,538 (R35,361) to £1 846 (R42,442).

However, the health and care visa for stays less than or more than three years has remained unchanged, which is also the case for student visas.

Immigration consultants Breytenbachs noted that those wishing to get a UK visa should do so promptly and with care – as applicants will lose all their money if the application is unsuccessful.

The UK Visa price changes can be found below:

VisaCurrent PriceOctober 2023 PriceChange
Ancestry visa£531 (R12 208)£637 (R14 645)19.96%
Partner/spouse visa£1 538 (R35 361)£1 846 (R42 442)20.03%
Innovator Founder visa£1 036 (R23 819)£1 191 (R27 383)14.96%
Specialist Worker visa (>3 years)£1 235 (R28 394)£1 420 (R32 648)14.97%
Specialist Worker visa (<3 years)£625 (R14 369)£719 (R16 530)15.04%
Skilled Worker visa (<3 years)£479 (R11 012)£551 (R12 668)15.03%
Skilled Worker visa (>3 years)£943 (R21 681)£1,084 (R24 922)14.95%
Health and Care visa (<3 years)£247 (R5 678)£247(R5 678)
Health and Care visa (>3 years)£479 (R11 012)£479 (R11 012)
Student visa£490 (R11 265)£490 (R11 265)
Youth Mobility Scheme visa£259 (R5 954)£298 (R6 851)15.06%
Visitor visa (6 months)£100 (R2 299)£115 (R2 644)15%
Visitor visa (2 years)£376 (R8 644)£400 (R9 196)6.38%
Source: Sable International

IHS case

According to John Dunn from Sable International, the IHS is also set to climb substantially.

“The current fee is £624 per year, and it is set to rise to £1,035 (R23 784). So, for example, if you’re applying for an Ancestry visa which is valid for five years, you’ll have to pay £5,175 (R118 924) upfront as part of your application,” Dunn said.

Although students and Youth Mobility Scheme receive a discounted rate, it is still set to increase from £470 (R10 800) to £776 (R17 832) per year.

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