Family Application Fees
Since the 4th of October UK visa and nationality fees have increased significantly for the first time in a number of years. For family visas the increase has been up to 20% but within other categories this can be as much as 35%. For those applying on the partner route from outside of the UK, whether as a spouse, unmarried partner, or fiancé the fee for the application itself is now £1846.00, an increase of £308.00 from the previous fee of £1538.00 (at the entry clearance stage this is also subject to a 5%-6% handling charge and the current currency exchange rates). Extensions made in-country have not increased and remain at £1048.00 but Indefinite Leave to Remain, or settlement applications have increased by 20% or £481.00 from £2404.00 to £2885.00. As well as the immigration fees there is additionally the strong possibility that the NHS surcharge, currently at £624 per annum for adults and £470 for those under 18, is to increase significantly to perhaps in excess of £1000.00 per year. At the time of writing this increase had yet to be confirmed.
The creation of a more global community as a result of the many contributing factors born of recent technological advances entails that these fee increases pose a financial challenge to an ever-increasing number of people, over a wide demographic as evidenced by national statistical figures. Currently just under 10% of married/cohabiting couples in the UK have one partner born overseas. What at first does not appear such a revelatory figure soon gains more presence when you consider that the total number couples co-habiting has increased from around 1.5 million in 1996 to around 3.6 million (or from 3 million to 7.2 million individuals) in 2021, an increase of 144% and that is just those that are co-habiting and have felt obliged to complete and return a census questionnaire.
Of those relationships just less than half are between British people and partners from the EU and for those couples I would say that these financial increases have hit harder than most. The reason I say this is that prior to Brexit Europeans had for the last 45 years little or no experience of negotiating and paying for the UK immigration system. For those nationals of countries outside of Europe, residing for longer than 6 months within the UK had always meant obtaining permission via the immigration system; not so Europeans. The UK’s exit from Europe has now resulted in a significant expansion of the population affected by the family immigration rules, its complexities, restrictiveness and of course cost. Visa applications are stressful for all to go through but for families undergoing a process which may force them to live apart and often involving more than one dependant, the pressure exerted due to the need for a first-time, positive result is heightened.
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The Visa Office are offering a free drop-in at our Bath office, whereby for 15 minutes those that are considering or in the process of making a visa application are able to voice their questions and concerns and through doing so gain some assurance that then enables them to make an informed choice on how best to proceed. This service will be available in the last week of the month. Please check our Social Media announcements for a confirmed date and time.