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The University of Southampton
Student Services

Healthcare for non UK students

The National Health Service (NHS) provides a wide range of health care. The regulations governing access to this for international students are explained on this page.  It is also possible to pay insurance for private health care if you choose to do so.

Health Surcharge

Those applying for a Tier 4 student visa from 6 April 2015 and coming to the UK for 6 months or longer will be required to pay an immigration health surcharge as part of their visa application fee.

The surcharge gives Tier 4 students free of charge access to NHS care in the same way as a UK resident at a hospital, Healthcare Centre or Doctor’s surgery. However some exceptions exist for expensive discretionary treatments. Some dental or optical treatment and medicines prescribed by the doctor may need to be paid for. (Medicines are collected from a pharmacy)


Students will be required to pay £150 per year. For example, if a student is studying for three years the charge would £450 which must be paid at the point of application for a tier 4 visa. This is in addition to the standard visa application fee.

The charge for a student studying 6 months or less in an academic year is £75. A student studying more than 6 months in an academic year will have to pay the full annual amount of £150. Tier 4 dependants will also be required to pay the surcharge. Your visa application will be refused if you have not paid the surcharge as part of your application and delayed if you have not paid the correct amount.

Further leave to remain applications

For students applying for entry clearance from overseas, the surcharge will apply to visa applications for courses of 6 months or longer. For students making an application for further leave to remain in the UK, the surcharge will apply for courses of any length.

Refund policy

The immigration health surcharge will not be refunded to you if your visa application is not successful. The visa application fee is not refundable. The surcharge is also not refunded if you do not use the NHS during your time in the UK or if you leave the UK before the expiry of your visa. The surcharge will also not be refunded if you decide to take out private medical/healthcare insurance as it is a mandatory fee included with your visa application.

There are some reasons why you may decide to take out private medical insurance:

To cover the loss of fees if you are unable to complete your course
To cover the costs incurred returning to your home country for treatment
To access private medical treatment

  • Tier 4 students from Australia and New Zealand are exempt from the immigration health surcharge as reciprocal agreements exist between the UK and these countries.
  • Students from New Zealand and Australia will be able to access NHS services, (hospital, health care centre or doctor’s surgery), for free during their studies in the UK.
  • Nationals from these countries will still need to go through the payment process on the surcharge webpages where payment will be nil but a unique surcharge reference number will be provided for the visa application to confirm the exemption.

Non-UK European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their family should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to the UK to access NHS services for free in the UK.


  • If your course is for less than six months and you are from a non-EEA country, you are advised to take out medical insurance as you will be liable for NHS charges for the treatment you receive in the UK except in a medical emergency and this is limited.
  • Some countries have a reciprocal agreement with the UK which may entitle you to some free healthcare on the NHS even if your course is less than six months but you should seek advice from the health authorities in your home country about what treatment will be covered.
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