Visa costs around the world mapped as UK fees soar up to 35%

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The Government’s plans to hike the price of obtaining a UK entry visa from abroad came into force today (Wednesday, October 4).

Among the changes are an extra £15 on visitor visas for less than six months to £115, and a £127 rise to overseas UK study visa applications to £490 – a 35 percent increase.

Proposed in July, the measures were tabled in Parliament last month to “pay for vital services and allow more funding to be prioritised for public sector pay rises”.

There is certainly money to be made for the Home Office. A total of 3,287,404 entry clearance visas were granted during the 12 months to June 2023, 58 percent more than during the previous year.

But is the UK an outlier demanding more than international peers? has mapped costs around the world.

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The standard Schengen Visa – allowing for 90 days of travel for business or leisure within the area’s 27 EU countries – costs €80, or £69.

Visitor stays of longer than three months require applying for a visa within the individual country. For Brits, these typically run up to €120 (£104) in France, €75 (£65) in Germany and €116 (£100) in Italy.

A recent study of visa costs globally by the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) at the European University Institute compiled the price of tourist visas for every possible international journey.

The database shows British citizens can face costs of up to $150 (£124) when venturing abroad for short trips, in this extreme case to the Central African Republic.

Other fees included $100 (£82.50) for India, $72 (£59) for China and $14 (£11.50) for the US. The UK also has visa-free travel arrangements with dozens of countries, including Colombia, Israel and Singapore.

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A recent House of Commons research briefing noted that successive UK Governments have been aligned in believing “the people who benefit most from the immigration system (migrants themselves) should contribute to its costs.”

In its latest annual report, the Home Office said it aimed to recover twice as much in fees as it spends going forward.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) called the UK’s fee increase “unfair, divisive and dangerous”.

A joint statement by the JCWI with the British Medical Association (BMA), trade union GMB and others read: “Public sector workers deserve pay rises, but we strongly oppose any decision to fund this by further taxing migrants, by hiking visa costs and NHS fees.”

It added: “Increasing the Immigration Health Surcharge by 66 percent and increasing visa costs will push ever more people into destitution and poverty. The UK already effectively taxes migrants twice for healthcare, and has some of the most extortionate visa fees in Europe – a migrant family of four often has to pay around £50,000 over 10 years for the right to stay.

“This massive increase is simply unaffordable – it will price workers out of being able to afford a visa and force thousands further into poverty during the cost-of-living crisis, or out of the country.”

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