K M Enayet Hossain
09 August, 2023

5 min read


Fee waiver application from inside the UK

UK Home Office may grant fee waivers to those who make human right-based or other specific applications, where payment of immigration application and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee would be incompatible with a person’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Many international students and graduates inside the UK have been ill-advised to apply for a fee waiver ahead of their application for Student permission and Graduate visa application with the intention to buy more time. It is highly unlikely that either of these applications will be successful as international students and graduates are not eligible for the fee waivers.


According to Home Office, to be eligible for a fee waiver you need to -

  • be a partner, parent or dependant child of someone who has a family visa or has permission to stay in the UK on the basis of their private life
  • have got 'Discretionary Leave' or 'Leave outside the Immigration Rules' on human rights grounds where you were refused refugee status or humanitarian protection
  • have permission to stay in the UK because you're a victim of modern slavery or human trafficking


Any of the above person can apply for a fee waiver if they cannot afford to pay the fee because they

  • do not have a place to live in the UK and you cannot afford one
  • have a place to live but cannot afford essential living costs like food or heating
  • have a very low income and paying the fee would harm your child's wellbeing


Fee waivers do not apply to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications.

Since January 2019, Home Office fee waiver decision makers consider waivers of the whole amount the immigration application fee, and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) combined. Applicants can apply for the waivers of the whole amount or for waiver of one of the fees only.

Home Office Student visa guide has clearly mentioned that you must have enough money to pay for your course and support yourself in the UK. This means you need to have the affordability to support your living during your stay in the UK and you were required to show evidences of enough funds for this. Therefore, being on a student visa in the UK, you cannot claim that you cannot afford to pay the fees for further extension or switching to a Graduate visa – making a fee waiver application by you may be considered as deception by the Home Office.

Please note that requests for a fee waiver made by those who have current Leave to Remain, and whose leave expires whilst their fee waiver request is being considered, will be allowed 10 working days from the actual date of their fee waiver decision to submit an application for Leave to Remain (LR) or Further Leave to Remain (FLR). After this, their leave will be treated as expired. As students or graduates do not qualify for fee waiver, making a request for this may well result in expiry of your current student leave.

You must be aware of the fact that a fee waiver application is not an immigration decision. This means the outcome of a fee waiver application cannot be taken as an indicator on the outcome of a subsequent immigration application. It is alsoimportant to note that it is not a barrier to removal of you from the UK.


Let alone money paid to the adviser for potential unsuccessful application, a fee waiver application may cause several negative issues in the future of an inside the UK international student including -

  • it could result in future UK immigration applications being refused for a period of up to 10 years
  • you could be classed as overstaying in the UK as you will run the risk of applying as an overstayer (someone without permission to be in the UK)
  • refusal of your future other immigration applications for a period of up to 10 years on the ground of deception

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided detailed advice on fee waiver application by students and the consequences. It is a must read for all students to avoid falling victims to ill-advisers.


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