A welcome
change to UK
immigration fees

Regulations setting out a change to the immigration and nationality fees have been laid in Parliament and will come into effect from Monday 2 October 2017. 

These changes relate specifically to the way the Home Office calculates exchange rates for overseas visa applications and should benefit all future customers applying from overseas. The fairer and more transparent policy will use a new set of exchange rates where payments for UK Visa and Immigration Services are taken in cash or by a bank card in a currency other than Sterling.

Customers will therefore now find it easier to calculate in advance the cost of their visa application and should no longer be saddled with the extra cost of inflated exchange rates applied to the published sterling price of the visa. 

When setting exchange rates for Home Office fees charged in foreign currencies, the Home Office Exchange Rate Policy (HOERP) will apply the Bloomberg opening rate as the base exchange rate and set all Home Office exchange rates at 4% above this opening rate. These exchange rates will now be reviewed on a fortnightly basis to ensure there is no significant divergence from the commercial rate. However, in exceptional circumstances, rates may be checked daily and updated more frequently if there are significant variations in a particular currency. 

Albeit long overdue, this change is welcomed. To date, the Home Office has failed to sufficiently track the currency exchange rates applied to its overseas services. In the past, it has therefore regularly linked incorrect, and in many cases, excessive exchange rates to the cost of UK Visa and Immigration Services when purchased by applicants in a currency other than Sterling.

Given a vast number of UK visa applications are filed and paid to the Home Office from overseas, this move will make a big difference to many applicants. Full details of the Home Office Exchange Rate policy are available here.

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