Over the weekend of 5-7 July 2015, the Home Office combined the immigration health surcharge portal with the online Tier 4 application system. We understand that some students might have submitted their application and not realised that it was no longer possible to pay the immigration health surcharge afterwards.
Some applicants were sent an email or letter from the Home Office, telling them to follow a link to pay the immigration health surcharge, but this link does not work. We asked the Home Office what applicants should do. On 21 July 2015, the Home Office sent us the following reply:
"When the system changed, the ability for Tier 4 applicants to pay using the standalone service was removed. All Tier 4 applicants now pay the IHS as part of their online application. The reason this functionality has been removed is to avoid the prospect of applicants paying twice – once using the standalone and subsequently being required to pay again in order to complete their online application."
"Regrettably, those who submitted an application without paying the IHS just before the changes were introduced no longer have the ability to make an IHS payment in this way and must submit a fresh Tier 4 application. They will be entitled to a full refund for the initial application fee and IHS payment – to obtain the latter, applicants should log into their IHS portal account and request a refund."
"Instructions to applicants to avoid this were on the Tier 4 pages on www.gov.uk, the IHS page, the homepage of visas4uk and advice was circulated to sponsors and legal reps both in the UK and overseas."
"Therefore, the portal is not offline but the link below is no longer active for the reasons outlined above. I’m aware that some applicants have been sent the below link in error. Please circulate the above advice as the correct position."
Entry clearance applicants outside the UK who are affected by this need to apply twice and can request a refund of fees when they give their biometrics. Students who applied for Tier 4 leave in the UK are in a more serious position if their immigration permission expired while they were waiting for a decision by the Home Office. If this applies to you, you should seek advice from your Tier 4 sponsor as a matter of urgency before you apply again.