Your 2023 Guide to UK Medical Visitor Visas
The UK Medical Visitor Visa is designed for individuals seeking private medical treatment in the United Kingdom. This visa allows applicants to enter the country for a specified period to receive medical care from UK-based healthcare professionals. This comprehensive guide will cover eligibility criteria, required documents, application process, fees, and other relevant information.
Updated as of March 22, 2023, to ensure the latest UK Medical Visitor Visa requirements are reflected.
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Understanding the UK Medical Visitor Visa
The UK Medical Visitor Visa is a type of visa designed specifically for those who need to travel to the United Kingdom to receive medical treatment. This visa allows eligible individuals to stay in the UK for up to six months while undergoing medical procedures or consultations. It is important to note that the UK Medical Visitor Visa does not grant access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) for free treatment.
Tips for a Successful UK Medical Visitor Visa Application
To ensure a successful UK Medical Visitor Visa application, make sure you follow these tips:
- Gather all necessary documentation, including medical history, letters from your doctor, and proof of medical appointment or treatment in the UK.
- Provide proof of sufficient funds to cover your medical treatment and living expenses while in the UK.
- Demonstrate a strong intention to return to your home country once your medical treatment is complete.
- Submit your application well in advance of your planned travel date to allow for any unforeseen delays in processing.
*What happens next?
Multilingual qualified London based immigration specialists will get back to you, usually within 2-3 working days. If you have not attached any documents, then the UK based Law firm may ask for the relevant Case-Specific Document(s) such as Refusal Letters, Deportation Orders, Application Forms etc. Moreover, after reviewing the papers and information, the legal advisor may advise a course of action and quote the fees for processing the application.
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UK Medical Treatment Visitor Visa Application Requirements
To obtain a UK visa on medical treatment grounds, an applicant must fulfill all the standard visitor visa requirements, as well as additional requirements. These include:
- Current medical condition of the applicant and treatment history
- Estimated expenses for private medical care in the UK
- Paid arrangements for private medical consultations or treatment in the UK
- Source of funds for the proposed medical treatment
- Approximate duration of medical treatment in the UK
- Adequate funds for the treatment to meet medical and living expenses without recourse to public funds
- Adequate funds for the return or onward journey
- Applicant is not a danger to public health and is not suffering from an infectious disease, such as leprosy
- Applicant will leave the UK after completion of the treatment or upon expiry of the visa
Requirements for 11-Month UK Medical Treatment Visa
An applicant must provide all appropriate medical evidence to support the reason for remaining in the UK for 11 months. Applicants may receive a UK medical visa for 11-months if they can prove a clear need and the ability to bear the cost of the treatment. They must justify the duration of treatment. The immigration officer assesses the time-period of the treatment and may also talk to the medical consultant/doctor, who will be either conducting or supervising the treatment. If the decision-maker deems the treatment as open-ended, they may refuse the application.
Medical Clearance for Medical Visitor Visa UK
All applicants diagnosed with either a communicable disease or suffer/appear to suffer from a severe illness/disability for any reason are referred for a medical clearance during the assessment process. If an applicant is diagnosed with a contagious disease, the ECO may also refer to a medical officer.
Duration and Fees
Most visitors intending to undergo private medical treatment in the UK may not need to stay for more than six months. However, if an applicant is planning to stay longer than six months for treatment, they can apply for an 11-month medical visitor visa. From April 6, 2022, the UK visa application cost for a medical treatment visa for more than six months but less than 11 months is £200.
The UK medical visa processing time is usually within 15 working days or three weeks. However, with priority service, the UK medical visitor visa processing time is five working days. Moreover, at some UKVACs, super priority service is also available. The service standard for super-priority service is usually 24 hours. However, both priority and super-priority services are for straightforward applications and do not guarantee any favorable outcome.
During the assessment process, the caseworker is likely to check the Medical Doctor’s registration with the General Medical Council (GMC). The doctor should be on the Specialist Register on the Registered Medical Practitioners’ List. If there is any doubt, the caseworker can contact the hospital directly to confirm whether the doctor is practicing at the hospital.
At the Border
At the border, cases for visiting the UK for private medical treatment are referred to a port medical inspector. Accordingly, a non-visa national can get entry clearance on the recommendation of the medical inspector. However, such applicants need to meet the requirements, i.e., have sufficient funds and other necessary requirements for receiving private treatment in the UK. Moreover, these applicants are usually granted entry for not more than six (6) months, subject to mandatory stipulations, i.e., no recourse to public funds, work, and study.
UK Medical Treatment Visitor Visa Extension Requirements
In terms of paragraph V8.6 of Appendix V for visitors, for a UK medical visitor visa extension application for a further six months, an applicant needs to prove that:
- They have paid for any private medical treatment they have already had in the UK.
- They have ample funds and can pay for further costs of medical treatment in the UK.
- They continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
Additionally, an applicant needs documentary evidence from a registered medical practitioner or NHS consultant in the UK, such as:
- Proof of arrangements for private medical consultation or treatment in the UK.
- A letter elaborating the duration of the medical treatment in the UK.
- If the treatment has already started, details of the progress of the medical treatment.
Proof of Funds for UK Medical Treatment Visitor Visa Extension
For a UK medical visitor visa extension application, an applicant needs to provide proof of funds. If the applicant’s own funds or a third party’s funds will transfer from abroad, the applicant needs to furnish evidence of the transferability of the funds. Moreover, for third-party funds, an applicant also needs to provide fresh or most recent confirmation of the sponsor’s willingness and ability to meet the cost.
UK Medical Treatment Visitor Visa Extension Application Fee
The fee for a UK medical visitor visa extension application is £1,000. However, the Home Office fee is £1,800 with the next working day premium (priority) service.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Accompanying Medical Attendants
Can a medical attendant accompany the patient?
There is no specific provision under the rules for a family member, friend, or nurse to accompany a visitor coming to the UK for private medical treatment. Therefore, any attendant must apply as a visitor and satisfy the visitor rules requirements. If an attendant cannot meet the requirements of an initial or extension application, the Referred Casework Unit (RCU) will determine whether to grant leave outside of the immigration rules to an accompanying medical attendant.
Free Medical Treatment and NHS
Can visitors get free medical treatment from NHS?
No, visitors are generally not entitled to free treatment from the National Health Service (NHS). Visitors must pay for any medical treatment they receive through the NHS during their stay on a visitor visa in the UK. However, in extremely limited circumstances, a visitor can access free NHS services if they have a legal exemption.
Reciprocal Healthcare Agreements (RHCAs)
What are Reciprocal Healthcare Agreements (RHCAs)?
The UK has Reciprocal Healthcare Agreements (RHCAs) with some countries, which provide equivalent access to citizens of contracting countries for immediate healthcare services when visiting the other country for a limited duration. Treatment under RHCAs is provided on the same terms and conditions as for local residents and is free of charge in the United Kingdom. Mostly, RHCAs apply to short-term visitors only. RHCAs also cater to treatment that may arise during a migrant’s stay in the UK. However, RHCAs do not allow migrants to visit the UK for seeking medical care.
Organ Donors and Medical Treatment
Can organ donors get free medical treatment in the UK?
As mentioned earlier, visitors can only access paid medical treatment in the UK. However, the only exception is medical treatment for organ donors. Organ donors are required to provide specific and conclusive evidence with their applications that they are a donor match or are already identified as a potential donor to a designated recipient in the United Kingdom.
Does an organ donor need to establish a relationship with the recipient?
In the UK medical visitor visa application, the organ donor needs to explain the relationship with the recipient. The applicant needs to establish a genetic or close personal relationship with the prospective recipient in the UK.
A genetic relationship means that the donor is a blood relative to the recipient in the United Kingdom. However, a close personal relationship usually means that the donor is the spouse, partner, or close friend of the identified recipient in the UK. Close relationships do not include relationships established through social media, such as Facebook.
Is organ donation for money an offence in the UK?
Yes, organ donation for financial consideration is an offence in the UK. Therefore, any reimbursement of expenses can only take place through the NHS. If during the application assessment, there is any suspicion that a payment is for organ donation, the Risk and Liaison Overseas Network (RALON) investigates the case. In the application, the visitor must also satisfy that the identified recipient is not only living in the UK legally but is also entitled to receive treatment at the NHS or in a private hospital.
Can organ donors get reimbursement from the NHS?
Yes, visitors donating organs to patients through NHS treatment can get reimbursement for expenses – only for expenses that they have incurred, and which are directly attributable to organ donation. Such expenditures may include travel costs and the opportunity cost, i.e., loss of earnings. NHS usually reimburses such expenses after the medical treatment. Therefore, in the UK medical treatment visitor visa application, an applicant needs to satisfy the funding requirements.
Care Arrangements for Children of Organ Donors
What are the care arrangements for children of organ donors?
Visiting organ donors should not bring their dependent children. However, organ donors can only bring their dependent children if there is no immediate care arrangement for the children available in the home country, and they have made satisfactory arrangements in the UK for looking after the children. A visiting organ donor needs to make the necessary arrangements, which become particularly important during hospitalization or the recuperation period.
Useful External Links
For further information and guidance, please visit the following external resources:
- UK Government’s Official Visit Guidance: This guidance document provides detailed information on UK visitor visas, including the Medical Visitor Visa for private treatment.
- National Health Service (NHS): The official website of the NHS provides information on healthcare services, treatments, and facilities available in the UK.
- Reciprocal Healthcare Agreements (RHCAs): This page provides information about the UK’s RHCAs with other countries and details on eligibility for these agreements.
- Organ Donation Policy in the UK: This document outlines the UK’s organ donation policy, including information on reimbursement for organ donors.
With this comprehensive guide, we hope to have covered all the essential information related to the UK Medical Visitor Visa. Please make sure to check the official government websites for any updates or changes in rules and regulations before starting your application process.