Reimbursement of visa costs & Visa Loan Scheme

Recommendations on reimbursing visa costs

The University recommends the following visa reimbursement policy:

  • Departments are always expected to pay for the first visa of a new employee if either a Tier 2 (General) or a Tier 1 (Exceptional Promise/ Talent) visa and any premium appointment fees if agreed necessary by the department. Visas may be paid for out of grant funding, please be aware that visa costs for people already in the UK are a taxable benefit and should be charged as such.
  • Departments may decide to pay Tier 2 visa extensions. Please note the tax point above.
  • Departments may decide to pay the premium appointment fee for visa extensions in order to ensure that the employee’s work related travel plans are not interrupted.

It is recommended that departments should not pay for Tier 5 visas, Indefinite Leave to Remain visas, any Immigration Health Surcharges, applications for British citizenship and any dependant related visa costs. 

Please note that reimbursement of all visa fees are regarded as a taxable benefit unless it is a new employee applying for their visa outside the UK.

For more information on the reimbursement of visa fees, please contact james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk

Visa Loan Scheme

PLEASE NOTE: the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) increased from £200 to £400 per year on 8 January 2019, affecting all visa applications submitted after this date. Our Visa Loan application form has been updated to reflect the new higher fees.

The University of Oxford is able to provide an interest free loan facility to assist current or prospective non EEA employees and their dependants with payment of UK visa fees, Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) costs, fees for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications, and/or fees for British citizenship applications. The loan scheme is also open to current European employees and their dependants to assist with fees for British citizenship applications.

Loans are available for any visa applications submitted after 1st August 2018, and British citizenship applications submitted after 1st January 2019. If there are exceptional circumstances, departments and faculties have discretion to allow loans for applications made before this date.

Since the employing department or faculty will be required to underwrite the loan, all loans are subject to the approval of the employee’s department or faculty. Departments are under no obligation to support visa loan requests.

The scheme is not, unfortunately, available for ‘college only’ appointments.

The maximum loan allowed under this scheme is set at £7,500.

MORE INFORMATION

The loan scheme can be used to cover any or all of the following costs for the employee and their dependants:

  • UK visa fees, including non-sponsored visa applications like Ancestry or Spousal visas
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fees
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain applications
  • Applications to Naturalise as a British citizen
  • Applications to Register a child (under 18) born in the UK as a British citizen

The loan scheme cannot be used to cover the cost of:

  • Any Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) application and associated IHS fees
  • Any visa costs that the department/ faculty have agreed to reimburse
  • Any legal fees
  • Enrolling Biometrics details
  • English Language tests or UK NARIC verification
  • Tuberculosis certificates
  • Travel to and from visa application centres
  • Premium appointments or extra fees to speed up application approval times
  • Visas for dependants who are not spouse/partner or child of the applicant

Conditions of the loan

The loan will be recovered over a maximum 24 month period unless the duration of the contract, contract extension, or visa applied for is shorter, or if a shorter period is specified by the applicant; in which case the loan will be recovered over the period of the contract, contract extension, visa, or the period specified by the applicant.

If the employee leaves University of Oxford’s employment before the loan is repaid the outstanding debt will be deducted from their final payment, or, if this is insufficient, the applicant will have to repay the outstanding balance within 14 days of the last day of employment.

Prospective Employees

The loan also extends to prospective employees and their dependants and if a loan is needed at the point that the visa fees and/or IHS is paid, this can be arranged. However, the prospective employee must have been issued with an offer of employment, and have already met any conditions such as providing satisfactory references. If a prospective employee then decides not to take up the employment offered, they will have to repay the loan within 14 days of the notification of the decision not to take up employment. A prospective employee can also wait until starting work and then apply for a loan for the visa costs just incurred.

Procedure

Step 1: The applicant completes Section 1 of the Visa Loan application form (80kb) and emails this to their departmental/ faculty HR contact. PLEASE NOTE - in uncommon cases where different types of applications are being submitted by the main applicant and their dependants, a separate Visa Loan application form will need to be completed and submitted for each type of application.

Step 2: The departmental/faculty Head of Department or delegated authority completes Section 2 of this form and the form is emailed to james.baker@admin.ox.co.uk or tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk of the Staff Immigration Team.

Step 3: SIT will check the application, then inform the applicant that the loan has been approved, and arrange for Payroll to make the loan payment. The application form covers the arrangements for making payments and gives authority to make deductions in salary.

SIT process applications and pass on the information to Payroll each week on Tuesday afternoon.

  • Where the loan is being paid into a UK bank account the applicant should receive confirmation of the planned payment from the Payments team on Friday, and the money should reach their account on the following Wednesday.
  • Where the loan is being paid into an Overseas bank account the Payments team will process the payment the following Monday, and the money should reach their account sometime in that week. If the money has not arrived by the end of the week the applicant should contact SIT.