The Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/885) set out a change to immigration and nationality fees with effect from 2 October 2017. The home office fees will not increase. The change is in respect of the exchange rate used for visa applications made from abroad.
A new Home Office Exchange Rate Policy (HOERP) is published. This uses a new set of exchange rates where payments are taken in cash or by a bank card in a currency other than Sterling. All Home Office exchange rates are set at 4% above the Bloomberg opening rate. The rates are to be reviewed every two weeks to ensure there is no significant divergence from the commercial rate.
The idea is to enable the applicants to calculate the cost of their application with greater accuracy and plan accordingly. Section 4 of the policy lists the countries which are charged in local currency, paid either by cash or online. Other countries, also listed in section 4, are neither charged in local nor Sterling but in a different currency, commonly US Dollars.
For applicants applying from countries that allow local currency payments, it would make sense to use cash or a local card to avoid the exchange rates altogether. This is of course suitable in cases where the applicants are paying for the fees themselves using their own local card or local currency. In applications where the sponsor is making payment, and living abroad, they are unlikely to have access to local cash or local cards.
Any queries to the exchange rate or the policy can be directed to Home Office by email: HOExchangeRates@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk