Students submitting an application for a visa of more than 6 months in duration will be required to pay the immigration health surcharge (IHS) for access to the National Health Service (NHS).
The surcharge is mandatory for anyone wishing to enter the UK to study on a Tier 4 visa. Paying the IHS means that you will be entitled to use the National Health Service in the UK. You will have access to emergency health care and will not be charged for hospital treatment or further medical treatment. However please note that you will still need to pay for prescriptions, dental treatments and eye tests.
The fee you pay is based on the duration of your visa rather than the duration of your course. The surcharge will be a fee of £300 per year for each year you are in the UK. Where your stay in the UK includes part of a year you would be charged £150 for periods of 1-6 months and £300 for periods of 6-12 months. For example, if you are doing a 12 month Masters course you would be charged £450. This is because your visa will be issued for a total of 16-17 months. You can find out how much will be expected to pay using the fee calculator on the UKVI website.
UPDATE: from 1 October 2020 the IHS fee for Tier 4 students will increase to £470 a year, Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) applicants will pay the same amount. Other applicants who are liable to pay the IHS will be charged £624 a year.
You will be required to pay the full fee for the entire duration of your stay in advance. The payment is made as part of your visa application, and your visa will not be granted if you have not paid the fee or if you have paid the incorrect amount.
You can find more information about the health surcharge on the UKVI website.
Information about registering with a GP can be found on the Student Support and Wellbeing webpages.