TB Screening programme extended October 2013

The UK”s pre-entry tuberculosis screening programme was initially announced in May 2012, in response to increasing numbers of cases of TB in the UK. The scheme gradually rolled out to sixty-seven countries with a high incidence of the disease. The introduction of pre-screening came as figures showed that there were over 9,000 new cases of TB in the UK in 2011, a 5 per cent increase on 2010. The programme was targeted at migrants after research showed non-UK born people accounted for three quarters of all new TB cases diagnosed.

When initially implemented by Damian Green, the Immigration Minister at the time, it was with the intention of saving the UK taxpayer £25 million over ten years by removing the TB screening facilities at airports as well as the obvious  savings for the NHS by preventing the importation and the spread of TB in the UK.

The United Kingdom government has now announced that, from 31 October 2013, pre-application tuberculosis (TB) screening is also required for anyone over the age of 11 travelling to the UK who is resident in one of the additional countries listed below, and intends to stay in the UK for more than six months. A certificate must be obtained from an approved clinic to demonstrate that the individual is free of TB before making a UK visa application.

Residents in the following additional countries will require TB testing as of October 2013:

  • Bolivia
  • Cameroon
  • Dominican
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru

If you are coming to the UK for less than 6 months you do not need to be tested for TB.  This includes people applying for 2, 5 and 10 year visitor visas, because the maximum stay in the UK at any one time is still 6 months.  However, if you are applying for a 6 month fiancé (e) visa for example, you will need to be tested for TB as applicants in this category must demonstrate their intention to remain in the UK for longer than six months.

If you are a parent or guardian of  a child/children under 11 years old you must take your children to an approved clinic and complete a health questionnaire for them. The clinician will then decide whether your child needs to be tested for TB. If the clinician decides not to test your child they will give you a certificate to say your child was not tested – there will be a charge for the certificate which will be payable to the clinic directly. This certificate must then be submitted with your child’s UK visa application. 

The x-ray exam, analysis, results and administration may take up to four hours, and there is a TB screening fee payable directly to the clinic.

Tuberculosis test certificates are usually valid for six months and must be submitted with the visa application. The certificate should then also be carried in the holder’s hand luggage as an immigration officer may request to see it on arrival in the UK.

UK Sponsors must in light of this –

  • Ensure any applicant from the listed countries intending to stay in the UK for more than six months undergoes pre-application TB screening at an approved clinic; and
  • Ensure that the visa application is made before the TB test certificate expires.

For further information in this respect please contact us on 0207 0012121.

Contact Newland Chase