UK visa requirements

The visa requirements for nationals of South Africa entering the UK have changed.  You can obtain guidance on visa requirements for South African nationals from any of our dedicated staff.

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Visa categories

I do not have a UK entry stamp in my current passport – what type of visa should I get?
There are several different types of visas which will allow you to enter and remain in the UK for up to six months (except where stated below).  The visa you choose depends on your reason for visiting the UK and how long you plan to stay. You can apply for a visa under one of the following categories:

  • General visitor (visiting family, friends or as a tourist)
  • Child visitor
  • Business visitor
  • Student visitor
  • Academic visitor (can remain up to 12 months)
  • Sports visitor
  • Entertainer visitor
  • Visiting for the purpose of getting married or entering into a civil partnership
  • Visiting for the purpose of seeking private medical treatment
  • Visitor in transit.


Please note the list above is not exhaustive.

Before applying

What do I need to know?
Whichever category you fall into, your visa application must be backed by evidence in the form of original documents.

How do I qualify for a visitor visa to the UK?
To qualify for a visitor visa you will need to show that:

  • you want to visit the UK for no longer than six months;
  • you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit; and
  • you have enough money to support yourself while in the UK, without working or needing access to public funds.


What if I only want to transit through the UK, without visiting?
If you only wish to transit through the UK without visiting, or leaving the airport, you will need to apply for a Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV). 

How do I qualify for a Direct Airside Transit Visa?
To apply for a DATV, you will need to show that:

  • you have booked an onward ticket from the UK for travel within 24 hours of your arrival;
  • you will not need to change airport in the UK;
  • you have all the correct documents that you need to enter the country you are travelling to; and
  • you will not need to pass through Immigration Control in the UK.


What if I travel to the UK regularly?
If you travel to the UK regularly, for example on business, you may like to apply for a long-term visa. The long-term visa is subject to the usual visitor conditions including a maximum stay of six months at any one time. It is also valid for multiple entries over one, two, five or ten years depending on which option you choose.  There are different requirements for other visitor visa categories.

How do I apply for my visa?
Contact our offices and speak to any of staff for information.

After applying

What happens after I have applied?
Once your application is processed, your passport and any supporting documents will be returned to the VAC for collection.

How long will it take?
The majority of visa applications are processed in less than five working days, but this process can sometimes take from 5–15 days. This is why you should apply for your visa as early as possible in advance of your planned travel date.

How long will my visa be valid for?
Your visa will normally be valid for up to six months and you can enter the UK as many times as you want during this period. Your visa will be valid from the date you intend to travel.  The validity of the visa is at the discretion of teh immigration official.  

Where can I get more information?
To find out more about entry clearance, specific guidance to help you apply and any other relevant information, call us today on 0861 781 781.

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