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UK Visa Application in South Africa: Fees and Eligibility Criteria

This article provides an in-depth exploration of UK Visa Application in South Africa requirements, fees, and eligibility criteria for South Africans. It highlights the importance of careful planning and preparation to increase the chances of a successful application for tourism, study, work, or family membership. What is a UK Visa?

A UK visa is a document granting worldwide citizens the right to enter, stay, or live in the UK. It is either a passport stamp or a document from a UK consulate or embassy. There are various types for different reasons.

UK Visa Application in South Africa: Fees and Eligibility Criteria
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Types of UK Visas Available in South Africa

Short-term visas

For temporary stays in the UK, typically up to 6 months. This includes popular options like:

  • Standard Visitor visa: For tourism, leisure, and visiting family and friends.
  • Short-term study visa: For focused studies or English language courses lasting up to 11 months.
  • Transit visa: For travellers passing through the UK to another country.

Long-term visas

For stays exceeding 6 months, often for work or study purposes. Examples include:

  • Work visas: For individuals with job offers and sponsorship in the UK. There are various subcategories depending on the skill level and occupation.
  • Student visa: For enrolling in a full-time degree program at a UK university.
  • Family visas: For joining family members who are UK citizens or permanent residents.

How Much Does UK Visa Cost in South Africa?

The cost of a UK visa in South Africa varies based on the type and duration of the visa. Short-term visas cost R 1970 (around £95), while longer-term visas increase significantly. You can find the exact cost using the UK government’s visa fee calculator tool: https://visa-fees.homeoffice.gov.uk/y

Eligibility Criteria for UK Visa Application in South Africa

The eligibility criteria for a UK visa application in South Africa will depend on the specific type of visa you’re applying for. Below are some general requirements that apply to most visa categories:

  • Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended stay in the UK and have at least two blank pages for visa stickers.
  • You must demonstrate a genuine reason for your visit to the UK and have evidence to support it. For example, a business visitor would need a business invitation letter, and a tourist would need proof of accommodation and travel plans.
  • You’ll need to show sufficient funds to cover your living expenses while in the UK. This can be through bank statements, payslips, or proof of sponsorship.
  •  You mustn’t have any history of overstaying visas or immigration violations in the UK or other countries.
  • You should not pose a threat to the security of the UK.

Additional Criteria for Specific Visa Types

  • Standard Visitor Visa: You might need to show proof of accommodation and return flights.
  • Work Visa: You’ll typically need a confirmed job offer and sponsorship from a UK employer.
  • Student Visa: An acceptance letter from a UK university and proof of sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses are usually required.

UK Visa Application in South Africa

The process of applying for a UK visa in South Africa involves several steps:

1. Determine Your Visa Type

Refer to the UK government website for a comprehensive list of visa types: : https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration

2. Complete the Online Application:

Choose your visa type and fill out the online application form on the UK government website, providing details about yourself, travel plans, and reason for visiting.

3. Pay the Visa Application Fee:

The UK government’s visa fee calculator can be used to determine the application fee, which must be paid online during application submission.

4. Gather Required Documents:

The required documents vary depending on the visa category. Some general documents include:

  • Valid South African passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay)
  • A copy of the online application confirmation page
  • Passport-sized photos
  • Proof of financial resources (bank statements, payslips)
  • Evidence supporting your purpose of visit (e.g., business invitation letter, proof of enrollment for studies)

5. Schedule a Biometric Appointment (if applicable):

Visa applicants in South Africa may need to undergo a biometric appointment, which involves fingerprints and a digital facial scan, depending on their visa type.

6. Attend a Visa Interview (if applicable):

Certain visa categories necessitate an in-person interview with a UK visa officer to assess your application and verify your eligibility.

7. Submit Your Application and Supporting Documents:

After gathering all necessary documents, submit your application and supporting documents via the online portal or at the visa application center as instructed.

8. Track Your Application and Collect Your Visa:

You can track the progress of your application using the online service provided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Once your visa is approved, you’ll be notified on how to collect your passport with the visa. Processing times can vary depending on the visa category and workload.

How To Track Your UK Visa Application in South Africa

  • Go to the UK Visas and Immigration online status service: https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status
  • You’ll need your GWF (Global Web Form) reference number, which you should have received in a confirmation email after submitting your online application.
  • Enter your date of birth.
  • Select the location where you applied for the visa (South Africa in your case).
  • Click on “submit”.

Here’s what you can typically see after submitting:

  • Application received: Confirms that UKVI has received your application.
  • Application submitted: Indicates your application is now under consideration.
  • Awaiting decision: Means a visa officer is reviewing your application.
  • Decision made: This signifies a decision has been made on your application (approved or refused).

How long does it take to process a UK visa application?

The processing time for UK visa applications in South Africa varies based on the type of visa, volume of applications, and completeness of the application. Standard processing time is 15 working days, but high demand may result in up to 6 weeks. Complex applications requiring additional checks or interviews may take longer, ranging from several weeks to a few months.

Can I expedite the processing of my UK visa application?Yes, applicants may opt for expedited processing for an additional fee.

Are there any additional charges associated with the UK visa application?In addition to the visa fee, applicants may be required to pay other charges such as the healthcare surcharge.

How do I contact the UK embassy for visa application in South Africa

The UK embassy in South Africa does not handle visa applications directly, but there are alternative methods for assistance.

1. Online Enquiry Form:

The UKVI website offers an online enquiry form for general visa application questions, but cannot answer individual application status-related inquiries.

2. Contact UK Visa Application Centre:

TLScontact South Africa visa application centers in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg handle visa applications, with contact details available on their website.

3. Contact the British High Commission by Phone:

The British High Commission in Pretoria offers 24/7 consular support by phone for all routine enquiries and emergencies.

  • For calls within South Africa: +27 12 421 7500 or +27 21 405 2400
  • For calls from outside South Africa: +44 1908 516666

Further Reading >>US Visa Application in South Africa: Fees and Eligibility Criteria

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