Applying for a UK visa from South Africa

Applying for a UK visa from South Africa can be a complex process, but with proper guidance and organization, you can successfully obtain the visa you need. This article provides a step-by-step guide for South African citizens seeking to apply for a UK visa, whether it’s for tourism, work, study, or other purposes.

  1. Determine the Type of Visa You Need

The first step is to determine the appropriate visa category for your travel plans. Common visa categories include:

  • Standard Visitor Visa: For tourism, visiting friends or family, or short-term business purposes.
  • Work Visa: For those with a job offer in the UK, such as the Skilled Worker visa or Temporary Worker visa.
  • Student Visa: For individuals who plan to study at a UK educational institution.
  • Family Visa: For those joining family members who are already settled in the UK.

Visit the UK government’s visa and immigration website to learn more about different visa types and their requirements.

  1. Complete the Online Application Form

Once you’ve determined the right visa type, complete the online application form. Visit the UK government’s visa application website ( to start your application. You’ll be asked to provide personal information, details about your travel plans, and the purpose of your visit.

  1. Pay the Visa Fee

After completing the online application form, you’ll need to pay the visa fee. Fees vary depending on the type of visa and duration of your stay. Ensure you pay the correct fee for your specific visa category.

  1. Schedule a Biometric Appointment

As part of the application process, you’ll be required to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a digital photograph). You’ll need to schedule an appointment at a UK Visa Application Centre (VAC) in South Africa, operated by TLScontact. There are VACs located in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban.

  1. Gather the Required Documents

Before your biometric appointment, gather all the required documents for your visa application. Typical documents include:

  • A valid South African passport with at least one blank page.
  • A recent passport-sized color photograph.
  • Proof of finances, such as bank statements or payslips.
  • Proof of accommodation in the UK.
  • Travel itinerary and booking confirmations.
  • Employment or study-related documents, such as a job offer or admission letter.

Check the UK government’s website for a full list of required documents for your specific visa category.

  1. Attend Your Biometric Appointment

Attend your scheduled biometric appointment at the UK VAC. Bring your appointment confirmation, application form, passport, and all required documents. Your biometrics will be taken, and you’ll submit your documents for processing.

  1. Track Your Application

After submitting your application, you can track its progress online using the reference number provided at the UK VAC. Processing times vary depending on the visa type and application volume. Generally, it takes 15 working days for a decision, but it can take longer during peak periods.

  1. Collect Your Passport and Visa

Once your visa application has been processed, you’ll receive a notification from the UK VAC to collect your passport. If your visa has been granted, it will be affixed to your passport. If your application was unsuccessful, you’ll receive a letter explaining the reasons for refusal.


Applying for a UK visa from South Africa can be a time-consuming process, but with careful preparation and attention to detail