Hot off the Press – UK Priority Visa for South Africans

The UK Border Agency has introduced a priority UK Visa service for people in South Africa.

Passport Plane Ticket

For an additional fee, you can opt to have your UK Visa application processed ahead of others should you need to travel to the UK at the last minute. It must be noted that only a limited number of priority UK Visas will be sold on a daily basis – it’s on a first come, first serve basis.

How to apply for a Priority Visa?

  • Only those applying for the UK Visitor’s Visa can have their application prioritized
  • Complete the usual UK Visa application form online
  • Setup your appointment at your closest VFS Global Visa Application Centre. They can be found in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth
  • As of 17 November 2011, the cost of the UK priority Visa is R675 – this payment is made over and above the cost of the UK Visa (currently R1026 for the short term UK General Visitor’s Visa) and must be done at the VFS Application Centre by Debit/CC (Visa & MasterCard accepted)

This new service from the UK Border Agency does not guarantee your UK Visa application will be successful. In other words, you must meet all the requirements of UK immigration and have all the required, legit documents with you at the time of applying.

Extended processing time can occur if…

  • You’ve been refused a UK Visa before
  • You’ve been refused entry to the UK before
  • You’ve been deported or removed from the UK
  • You’ve previously overstayed your Visa
  • You’ve been refused a Visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America or any of the Schengen countries
  • You’ve been convicted in any country

How long does the UK Visa take?

As per usual there’s no clarity from the UK Border Agency as to how long the Visa takes to process. From experience I can tell you normal applications (without priority), usually take anything from 5 – 15 working days. With the UK priority Visa service you can expect your passport back in less than 5 days. Let us know (in the comments below) your experiences of the priority UK Visa.

Photos: Ian Kershaw & Jk5854

Our Readers Comments

  1. Hi iam Mr abdifitah I live in south Africa nationality somalia I have a South Africa travel document can I get visa for purpose.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m afraid we do not specialise in visa related queries for foreign passport holders. Please contact the Embassy direct or official visa handling agency. They will be able to advise on correct procedures to follow and what documentation will be required and cost.

  2. I noticed this article is a little out of date (2011) – The Cost for Priority Visas has now changed to R5220 per applicant (April 2018), they only really tell you it can take much longer than 5 days (9 or more) after you’ve applied and paid. I’ve applied for Visas from the USA, France, Greece and Canada and all of them went smoothly. I must commend France, who only takes 2 (two) days – for R1000 per applicant, normal processing time. I can’t believe I’ve paid R10440 for two of us, and now I have to consider paying even more to change the flights, and if I do contact them tomorrow I will have to probably pay R200 or more for the call. I realize starting three or two months in advance is the safest, but that is not always possible. The worst is how easy it is for people from the UK to travel here, when will we start extorting the first world like they are clearly extorting us? Excuse my stress rant, not much else I can do at this point 🙂

  3. Hello Everyone,
    I applied for my Priority UK general visit visa 6 working days back from pretoria. As with most of the experiences above i havent received any response yet besides the online TLS Contact visa tracker saying its awaiting decision. 🙂

    Will let everyone know once I get it…am planning to travel on 20th.


    • I am in a similar situation, did you end up getting your Passport and Visa back in time? leaving on the 24th (two days… eep)

  4. Good afternoon
    I have a challenging situation on hand, my best friend a UK citizen, 27 year old grandson died and i have been asked to come over to give them support. All expenses will be paid by him, air ticket , accomodation etc . so no expense to myself as i am a pensioner and dont earn much. What do i do to acquire a visa speedily and what are the costs involved,and time frame never done this before, been to china 3 times with me then employer I stay in boksburg gauteng.

    Thanking you

    Yours sincerely
    Edith Childs

    • Hi Edith,

      Firstly condolences to your friend and her family on the passing of their grandson.

      For this I would suggest contacting the Embassy direct as they are granting the visa’s. They will look at your case and will be able to advise what documents you would need to submit when applying, what visa you need to apply for, the correct procedures to follow as well as the cost.

      Best of luck and hope you get your visa soonest.

  5. Good day,

    We applied for our UK Ancestral Visas on the 11th of January 2018 and paid Priority. We were supposed to get our Visas today and we are flying tomorrow night but we haven’t received any communication as to why we don’t have them yet.

    Kind regards
    Marius Nunes

    • I am in a very similar situation as you right now, and it’s been 7 days (priority paid), and I leave on Tuesday, so I am praying it is there tomorrow. What did you do Marius and did you manage if you don’t mind me asking?

  6. I applied for UK visa prioraty service and still didnt receive my passport back, i applied 11 days ago, they said with prioraty serivce should take 5 business days, probably its because of the holidays,( Christmas and new years)
    So i had to delay my flight for a week more.
    Hope i get it soon. Thank you

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