UK Visa Requirements Updated

Earlier this year the UK launched a new online visa application for South Africans which streamlines the process considerably. Access UK has a shorter and more logical application form compared to the old version Visa4UK and in addition to this the application fee is displayed in Rands and Pounds which makes things even simpler.

Access UK is the online application service which has been launched for South Africans applying for a:

  • Standard Visitor visa
  • Marriage Visitor visa
  • Permitted Paid Engagement visa

You will still need to use the old Visa4UK system if you are applying for a study or work visa.

london uk

First step

Visit the Access UK site here to begin the process. Note that you will be able to save and edit each stage of your form as you go along and you can log in and out as you wish.

If you are unsure about which visa to apply for, use the following easy questionnaire to receive your answer.

UK visa requirements

UK visa requirements

UK visa requirements

The Standard Visitor visa has replaced the:

  • Family Visitor visa
  • General Visitor visa
  • Child Visitor visa
  • Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists
  • Sports Visitor visa
  • Entertainer Visitor visa
  • Prospective Entrepreneur visa
  • Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa
  • Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa

Check your eligibility for the visa you require here.

Which documents will I need on hand?

  • Your current passport (having past passports on hand does help as you will be required to list the details of past trips).
  • Evidence that you are able to financially support yourself for the duration of your trip (for example 6 months of bank statements/ payslips).
  • You require at least one blank page in your passport, and it must be blank on both sides.
  • Your passport must also be valid for 6 months after your trip.

If you wish to provide as many supporting documents as possible, check the complete list here.

Any supporting documents you submit will be returned to you afterwards.


To apply for a standard visit visa to the UK, you need to:

  1. fill in the application form and answer in English
  2. pay for the visa fee online
  3. print out your form
  4. book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre near you with your original documents and certified copies of those documents

If your require a UK transit visa read the following:

How long in advance should I apply?

2 months is ideal, 1 month is cutting it fine but perfectly acceptable.

Ready to start your application for a Standard Visitor Visa?
Begin here.

You will be asked to submit your email address and create a password. You can now save each page of your application as you go along and come back to it at a later stage when you have more time.

Remember you must be able to attend an appointment in person at one of the following visa application centers: Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban.

Fill out your name, your address and your contact number.
UK visa requirements
Fill in how long you have lived at your current address, whether you own or rent it, your marriage status, details concerning the issue of your passport, whether you have owned a previous passport, details from that passport, your ID number, whether you are employed, details of your employer, how much you estimate your trip will cost (in Rands or Pounds).
Fill in information about your finances, whether someone else will be assisting you financially with the trip, your savings.
Fill in information about your spouse (if you have one).
Fill in information about any dependants you may have.
Fill in information about your parents.
Answer a series of questions about any previous travel to Schengen states, the USA, Australia or Canada.
Answer about any other travel you have undertaken in the past 10 years.
Fill in information about your proposed trip to the UK (where you intend to stay etc).
UK visa requirements
UK visa requirements
Answer a series of security questions.

Choose your length of Visa (6 months, 2 years or longer).
Good to know: Priority visa applications and the payments for these can be done through this online service.


UK visa requirements costs
The 6 month visa costs R1653 at the present exchange rate and will be processed within 15 working days.
For a speedier service you can pay more.
UK Visas and Immigration will contact you if it will take longer to process your application. This might happen if:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • your application is complex

Attending your appointment

Remember to bring along:

  • your passport and a certified copy of your passport
  • the original and a photocopy of all the supporting documents you need for your visa
  • certified translations of any supporting documents that are not in English or Welsh

Important to note:
Be early for your appointment. If you are late, you forfeit your fee. Also, once you’ve attended your appointment, if your visa is denied, the amount you paid online is not refundable.

The information included above is accurate at the time of publishing but must not replace direct communication with the embassy.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Visa requirements change from time to time that is why you need to be updated especially if you are to apply for a work visa or a retiree visa.

  2. My father and grandfather were British, I have a British passport, valid till 2018, my son went on a working holiday to Britain for a short while years ago after finishing matric, if he wants to apply for British citizenship, is there any advantage anymore to having family born in Britain if u r a grandchild.

    • Hi Astrid,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For this you would need to contact the Embassy direct. They would be able to advise accordingly, providing you with the most up to date information.

      Best of luck.

    • Hi Astrid. You will have to apply for an Ancestral Visa which can lead to citizenship after 5 years. Not citizenship unfortunately.

  3. I would like to know if I can apply for my visa 6 months in advance as I will be overseas in America 2-1 month prior to my entry into the U.K.

    • Hi Kirsten,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      To my knowledge you are only able to apply up to 3 months prior to departure. However as we do not specialize in visa’s I would suggest you contact the Embassy or official visa handling agency direct and they will be able to advise accordingly.

  4. Hi Astrid, if you were born in Britain then your son can obtain a passport and citizenship through you. If you were not born there then it stops at you. We have the same situation with my son

  5. Hi we are travelled per cruise boat next year and only need a one day visa to visit Southampton? Is that possible?

    • Hi Desire,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I am not sure, however it would still cost the same.

      I would suggest contacting the official visa agency you are applying through and they would be able to answer any visa related queries you might have.

  6. Who can I get in touch with if I have questions. And don’t need to pay to get answers.

  7. I am a British citizen, my husband South African, so he needs a visa to visit the UK. My father in the UK is very ill and we may be summoned any time. However, it may be a few months. Can my husband apply for a visa without booking a ticket? We’d obviously like him to be available as soon as we are needed.

    • Hi Alison,

      Thanks for getting in touch. To my knowledge a ticket is required when applying for a UK visa.

      However as we do not specialise in visa’s please contact the Embassy direct they will be able to advise on the correct procedures to follow, what documents are required and correct procedures to follow.

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