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.


All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart is not affiliated with immigration authorities or their application centres and will not be liable for loss or inconvenience arising from the use of this volatile information.

Our Readers Comments

  1. This is actually a really good article! It can be quite difficult to find accurate and useful information on this subject so this is genuinely really great! I can say this because I actually had to get a family visa myself, so I’ve been there! I know it can be a pretty difficult thing to navigate and I know lots of people have quite a difficult time of it, but that’s why articles like this are so great because they can actually really help people! Anyway I’ve waffled a bit but I just wanted to say really that this is really good, and definitely a really useful article – there needs to be more types of articles like these online! It would definitely make things a lot easier for a lot of people!

  2. Hello i had my appointmet yesterday and î’m wondering why they didn’t get my original documents? I ask the visa officer if they need it and i was surprise they dont even take a look on my original documents. Pls help

    • Hi there,

      For this you would need to ask the official visa handling agency as to why this is the case. If they request original documents they might keep this on record. However best to contact them direct they will be able to advise accordingly.

  3. Hi,
    I am the holder of a netherland passport and my wife has SA passport. We will be travelling together to UK. Does she need a UK visa?
    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Peter,

      Please contact the British Embassy. As they are granting the visa’s they will be able to advise if a visa is required and if so which one your wife would need to apply for.

  4. Hi, please assist me here. I’m planning to visit my boyfriend in UK by end of April this year and I need to know if there documents that will be required from him since he will be hosting me the rest of my visits and please advise all the documents that will be needed as I need to resume with my application. Thank you!

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      As this information could change at anytime you will need to contact the Embassy or official visa handling agency direct.

      They will be able to provide you with the most up to date information on what documents are required, correct procedure to follow and the cost.

  5. this is such a nice information about visa, thanks

  6. Hi
    My husband and I are planning our visit to the UK with my 8 year old daughter, for 20 days only. I’ve applied for my VISA online but I’m battling to do so for her. We are both South Africans.
    My questions are:
    – do I need to fill in the same form for her that I filled in for myself? There are a few questions that i’m not sure that i need to answer e.g her income and employment, parents in her home country: does she need her father’s information even though they do not know each other? I have a consent letter from her father because he is on the unabridged birth certificate but for a visa, do i need to put his details on the form. She is brought up by my husband, can i put my husband’s details as her father or leave the space blank
    – Do I need to fill in the page about spouse / partner for her
    – Is there an easier and quicker way to do this?

    • Hi Linda,

      For this you would need to contact the Embassy direct or an official visa handling agency to see what details they require on the form. As one does want to complete it correct first time around.

      As visa requirements could change at anytime, it is best to contact the Embassy or visa agency direct to get the most up to date info. They will be able to advise on what documents are required, how to complete the form and what information they need as the Embassy is granting the visa from their side.

  7. Hi there

    I am a first time traveller and currently in the process of collating my documents and preparing for my UK Standard visitor visa appointment. I have two questions that I would appreciate your advice/assistance on.
    1. I am not paying for my trip. I understand that I have to submit the details and bank statements of the person paying. If so, do I need to submit my bank statement?
    2. Flights, these are always a problem because you never know the accurate date of when the application centre will give you an answer. Does submitting flight quotations sufficient for my application? My accommodation in the UK is already booked, would that give my application more weight?

    Thanking you in advance.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      You would need evidence that you can support yourself during your trip, such as bank statements or payslips from the last 6 months. And to our knowledge you would need to have a confirmed ticket.

      However as visa rules and regulations could change at anytime, we do recommend you contact the Embassy direct to get the most up to date information as they are the ones who decide to grant the visa or not.

  8. I’m an international student in South Africa studying under scholarship. I am planning to visit UK this December as I’m being invited by the resident of UK , who I know very well. What sort of documents do I need to present and how do I process it?

    Thank you.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Depends on the passport you are travelling on with be determined if you require a visa for the UK.

      Please contact the UK Embassy direct advising them of what passport you are holding and they will provide you with the most up to date information if a visa is required and if so, what documents you will need when applying, the cost of the visa and the correct procedures to follow.

  9. Good Evening

    What is the amount of sufficient funds that you have to prove for duration of stay for the UK? What is the required amount per day?


  10. I have been trying to apply for my visa to travel to the UK in December but am unable to pay online. The error report I continually get is that the payment has been refused by the bank which seems impossible as we have more than sufficient funds. We have tried Visa card from Investec and Gold and Platinum Master Cards from Standard Bank. All with the same result. Can you please assist with the way forward?

    Yours sincerely

    Zoe Verhagen

    • Hi Zoe,

      Sorry to hear that you are struggling with the online payment.

      I’m afraid as this is not our online payment system we are not able to pick up the error. For this you would need to contact official visa agency you are applying through to see what the error is. They should be able to assist.

  11. Which standard visitor visa form on line should i need to fill up for my spouse & below 18 years son who are fully depended on me.

    • Hi Aminur,

      Please contact the UK Embassy they will provide you with the most up to date information on what documents are required, what forms you will need to complete, cost and correct procedures to follow.

  12. Hello! regarding documents required, do I need to have a “certified true copy” of my passport or a photocopy will do? If you submitted a certified true copy, how did you go about it? Thank you in advance!

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For this you will need to contact the Embassy direct. They will provide you with the most up to date information what what documents they require and if they need to be certified of if they will accept photocopies.

      The Embassy will also be able to provide you with the correct info on the correct procedures to follow.

  13. I am 16 and want to go to England to visit friends for a few months… what paperwork will i need and will i be able to work?

    • Hi Ally,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For this you will need to contact the Embassy direct, to get the most up to date information on what documents they would require in order for you apply for a work visa.

      British High Commission (Pry)
      Physical Address : 255 Hill Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0028
      Tel No : 012 421 7500

  14. Hi there
    I applied for a UK family visitor visa as I will be visiting friends and family. They are now asking for ‘family member traveling with me in the groups visa processing no.”? My husband is meeting me there but he is traveling on an Irish passport so does not require a visa. What do we do now? Departure date is coming close and there are no contact details to get in touch with them?
    Please will really appreciate some help in this regard.

    • Hi Leanne,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      What ever documents or further information the Embassy request you will need to supply to them. If no other family members are travelling with you, then you will need to advise them of this.

      Best of luck and hope you get your visa soonest.

  15. How much does a 5 year multiple entry visa cost?
    We have children residing in the UK and our 5 year visa has expired.
    How long will the application take to process?

    What documents are required.

    Thank you

    • Hi Annette,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For this you would need to contact the Embassy or Official visa handling agency who specialise in this area.

      They will be able to provide you with the most up to date info on what the cost would be, correct procedures to follow and what documentation will be required when applying.

  16. Hi There,

    I applied for my UK visitor Visa on 19 May, making today 10 working days. However, I am informed now that 2 of those days were bank holidays. So Tuesday will be 10 days and I leave on Wednesday! So stressed out! In your experience, has it taken much longer than this and are there people who don’t get them back in time? I have been to the UK 3 times before so it wont be denied, I am just getting very worried about the processing time! Also, cant get hold of anyone. Would going back to the application centre or Pretoria High commission help?

    Thanks so much,

    • Hi Natalie,

      Thanks for getting in touch and can quite believe the stress this has caused.

      Yes some people have waited longer then the normal visa processing time they give. This can depend if they have a backlog or not. However only the Embassy or official visa handling agency will be able to advise on.

      It is best you contact them direct to see the progress and hopefully they will be able to advise if your application has been completed and when you will receive your passport back.

      If you do not receive within the required time, you would need to make a change to your flight booking as not to be a no show.

      Best to speak to the Embassy direct and they can assist with any visa queries and the correct procedures to follow.

    • Hi Natalie

      Quick question, did you end up receiving your visa in time? or had to cancel travel arrangements?

      I ask because i am in the same boat at the moment, we applied 3 weeks ago making it 12 working days already, have not gotten my visa as yet. I leave on Saturday i.e. in Two days!! the stress and anxiety is real. Travelstart had an awesome sale on flights for which we could not resist therefore it was a spontaneous trip and did not think about the visa processing time (lesson learnt).

  17. Hi.
    I am a postgraduate student at the UCT and I’m proposing a trip to the UK in July. My cousin lives there and she’s inviting me over for for two weeks.
    I was just wondering if there’s any document required to show we are related as cousins.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Should you be applying for a visa you will need all the relevant documents.

      Please contact them Embassy direct. They will be able to provide you with the most up to date information on what documents are required, cost an correct procedures to follow. They will be able to answer any other queries you might have.

  18. 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.

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

  20. 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.

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

Have something to say...