February 17, 2009

From March 3, 2009, South African nationals will require a visa to enter or transit the UK no matter what the purpose or length of their stay. There is a Temporary Exemption through mid -2009.

If you are a South African national who has traveled to the UK recently and you have evidence of this visit in your current passport (i.e., a UK entry stamp), you can enjoy a temporary exemption to the new visa requirements. This means a visa is not necessary if you are traveling through the country, visiting for less than six months, and you do not plan to work in the UK.

If the evidence of entry is in an expired passport, you will not qualify for the temporary exemption detailed above.

Visa Categories & Qualifications

You must show proof of evidence in the form of original documents that verify the intent to leave the UK after 6 months and that you have enough funds to support yourself during the visit.

Please see www.ukvisas.gov.uk for further details such as visa types and permissible activities.

Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) & Qualifications

This visa is for those who wish to travel through the UK or leave the airport. If this is the case, you must provide evidence of a UK boarding pass within 24 hours of arriving, prove that you don’t plan to change airports, show all travel-related documents, and verify you will not be passing through the UK Immigration Control.

Regular Travel to the UK

If you wish to visit the UK regularly, it is necessary to apply for a long-term visa which is subject to visitor conditions (e.g. maximum 6-month stay). This visa is valid for multiple entries (one, two, five, and 10 years).

Visa Application & Processing

When applying, you must appear in person at a Visa Application Center (VAC). The visa is valid for up to 6 months and you can enter as many times as you like during this time. Process times can take as little as five days and as long as 15, so please take this into consideration when planning a trip. For more information, you may contact your global immigration consultant at Pro-Link GLOBAL.