UK Visa South Africa Cost 2023: Navigating the application process for a UK visa involves understanding the associated costs and requirements. In 2023, the fee for a 6-month visitor visa for South Africans is ZAR2,200. If you’re considering studying or joining a spouse in the UK, the fees are ZAR7,986 and ZAR33,835, respectively. Applicants can opt for a priority service at an additional cost of ZAR5,500 to expedite the processing time. Typically, after completing the biometrics, the visa processing time in South Africa for various categories like visit, study, and work takes around 3 weeks.
Table of Contents
1. UK Visa from South Africa 2023
Do South Africans Need a Visa for UK?
South Africans must obtain the appropriate UK visa for visits, work, or studies. Visa requirements vary based on the visa category.
How much is visa to UK from South Africa?
The cost of a UK visa for South African citizens depends on the visa type. Here’s a breakdown:
- Standard Visitor Visa: Around ZAR2,200 for up to 6 months.
- Long-term Standard Visitor Visa: Costs range from ZAR8,272 to ZAR18,414, depending on the visa length.
- Skilled Worker Visa: Prices range from ZAR10,538 to ZAR27,169.
- Student Visa: Around ZAR7,986.
- Marriage Visitor Visa: Approximately ZAR2,200.
- Spouse or Partner Visa: Around ZAR33,835.
Additional costs may include the Immigration Health Surcharge, translation services, and potentially legal advice.
UK Visa Processing Time in South Africa 2023
- Non-settlement visas typically take around three weeks.
- Priority non-settlement applications take about five working days for an extra ZAR5,500.
- Settlement visas usually process within 12 weeks after biometrics.
- Priority settlement visas take around six weeks for an extra ZAR12,606.
Duration of Stay for South Africans in the UK
- Visitor visas allow a stay of up to 180 days per visit.
- Spouse, student, or work visas have specific validity periods.
- Extension options exist for those meeting Leave to Remain (LTR) criteria.
Cost of Travel to UK from South Africa
Travel costs from South Africa to the UK range from US$1,750 to US$5,225 per person for a 7-15 day trip. This includes visa fees, optional priority service fees, flights, living expenses, and travel insurance.
6-Months Passport Validity for South Africans Travelling to the UK
The United Kingdom generally does not enforce a strict 6-month passport validity rule for South Africans. Nonetheless, it’s advisable to have a passport that remains valid throughout the entirety of your intended stay in the UK. Following this guideline can help you avoid potential complications during immigration checks and throughout your visit. Always consult the latest travel advisories for the most current and accurate information.
What Visa Do I Need to Live in the UK from South Africa?
The visa type you need depends on your specific situation:
- Family Visa: To join a family member in the UK.
- Spouse or Partner Visa: For those moving to live with a spouse or partner.
- Skilled Worker Visa: If you have a UK job offer.
- Student Visa: For studying in a UK institution.
- Business Visas: Includes Innovator, Start-up, and Investor visas.
- Retirement Visa: The UK doesn’t offer a specific retirement visa but older individuals may opt for an Investor visa.
- Ancestry Visa: Eligibility is based on having a UK-born grandparent.
- Youth Mobility Scheme: Limited availability for South Africans aged 18-30.
Get Expert Guidance for All Types of UK Visa and Immigration Applications, Reapplications, Refusals, and Appeals.
2. Visitor Visa UK from South Africa 2023
Do I Need a Visa for Visiting UK from South Africa?
South Africans must apply for a visa to enter the United Kingdom. The only exception is for South Africans with dual citizenship from visa-exempt countries like the USA, Australia, New Zealand, or EU Member States.
Standard Visitor Visa from South Africa to UK
The standard visitor visa allows South Africans to engage in various activities, including tourism, family visits, business engagements, and short-term studies. Understanding the eligibility criteria is crucial before submitting an application.
Essential Criteria: UK Visitor Visa Requirements for South African Citizens
UK immigration officials assess multiple factors such as the purpose of the visit, financial stability, and plans for accommodation and departure.
In the year ending September 2022, a total of 79,129 South Africans applied for visitor visa UK. 75,902 applications resolved, 73,667 visit visas granted to South African nationals, and 1,742 applications rejected. Therefore, the UK visitor visa success and refusal rate from South Africa are 97.06% and 2.30%, respectively.
How Much is Visa from South Africa to UK?
In 2023, the UK visa application fees from South Africa are categorized as follows: ZAR2,200 for a 6-month visa, ZAR8,272 for a 2-year visa, ZAR14,740 for a 5-year visa, and ZAR18,414 for a 10-year visa. All these visa categories limit your stay to a maximum of 180 days per visit.
The standard visitor visa processing time is approximately three weeks. However, applicants can opt for expedited services. A one-week priority service is available at a charge of ZAR5,500, and the next working day super priority service is priced at ZAR21,032.
Tourist Visa to UK from South Africa
The application process for a UK tourist visa involves completing online application form, paying the visa fee, and submitting biometric data at a visa application center. Additional supporting documents are also required.
Required Documentation for Tourist Visa to UK from South Africa
- Proof of intent to return to South Africa, supported by employment or educational commitments
- Bank statements verifying adequate funds for the stay
- A detailed travel itinerary and proof of accommodation, such as hotel reservations
Show Money for UK Tourist Visa for South African Citizens
Applicants must prove they have sufficient funds—typically between GBP 3,000-5,000—to cover all expenses for the UK trip. The required amount varies depending on the number of travelers and the trip’s duration.
Can My South African Girlfriend Visit Me in the UK?
A Standard UK Visitor Visa is required for your South African girlfriend to visit the UK. The process involves an online application, payment of the visa fee, and biometric data submission.
London Visa Requirements for South African Citizens
The standard visitor visa is suitable for trips specifically to London. The procedure involves completing an online form, document verification, and biometric data submission.
Other Visit Visa from South Africa to UK
- Marriage Visitor Visa: If you intend to marry or register a civil partnership in the UK, the Marriage Visitor Visa is your go-to option. UK Visa Fees South Africa 2023: ZAR2,200. Duration: Up to 180 days.
- Private Medical Treatment Visa: Should you be traveling to the UK for private medical treatment lasting between 6 and 11 months, you’ll need to apply for a Medical Treatment Visitor Visa. UK Visa Fees South Africa: ZAR4,400. Note: Attendants must apply as visitors.
- Visiting Academics: South African academic professionals planning to engage in research or educational exchange can opt for a 12-month Academic Visit Visa. UK Visa Cost South Africa 2023: ZAR4,400.
- Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE): For specific short-term paid tasks like lecturing or assessing, the PPE visa is available for up to 30 days. UK Visa Cost South Africa 2023: ZAR2,200.
- Parent of Child Student Visa: For parents whose children are enrolled in fee-paying day schools in the UK, a 12-month Parent of Child Student Visa is available. UK Visa Price South Africa 2023: ZAR11,682.
- Transit Visas: For brief transits through the UK en route to another country, a transit visa is needed. Airside Transit Fee: ZAR770; Visitor in Transit: ZAR1,408.
Note: Holding a standard, marriage, or medical visitor visa negates the need for a separate transit visa.
3. Studying in the UK from South Africa 2023
UK Student Visa from South Africa
The UK Student Visa permits South Africans to pursue a range of educational opportunities in the UK, from higher education to Student Union roles.
Key Requirements: Student Visa from South Africa to UK
For a successful UK Student Visa application, South Africans must satisfy specific criteria. These include a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a UK institution and proof of English language proficiency, commonly through an IELTS exam. Financial solvency for tuition and living costs is also mandatory.
Different visa types like Child Student Visa and Short-term (English Language) Visa have distinct requirements. Adherence to the rules for each visa type is crucial.
In the year ending September 2022, a total of 892 South Africans applied for student visa UK. 925 applications resolved, 863 student visas granted to South Africans, and 57 applications rejected. Therefore, the UK student visa success and refusal rate for South Africans are 93.30% and 6.16%, respectively.
Cost of British Visa in South Africa for Student Applications
The standard UK Student Visa fee is ZAR7,986, with a processing time of around 3 weeks. Expedited service is available for an additional ZAR5,500.
All students must also pay the Immigration Health Charge (IHS) at £624 annually.
Short-term English Language Visa from South Africa to UK
The short-term study visa is designed for South Africans studying English in the UK for 6-11 months, costing ZAR4,400. A 6-month course costs ZAR2,200.
Work Rights for South African Students
- Students on degree-level courses can work up to 20 hours per week during term and full-time during breaks.
- For sub-degree level courses, the limit is 10 hours per week.
- Dependents of degree-level students can work; however, those of sub-degree students cannot.
Post-Study Work Opportunities
South African graduates can avail a 2-year post-study work visa. PhD holders can get a 3-year visa.
4. Family Visas for the UK 2023
UK Visa for South Africans under Appendix FM
The family route is for those South Africans who can apply for a UK visa because of their relationship to a person settled in the UK or a British citizen. This includes spouse settlement visa, adult dependant relative, parent of a British Child visa etc.
Key Criteria: Family Visa from South Africa to UK
Applicants must satisfy essential requirements, such as a genuine relationship with a UK resident, financial stability, and English language proficiency. An Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is also mandatory for all applicants.
Family Visa Statistics
In the year ending September 2022, a total of 2,224 South Africans applied for family settlement visa UK. 1,812 applications resolved, 1,708 family settlement visas granted to South Africans, and 89 applications rejected. Therefore, the UK family (spouse) settlement visa success and refusal rate from South Africa are 94.26% and 4.91%, respectively.
Spouse or Partner Visa Requirements for South African Citizens
- Criteria: Applicants must follow the Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. UK Spouse Visa Requirements include proving a genuine relationship, financial stability, secure housing, and English proficiency.
- Duration & Progression: The visa is initially granted for 33 months and can be extended after 30 months. Applicants can seek Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 5 years, provided they continuously meet all conditions. An exceptional 10-year route to settlement is possible if specific criteria like financial stability or English proficiency aren’t fulfilled.
- Fees: The base cost of UK visa from South Africa for spouse applications is ZAR33,835. For expedited 6-week processing, an additional fee of ZAR12,606 is required, totaling ZAR46,441.
Other Family Visa from South Africa to UK:
- Fiancé(e) Visa: For South Africans planning to marry or engage in a civil partnership in the UK. The visa lasts 6 months. After marrying or forming the partnership, they can switch to a spouse or civil partner visa. UK Visa Cost South Africa 2023: ZAR33,835.
- Parent of a British Child: For South Africans with sole guardianship of a British child. UK Visa Cost South Africa 2023: ZAR33,835.
- Adult Dependent Relative: For South Africans needing extended care from a UK relative. UK Visa Cost South Africa 2023: ZAR71,498.
- Returning Residents: South Africans who were previously settled in the UK and wish to return. UK Visa Cost South Africa 2023: ZAR11,682.
5. Working Visa for UK from South Africa 2023
UK Work Visa Requirements for South African Citizens
The primary route for South Africans seeking UK employment is through the Skilled Worker Visa. Other options include visas like Innovator, Startup, Global Business Mobility, and Health and Care Worker.
Essential Criteria: Work Visa Requirements for South African Citizens
To secure a UK work visa, South Africans need to meet varying requirements based on the type of work visa they are applying for.
For most employment-based visas like the Skilled Worker visa, obtaining a job offer from a UK employer registered with the Home Office is crucial. The employer then provides a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Additional standard prerequisites include passing an English language test and providing evidence of adequate financial resources. However, for business-oriented visas such as the Innovator Founder Visa, a job offer is not required; instead, applicants must secure an endorsement from an approved endorsing body and present a viable business plan. Regardless of the visa type, demonstrating a genuine intention to work or conduct business in the UK is essential.
In the year ending September 2022, a total of 10,015 South Africans applied for work visa UK. 9,862 applications resolved, 9,593 work visas granted to South African nationals, and 216 applications rejected. Therefore, the UK work visa success and refusal rate from South Africa are 97.27% and 2.19%, respectively.
Skilled Worker Visa
South Africans can work in the UK under the Skilled Worker Visa. This visa is for those sponsored by a licensed Home Office sponsor for specific skilled roles. It offers a path to permanent UK settlement. The cost of the UK work visa for South African in 2023 stands at ZAR13,750 for up to three years and ZAR27,169 for longer durations.
Skilled Worker (Shortage Occupation) Visa
This is a specialized category of the Skilled Worker Visa with reduced fees. The cost is ZAR10,538 for up to three years and ZAR20,746 for durations longer than three years.
Health and Care Work Visa
This visa is specifically designed for qualified doctors, nurses, or allied health professionals from the South Africa who are sponsored by a licensed Home Office sponsor. It also provides a route to permanent UK settlement. The UK Work Visa for South African cost for this category in 2023 is ZAR5,434 for up to three years and ZAR10,538 for more extended periods.
Global Business Mobility Visa
A brief overview of UK work visas available for South Africans under the Global Business Mobility category, along with their 2023 fees.
- Senior or Specialist Worker: For high-level managers or specialists transferring to a UK branch. UK Visa Cost South Africa 2023: ZAR13,750 for up to three years, ZAR27,169 for over three years.
- Graduate Trainee: For individuals in graduate programs leading to specialist roles in the UK. UK Visa Cost South Africa 2023: ZAR5,698.
- UK Expansion Worker: For specialists or senior personnel expanding a business into the UK. UK Visa Cost South Africa 2023: ZAR5,698.
- Service Supplier: For individuals providing services as per UK trade commitments. UK Visa Cost South Africa 2023: ZAR5,698.
- Secondment Worker: Specifically for South Africans seconded to the UK for high-value contracts or investments. UK Visa Cost South Africa 2023: ZAR5,698.
Quick Guide to Other Work and Business Visas:
Below is a brief overview of various UK visa categories along with their associated fees for South Africans looking to work or do business in the UK.
- Start-Up Visa: For South Africans starting an innovative business in the UK. UK Visa Fees South Africa 2023: ZAR8,316.
- Innovator Visa: For South Africans with innovative, viable, and scalable businesses. UK Visa Fees South Africa 2023: ZAR22,792. Requirements include an endorsement, £50,000 investment, and B2 IELTS level.
- Innovator Founder Visa (Introduced April 2023): Replaces older Innovator and Startup visas. Streamlined for international entrepreneurs with endorsement-based approval. Leads to potential permanent UK residency for family members. Endorsement Fees: GBP1,000, Application Fees: ZAR22,792
- Investor Visa: For high-value South Africans investing in the UK. Fee: ZAR36,035.
- High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa: For South African graduates from top-50 global universities seeking employment in the UK. UK Visa Fees South Africa 2023: ZAR15,730.
- Scale-Up Visa: For South Africans with a job offer from an authorised UK scale-up company. UK Visa Fees South Africa 2023: ZAR15,730. Leads to potential UK settlement after 5 years.
- Global Talent Visa: For South Africans who are leaders or potential leaders in academia, research, arts, or digital technology. UK Visa Cost South Africa vary: ZAR10,032 (Approval Letter for initial application), ZAR3,674 (Main Applicant with Approval Letter), ZAR13,706 (Main Applicant without Approval Letter and for Dependants).
- T2 Minister of Religion Visa: For South Africans intending to undertake preaching and pastoral work. UK Visa Fees South Africa 2023: ZAR13,750
- International Sportsperson Visa: For elite South African sportspersons or coaches contributing to UK sports. UK Visa Fees South Africa 2023: ZAR5,698 (up to 12 months COS) or ZAR13,750 (more than 12 months COS).
- T5 (Temporary Worker) Visa: For South Africans in various sectors, such as seasonal, religious, or creative workers. UK Visa Fees South Africa 2023: ZAR5,698.
6. How to Apply for a UK Visa in South Africa?
UK Visa Online Application South Africa
A comprehensive guide tailored for South Africans outlining the steps to apply for a UK visa. Follow this guide from determining your visa type to getting ready for your UK trip. Note: The estimated cost is based on a UK visitor visa, and priority service could shorten the process to 15 working days from 30.
Total Time: 30 days
Step 1: Determine the Visa Type
Firstly, ascertain the specific visa category that aligns with your reason for traveling from South Africa to the UK.
Step 2: Create an Online Account
Proceed to the official UK government website focused on visas and immigration. Register an account on the UK Visas and Immigration platform.
Step 3: Fill Out the Application Form
Complete the relevant online application form, making sure that all details align with your supporting documents.
Step 4: Pay the Application Fee
Once you’ve completed the form, the system will navigate you to the online payment gateway to finalize your application fee.
Step 5: Assemble Your Supporting Documents
Depending on the type of visa, collect key documents such as your South African passport, proof of financial status, and UK accommodation details.
Step 6: Schedule a VAC Appointment in South Africa
South Africans are not qualified to use the Immigration App for identity verification. As a result, it’s vital to book an appointment at a UK Visa Application Centre (UKVAC) in South Africa.
Step 7: Attend the VAC Appointment
Arrive at the Visa Application Centre with all your supporting documents and undergo the biometric verification as per your appointment guidelines.
Step 8: Await Visa Decision
Post-submission, your application enters the processing stage. You will be informed once the decision is made.
Step 9: Passport Collection or Delivery
You can either collect your passport with the visa from the VAC or opt for a courier service for delivery.
Step 10: Prepare for Your UK Journey
With your visa secured, plan your UK travel and familiarize yourself with the terms of your visa.
Estimated Cost: 129 USD
- Application form
- Valid South African Passport
- Recent passport-sized photos
- Invitation letter (if applicable)
- Payment for visa fee in USD
- Proof of UK accommodation
- Internet access
- South African Passport
- Financial documents
Materials: Photocopies of original documents, Printed application confirmation, Postal envelope (if mailing documents)
UK Visa Application Centres in South Africa
- Durban Visa Application Centre: 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, 3rd Floor, The Atrium, Durban, South Africa
- Cape Town Visa Application Centre: Upper Ground Floor, Media Quarter Building, Corner of De Smit Street and Somerset Road, De Waterkant, Cape Town, South Africa
- Johannesburg Visa Application Centre: 2nd – 3rd Floor, 24 Central Building, Gwen Lane and Fredman Drive, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa
- Port Elizabeth Visa Application Centre: Ground Floor Building 66, Fairview Office Park, Greenacres, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
- Pretoria Visa Application Centre: 1st Floor, Menlyn Corner, Growth Point building, Corner of Lois/Atterbury Road, (Opposite to Menlyn Park Shopping Centre) Menlyn, Pretoria, South Africa
7. UK Visa Supporting Documents Requirements
What Documents are Required for UK Visa from South Africa?
Applying for a UK visa requires careful preparation and submission of several supporting documents. The type of documents required may vary based on the visa category and individual circumstances. Below is a general list of documents that South Africans may need to submit for a UK visa application:
General Documents for UK Visa from South Africa:
- Print out of the UK visa online application form
- Current valid South African passport
- Previous South African passports, if applicable
- Translation of documents not in English/Welsh
- Residential address and telephone or mobile number in South Africa
- Bank statements demonstrating sufficient funds
- Evidence of assets, if applicable
- Tax registration certificate and tax returns
Additional Documents for Specific Visa Categories:
- Invitation letter, if visiting friends, family or for a specific event
- A UK address for staying during the visit
- Travel itinerary or plans
- Certificate of Sponsorship reference number from your UK employer
- Proof of your knowledge of English
- Salary slips (for employed persons)
- Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your course provider
- Proof of your knowledge of English
- Evidence of financial capability to support your studies and living costs
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate, if applying as a spouse or partner
- Proof of your relationship with your family member in the UK
- Evidence of the family member’s immigration status in the UK
This is not an exhaustive checklist of UK visa supporting documents from South Africa, as the actual documents may differ due to personal circumstances.
It’s important to note that providing false or forged supporting documents can result in a 10-year ban under General Grounds for UK visa refusal.
If you’re unsure about what documents to include in your visa application, it may be beneficial to consult with a legal expert or immigration advisor to ensure your application is correctly prepared.
However, UKVI contact centre staff cannot give advice to South Africans about their personal circumstances
8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
UK Visa South Africa Cost 2023: Key Points
Do South Africans need a UK visa for visits?
Yes, a visa is mandatory for all types of visits. On a visitor visa, activities can include tourism, visiting friends and family, business meetings, and attending short courses, but working is prohibited. A visitor visa typically allows a stay of up to 6 months.
How do South Africans apply for a UK visa and where do they submit biometric information?
South Africans cannot use the Immigration App, and must apply online, pay the fee, and book an appointment at a UK Visa Application Centre (UKVAC) for biometrics and application submission. Biometric data can be submitted at UKVACs in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Pretoria. The process includes taking electronic photos and scanning fingers and thumbs. The photo is used for the visa vignette if the application is successful.
How long does it take to process a UK visitor visa in South Africa?
Regular visitor visa applications usually take 10-15 working days. However, a priority service is available which reduces the processing time to about 5-7 working days. In some cases, processing might extend up to 12 weeks due to factors like document verification, interviews, administrative delays, and other considerations.
How will South Africans know their UK visa status?
UK visa processing starts the day after the biometrics appointment. Applicants receive an email from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The application centre then informs about passport collection. The visa status is known only after collecting the passport.
What can South Africans do if their visa application remains unresolved after 12 weeks?
If an application remains unresolved after 12 weeks, applicants should contact UKVI. They can be reached via phone or email.
What is 10 year UK visa South Africa and how to apply for it?
A 10-year visa allows multiple entries, with each stay under 6 months. Applicants must prove frequent UK visits, intention to leave after each visit, and financial stability. The application process is similar to other visas – apply online, pay the fee, and attend a visa application center appointment.
What is the cost of 10 year UK visa for South Africans?
The cost of a 10-year UK visa for South Africans is around ZAR23,914.
Can South Africans work in the UK on a visitor visa?
No, working on a visitor visa is prohibited.
What happens if visa conditions are violated?
What options do South Africans have after UK visitor visa refusal?
If a visa application is refused, South Africans can reapply or file a Judicial Review. However, no appeals are available for visitor visa refusals, unless on human rights grounds.
What is the procedure for South Africans wishing to study or work in the UK?
What should South Africans consider before applying for any UK visa?
Applicants should review the specific requirements for the visa type, ensure all documents are current and authentic, and have clarity about their purpose of visit. Submitting all required documents, being clear in their intentions, maintaining a steady financial record, and adhering to application guidelines can increase the chances of approval.