UK visa application quick guide

With overseas visitor numbers to the United Kingdom projected to reach a massive 21 million people in 2022, it is heartening to see the travel sector rebounding strongly.

Currently South African travellers require a visa to enter the UK, however, not all nationalities require   a visa. (You can check the lastert requirements here:

Once you have established if you need a visa, the application process is relatively straightforward. These are the basic steps to follow:

  1. Choose the right visa type for your visit
  2. Complete the application form
  3. Collate the required documents
  4. Schedule a visa appointment
  5. Attend the visa interview
  6. Collect Passport from application centre.
  1. Choose the right visa type

Your purpose for visiting the UK determines the type of visa you need to apply for to enter the UK.

  • The Tourist Visa: allows you to visit family and friends, take part in events, conduct business and for medical purposes. For business travel the validity is based on the period you apply for and can vary from 6 months to 10 years.  
  • The Transit Visa: permits you to pass through border control and leave the airport if you are en-route to another country. This visa category is valid for 48 hours.
  • The Direct Airside Transit Visa: enables you to change flights without going through border control or leaving the airport and is valid for 24 hours.
  • Work Visa– for those engaging in paid work activity in the UK.
  • Study Visa– for those enrolled at study course/university.
  • Other visas: You can see the full list of visa categories here:
  1. Complete the application form

In South Africa, UK visa applications are facilitated via a TLScontact Application Centre.

Log onto the website to complete your application form here:

Once the form is completed you pay the visa fee and book your appointment at a Visa Application Centre, and receive a unique application reference number.

  1. Collate the required documents

Please note that the required documentation can change, so double-check the list at the time of the application. We recommend that you do not purchase your air ticket before you apply for your visa.

As a minimum, the documentation usually required to support your Standard Visitor Visa application is as listed below:

  • A completed and printed application form
  • Your passport (please note: your passport must be valid for 6 months from the departure date, with at least 2 blank pages)
  • Your last 3 months bank statements
  • Your latest salary advice slip or confirmation of your salary
  • Proof of residence
  • A letter confirming your employment. You must submit your business registration documents if you are self-employed.
  1. Schedule a visa appointment

Teleperformance(TLS) handle UK applications in either Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban.

Print the email confirming your appointment details, and take it with you to the UK visa application center with the original required documents, which usually include:

  • A printed copy of your appointment email
  • A receipt of payment
  • A valid passport / travel document and residence permit
  • Any supporting documents
  • The first page of your application form. 
  1. Attend the visa interview.

Every applicant needs to visit the visa application centre in person to provide biometric information, which includes a digital scan of their fingerprints. An adult must accompany applicants under 18 years old.