If you are intending on travelling to the UK (this includes England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland) for a short period of time, you will require a UK Travel visa/ UK Visitor visa to enter the UK. This entitles the visa holder multiple entry into the UK for a period of 6 months. If you are merely transiting through the UK to a second destination, you may require a transit visa. Those transiting to the USA, Canada or Australia do not require transit visas, but you must be able to show your onward ticket. You must also have a visa for your destination country e.g. USA visitor visa.
For those who intend on visiting the UK once a year or even on multiple occasions per year, it is strongly advised to apply for a UK Travel visa/ UK Visitor visa with a longer period of validity. This is to avoid the hassle of applying for a visa each time you wish to travel. It should be noted that the longer the requested validity period, the higher the British High Commission fee will be. The fees differ greatly from one visa validity to the next and applicants should be sure about how much they are about to pay before they apply.
You can apply for 4 validity periods for multiple entries into the UK: up to 6 months, up to 2 years, up to 5 years and up to 10 years. On any of these UK Travel visa/ UK Visitor visa types, one cannot remain in the UK for longer than 6 months per 12 month cycle.
If you plan to live in the UK, it is better to select a UK settlement type visa such as a UK Marriage visa or UK Dependency visa. You are also not allowed to do any sort of paid or other work whilst on a tourist visa.
The general processing times for UK Travel visas/ UK Visitor visas, from date of submission, is around 10-15 working days which does fluctuate depending whether it’s in season or not. Make sure that you start the visa application process well in advance so that you can get your visa before your intended departure date.
Visa Box offers full service visa processing where we will handle the entire visa application for you from start to finish. This includes completing your online application form, providing you with a tailor-made documents requirement list, review and approval of all documents and forms prior to submission and booking your submission appointment at the application center closest to you. UK application centers are based in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.
If you are due to travel during peak travel seasons (which includes Christmas, New Year and European Summer), it is strongly advised to begin your UK Travel visa / UK Visitor visa application up to 3 months in advance of your departure date.