UK Travel Visas


The simplified Visitor Visa system has four categories:

You need to apply for this Visa if you want to visit the UK:

  • for leisure, e.g. on holiday or to see your family and friends.
  • for business, or to take part in sports or creative events.
  • for another reason, e.g. to receive private medical treatment.


Short-Term Visit Visa
Allows you to go to the UK for a maximum of 6 months (or a maximum of 12 months if you are accompanying an academic visitor).


Long-Term Visit Visa
Valid for 1, 2, 5 or 10 years. The application fee is higher than for a short-term visit visa and is granted if:

  • You have a frequent on going need to be in the UK.
  • You may be given a visa for a shorter period than requested if you don’t do have sufficient motivation to substantiate your application. You won’t get a refund of the application fee if you get a shorter visa or your application is refused.
  • Your visa may be cancelled and you may get a long-term ban on visiting if your travel history shows you’re repeatedly living in the UK for extended periods.

Under certain conditions you may need a visa to pass through the UK in transit.

To apply for a transit visa you must be:

  • in transit to another country with enough funds and the intention to travel on;
  • able to prove you can enter that country;
  • able to show that the only purpose of your visit to the UK is transit.


Direct Airside Transit Visa (Staying at Aiport)

  • Apply for a Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) if you’ll be changing flights in the UK and won’t be going through UK border control.
  • DATVslast for up to 24 hours.
  • You can’t apply for this visa if you need to go through immigration (‘cross the border’) e.g. to check in your luggage on to a connecting flight – you need to apply for a Visitor in Transit visa instead.
  • You may need a Direct Airside Transit visa (DATV) if you’ll be changing flights in the UK without going through immigration control and you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.


Visitor in Transit Visa (Leaving Airport)

  • Apply for a Visitor in Transit visa if you’ll be going through UK border control but leaving the UK within 48 hours.
  • You can also apply for a long-term Visitor in Transit visa if you can prove you need to frequently pass through the UK multiple times, over a longer period.
  • You may need a Visitor in Transit visa if you’ll be going through immigration control but leaving the UK within 48 hours and you’re:

You must apply for a Marriage Visitor visa if:

  • you want to get married or register a civil partnership in the UK.
  • you want to give notice of a marriage or civil partnership in UK.
  • you’re not planning to stay or settle in the UK after your marriage or civil partnership.
  • you meet the other eligibility requirements.

You can apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa if you:

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • be a student examiner or assessor;
  • take part in selection panels for the education, arts or research organisation you’re invited by as a highly qualified academic;
  • give lectures at a higher education institution, as long as it’s not a part-time or full-time role;
  • examine UK-based pilots so they meet the standards of the country you come from, by invitation of an approved UK training organisation regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority;
  • provide advocacy in a particular area of law;
  • take part in arts, entertainment or sporting activities including broadcasting;
  • take part in fashion modelling assignments;
  • do minor activities related to your work or business overseas, e.g. meetings.

You can’t:

  • do specific paid work unrelated to your main job or area of expertise at home or sell merchandise, other than what’s allowed by your visa;
  • extend this visa or switch to another visa;
  • live in the UK for extended periods;
  • get public funds;
  • study – except for 30 days of incidental study;
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership;
  • bring family members (‘dependants’) with you on your application – they must apply separately.

You must always show that:

  • you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit.
  • you’re able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of your trip.
  • you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey and any other costs relating to your visit.
  • any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, are allowed by the Visitor Rules.
  • the reason why you need to come to the UK is unlikely to change while your visitor visa is valid.
  • you plan to leave the UK at the end of each visit.

What you can do:

  • take part in any of the business-related activities mentioned in the Visitor Rules.
  • study for up to 30 days, as long as it’s not the main reason for your visit.
  • take part in an exchange programme or educational visit (if you’re under 18).

What you can’t do:

  • do paid or unpaid work.
  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits.
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership.
  • get public funds.

The New Immigration Regulation dictate that as from 01 June 2015 children require Unabridged Birth Certificates, along with their passports, when travelling.  Should you be travelling with children, please ensure that you apply for these certificates timeously. SA Travelbug can assist you to obtain these.

The additional visa requirements for children are:

  • Adequate arrangements must have been made for their travel to, reception and care in the UK.
  • If the applicant is not applying or travelling with a parent or guardian based in their home country or country of ordinary residence who is responsible for their care:
  • that parent or guardian must confirm that they consent to the arrangements for the child’s travel to, and reception and care in the UK.
  • Where requested, this consent must be given in writing
  • A child who holds a visit visa must either:
    (a) hold a valid visit visa that states they are accompanied and will be travelling with an adult identified on that visit visa; or
    (b) hold a visit visa which states they are unaccompanied
    If neither applies, the child may be refused entry unless they meet the requirements of the previous paragraph.

Travel Insurance including medical cover is required when travelling. It must cover the duration of the requested visa. Request Travel Insurance here.

With each Visa there is a different cost based in the foreign currency of the Country you are visiting, which together with our volatile South Africa Rand, results in the costs of Visas fluctuating.  In order for us to provide you with a quote, reflecting the current cost for the Visa you require, please Click Here.

  1. A thorough and detailed information gathering process ensuring you are provided with the latest current information.
  2. Guidance as to the best submission process and submission centre regarding such applications.
  3. Counselling throughout the preparation process, providing you with checklists and templates for the supporting documents required for your application.
  4. Completing and submitting your online application.
  5. Arranging the couriering of your documents.
  6. Assisting in liaising and obtaining where possible supporting documentation and accreditation from the required 3rd parties. Noting that in some instances the time frame of such documentation is beyond the control of SA Travelbug.
  7.  Arranging for the translation of required supporting documents.
  8. Preparation of a complete application dossier for presentation to Immigration Authorities, as required.
  9. If required we will also arrange your Consular appointment.
  10. To maintain the confidentiality of the client’s information and documents and to only release these details to the noted Government officials and those required by law or in order to expedite the application, unless the Applicant provides the authority to release information or documents to any other party.pplicant provides the authority to release information or documents to any other party.

Most applications are processed within 15 days.

Number of days to process application 2 days 3 days 5 days 10 days 15 days 30 days 60 days
% of applications decided 19% 61% 92% 99% 99% 99% 100%


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