Learn about UK visa requirements for South Africans

Whether you’re thinking of relocating to the UK or just going for a visit, it’s important to find the correct solution for your individual circumstances. Here you'll find everything you need to know about UK visas to ensure your application has the greatest chance of success.

Move to the UK

If you are coming to the UK to visit, study or work you may need a UK visa. Whether or not you need a visa and which visa is correct for your individual circumstances depends on the following factors:

The new UK immigration rules

As Brexit approaches, the UK is changing their visa process from 30 December 2020. Under the UK new visa rules, a point system will be introduced that will only allow those with 70 points to be given a visa and entry to UK. 

The visa routes you need to know about

UK Ancestry visas

If you have a family connection in the UK, you could be eligible for an ancestral visa. You can stay in the UK for five years on this visa with the option to apply for a UK visa extension. You could also be eligible to apply to settle in the UK permanently.

UK business visa & Investor visa

To travel for business-related activities you must apply for a Standard Visitor visa. As a business visitor, the longest you can stay in the UK is six months.

The Tier 1 Investor visa allows individuals born outside of the UK the opportunity to invest, live and work in the UK. To qualify for this visa option, you must have a minimum of £2,000,000 investment funds.

UK working holiday visa

You can live and work in the UK for up to two years on the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

UK student visas

To study at a school or university in the UK as someone who was born outside of the UK, you will need a UK Tier 4 visa. This allows you to live and work in the UK if you have a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor.

UK visitor visas

Travel to the UK for up to six months on a short-stay UK visitor visa.

UK permanent residency & Indefinite leave to remain

Permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) is an immigration status that allows you to live and work in the UK for an indefinite amount of time.

UK spousal visa

A UK spouse visa allows a husband or wife (that are non-European Union (EU) citizens) of a British national or someone who holds indefinite leave to remain to live with their partner in the UK.

Working on a UK Tier 2 visa

It’s crucial to get a UK work permit for south African citizen wanting to live and work in the UK. You can apply for a Tier 2 general work visa if you’ve been offered a skilled job in the UK and you are from outside of the EEA and Switzerland. You must be employed by a licensed sponsor to apply for this work permit visa. 


What if you’ve overstayed your UK visa?

If you have exceeded your legal time limit in the UK and remain there on an expired visa you are considered an overstayer. You are an illegal resident if you enter the UK on an invalid visa.