The British government offers longer term visitor visas for South Africans.

No matter what longer term visitor visa category one has, each visitor visa comes with a maximum 6 month (180 day per year) restriction stay in the UK.

This means that having a 10 year visitor visa (for example) does not allow for applicants to stay in the UK for the full 10 years. It simply means that South Africans have permission to enter the UK as often as they would like in the 10 year period only with a restriction that each visit cannot take longer than 6 months per year.

Not only are South Africans restricted to maximum 6 month stay per year but that there are also very strict employment restrictions. It also does not permit changing of visa status whilst in the UK.

The British government have made the following long term visitor visas available:

For further clarity, we have explained the difference between validity (duration of visa) and permitted stay. More information can be found on our duration page.

Qualifying Criteria

If you have traveled to the UK frequently (at least once a year whilst upholding the immigration rules in the past) and you continue to do so for the next foreseeable future, then this visa is for you.

If you are a first time flyer, the next applicable qualifying aspect is financial status. If you are remunerated well or if you are able to evidence to access strong supporting funds, then these longer term visas are feasible.

The main qualifying criteria for General visitor visas are as followed:

– Applicants have to show intent to reside in the UK no longer than 6 months (for each stay in the UK).
– Applicants have intent to leave the UK (and return home) at the end of their trip.
– Applicants need supporting funds to cover the costs incurred in the trip.


If you are looking for a 2 year working holiday visa, this visa is not for you. The Visitor Visa category has strict employment restrictions.

Another common misunderstanding is that South Africans think that a change of intent is permitted once they arrive in the UK. This is not the case. Changing from visitor status (whilst in the UK) to employment or settlement status is not easily permitted.

Processing Time

On average it takes between 10 to 15 working days to get the visa approved once submitted with Teleperfomance.

Factors that delay any visa application relates to criminal convictions where more than 6 months have been spent in prison and if visa applications had been previously refused.

Cost of the visa

Attached below is a cost break down of the UK’s visitor visas. The British High Commission fluctuate this fee on a monthly basis.

For a more case specific cost breakdown, please be encouraged to contact us.

Other Types of Visitor Visas

To find out more about the various types of visitor visa categories, take a look at our Special Visitor Visas.

The Next Step

If you found the above information helpful, just imagine having a company that walks you through each step of the visa application, one step at a time.

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Move Up operate on a full refund guarantee, that in the unlikely event of not being awarded your visa first time round, their case fee will be refunded in full.

Contact Move Up now to find out more about how we can help you.

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