This page caters for South African passport holders on route to another country and find themselves with a little time to spare in the UK.
If South Africans are looking to spend more than 3 weeks in the UK, we recommend taking a look at our Visitor Visa page.
There are different provisions made available for different duration spent in the UK. Therefore, to best help address options available, we need to be specific about the duration of stopover.
Short Stay Visa Options
There are 3 visas available to South Africans in this position.
Each of these three visas have different costs and different qualifying conditions. We have listed the options from cheapest to most expensive.
Option 1 of 3: DATV (UKIASA Case I1) applies if the applicant (South African) is stopping over and staying in an airport for the 24 hour period (or less). The key to making this visa applicable is that the applicant needs to be aware that they are not permitted to exit the airport (and pass through border control) during their stop over.
Option 2 of 3: Visitor in Transit (UKIASA Case I2) applies if the applicant (South African) is looking to exit the airport (and pass through the UK border). The challenge here though is that the applicant is not permitted to exit and enter the same airport. So, if the applicant wishes to exit the airport, rush into the UK and rush back to the same airport, to leave within 24 hours, this visa does not apply. It only applies to South African that need to change airports during a short stop over.
Option 3 of 3: Tourist Visitor Visa (UKIASA Case E1) applies to cases where the applicant wishes to enter and exit the same airport within 24 hours. This would require a full visitor visa, at standard visa rate (not discounted). It is therefore not a cost effective or time efficient process (and hence short stop overs less than 24 hours are not encouraged).
In these short trips to the UK, where applicants only expect to be in the UK for 48 hours (or less), there are only two options available.
Option 1 of 2: Visitor in Transit (UKIASA Case I2) applies in the event that the applicant will be arriving at one airport and then departing at another. This visa makes provision for applicants to go and spend a night at a hotel.
This visa is not designed to allow entry and exit from the same airport. Nor is it made available in cases where the applicant wishes to conduct tourism (and go sightseeing). 48 hours in the UK is not enough time to experience the UK.
Option 2 of 2: Tourist Visitor Visa (UKIASA Case E1) makes provision for cases where applicants wish to exit and return to the same airport (ie arrive and exit Heathrow and then return to Heathrow within 48 hours).
These are suspicious cases, which drug traffickers tend to follow. It is stress filled travel, that does not take consideration of human traffic (border queues) and car traffic. These external factors make movement in the UK slower than most anticipate.
Case E1 is available to applicants who are desperate to spend a night in a nearby hotel (understandable).
Given that we deal with these visa applications on a daily basis, we know that there is a high probability that the applicant in question has already paid for their flight (not recommended but happens frequently). Further to this, Move Up’s team of visa consultants finds that applicants generally do not have much time left to get their visas.
Don’t worry. We got this covered. If you are desperate to resolve the visa needs soonest, we encourage interested applicants to contact us.