This page caters for our fortunate South Africans  that get to experience cruise ships (either as a place of work or as a place of vacation).

Often, we get asked by travelers which UK visas best apply to their cases.

What happens often is that South Africans (hereafter referred to as “applicant”) starts their journey from Southampton (in the United Kingdom). It means that the applicant has to fly to the UK first, pass through the UK border (with permission granted in the form of a visa).

To best address this, we need to address the applicants intent.

Some applicants see this “transit” as a chance to see the UK (tourist destination spotting or to see friends or family in the UK). We understand the thought “well I am there, so might as well do X”.

Others, we have witnessed, just want to smash and grab their cruise vacation. The sooner they get on board, the sooner they can relax.

Therefore, to best answer the question: “which UK visa is best?” we have to first identify the expect duration of stay in the UK.


Option 1 of 2: Stop overs less than 48 hours

Applicants that arrive in the UK (by air) and depart from Southampton (by sea) within 48 hours, can consider the UK’s Visitor in Transit visa as their best option.

In theory, the British government only makes this visa available to South Africans who need to catch connecting flights from different airports.

The British governments concern with these cases is that applicants distract themselves with tourism and miss their connection (and breach their visa conditions). Therefore, the British governments visa officials are sensitive to travel intent that the applicant has in these cases.

This Visitor in Transit visa £28 cheaper (£59 as opposed to £87) when compared to the only other alternative.

Option 2 of 2: Stop overs longer than 48 hours

In cases where the applicant decides to spend a little of time in the UK before going to board their cruise, the next best option is the UK’s Tourism Visitor visa.

This makes provision for applicants to spend a maximum of 180 days (per year) in the UK.

Further details can be found here: