Transit Visas Explained
Transit Visas apply when South Africans stop over in the UK (on route to another country).
South Africans on route to other countries, that are stopping over in the UK, need to address their transit status. There are exemptions to some of these cases, where South African can qualify to Travel Without a Visa.
Emphasis on these Transit applications is placed on the applicants’ intent to pass through the UK border or not.
Transit visas are for South Africans who are not going to stay in the UK for longer than 48 hours. This generally is applicable to South Africans that intend on stopping over or changing flights in the UK on route to another destination.
3 Types of Transit visas
1: Direct Air-side Transit visa (DATV)
This visa is applicable for South Africans stopping over to connect with other flights. There is a 24-hour restriction on this visa and it does not allow South Africans to pass through the UK Border Control.
The DATV is perfect for South Africans stopping over in the UK on route to Europe.
Fortunately, this DATV visa has an exemption clause that allows for South Africans with valid visas and connecting flights to the certain destinations to be exempt from applying for this visa. The visas and connected flights needed in order to qualify for the exemption are:
- New Zealand
Therefore, South Africans who have valid visas and flights on route to the above mentioned countries can stop over and change flights without needing visas. This exemption is known as “Transit without Visa”. Please note that this also includes return flights to South Africa.
2: Visitor in Transit
This Visitor in Transit visa is designed for those who have to catch connecting flights at different airports. It has a 48-hour restriction. Therefore, this visa category grants permission for South Africans to pass through UK borders for no more than 48 hours.
This visa suits South Africans arriving at Heathrow and that have to catch a connecting flight that departs from Gatwick for example.
3: General Visitor Visas
Ireland falls under the common travel area for the UK and therefor if you are transiting through the UK to Ireland, you require a visitor’s visa for the UK as opposed to a transit visa.
The general visitor’s visa also grants permission for South Africans to pass through the UK borders for at least 48 hours. Entering the UK as a General visitor has employment restrictions and well as a maximum period of applicants to remain in the UK for 6 months. Take a look at our Visitor Visa page for more information.
Further Visa Information
If you are still uncertain of which visa best suits your intended trip, try Move Up’s free online assessment. It is designed to give quick answers to identify best visa options for South Africans. Alternatively, read up on the 3 options here: