2013 UK Immigration Options

South African passport holders are required to obtain a permission stamp (in the form of a visa) in order to enter the UK. In this case, permission is granted from the British High Commissions Entry Clearance team.

The details below are the 2011 visa options for South Africans- after the 6 April 2011 amendments

UK Visas for South Africans

2013 UK Visa Options for SA passport holders.

After the 6th April 2011 visa changes, there are currently 5 main categories which South Africans can apply for. If you are not sure which visa suits your needs, please try our free online assessment.

The 5 main categories are:

The first 3 categories (namely Birth rights, Marriage rights and working visas) all offer permission to freely work in the UK. The student visas (Tier 4 category) only makes allowance for temporary work (a maximum of 20 hour work restriction per week). The visitor visas have a strict employment restrictions.

Now to further elaborate:

Birth rights

The focus here is place of birth and this emphasis requires birth certificates as a means of evidence.

Born in the UK: subject to the applicants parents being British nationals at the time of birth, entitles one to claim "British nationality" (and therefore a British passport).

Parents Born in the UK: subject to legislation for permission granted at the date of birth, applicants can claim "British citizenship through decent" (and therefore can also apply for a British passport).

GrandParents Born in the UK: for either paternal or maternal decent, applicants can claim a 5 year multi-entry visa known as "Ancestral Visa".

Great GrandParents Born in the UK: unfortunately birth rights end after two generations and applicants cannot claim any benefits thereafter.

Marriage rights

The focus here is based on what permission your partner has to remain in the UK. From there the decision to grant permission to enter the UK as a family dependent is based on the relationship legitimacy.

Please note that South Africans can claim marriage dependency if they are not married. In order to qualify as an unmarried dependent South Africans have to evidence that they have been living together in a married like environment for at least 2 years.

If your partner has a British passport: Marriage here entitles an applicant to apply for a 2 year settlement visa. Costs approximately R15 000 depending on the exchange rate. Recently gone through big changes (effective 9 July 2012).

If your partner has an EU passport: Marriage here entitles an applicant to apply for initially a 6 month visa which can then be extended for a further 5 year period. The major benefit here is that there are no UK government fees (indirectly saving you R10 000).

If your partner has a Non EU passport with valid UK visa with employment rights: Marriage here entitles an applicant to apply for a family dependent visa. The visa cost here is based on what visa your partner in the UK holds.

Working Visas

In November 2008 the Brits implemented a Point Based Visa system. This means that if South Africans are not eligible to apply for marriage or birth rights, they would need to be able to claim a certain points in order to qualify for a working visa.

The PBS (Point Based System) offers the following visas:
- Tier 1: Highly Skilled visa : replaced the Highly Skilled Migrant Program
- Tier 2: Skilled visa : replaced the Work Permit System
- Tier 4: Student visa : replaced the student visa program
- Tier 5: Youth Mobility Program : replaced the Working Holiday Maker

Student visas

In order to qualify for this category of visa, applicants have to gain acceptance from a UK University in order to qualify for the Tier 4 category,

Tier 4 General Student Visa: requires a Certificate of Acceptance which can only be granted by Tier 4 registered institutions.

Visitor Visas

- General Visitor Visa is issued for a minimum period of 6 months. This category suits your average traveller looking to only visit the UK for purposes of holiday, tourism and visiting family and friends abroad.

Please note : the General Visitor Visa has employment and study restrictions.

- Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) caters for South Africans stopping over at the UK for a few hours on their way to Europe. If South Africans stop over in the UK to catch a connecting flight to USA or Canada, they fall part of a visa exemption.

Please note : that the DATV category does not allow for South Africans to leave the airport.

- Transit Visa is designed to help South Africans that have to catch connecting flights at other airports or sea ports. This visa allows permission to reside in the UK for a period of no longer than 48 hours.

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