Apply for a UK visa from South Africa

Posted on Fri 20 October 2023 in Other

بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The UK government website is unnecessarily complicated. It has no actionable item to go directly to the link to apply for a visa.

The Travelstart Guide to Your UK Visa Application Process | is much more useful, but it lacks actionable links as well.

This guide will explain how to apply for a Standard visitor visa to the UK (valid for 6 months) for South Africans.

Before you apply

Before applying, travellers should consider the following:

  • The visa process is draconian

  • confusing

  • expensive

  • and very long

It is clearly designed to keep abusers of the visa system out of the UK. At the same time, it is a major deterrent for regular tourists because any person without some technical knowledge will struggle to apply.

I therefore encourage tourists from South Africa to use their hard-earned money to travel elsewhere. If one has the patience or it is required to travel to the UK, then use the instructions outlined below.

Apply for the visa

Make sure you have your:

  • Personal information and SA passport details

  • Payment details (like a debit/credit card)

The form system is designed in such a way that if you choose YES to a question, you will be required to provide extra information in the questions that follow (see 8. and 26. below).

Now go to this link to apply for the visa:

UK visa online application

  1. Choose language -> English

  2. Choose country -> South Africa

  3. Visa biometrics are out-sourced to a company called TLScontact -> choose "I have identified location ..."

  4. After entering all this, click next and register using your email address (basically create an account)

  5. Enter your telephone number (home or mobile) (you can enter >1 number by choosing the prompts)

  6. Choose how you can be contacted

  7. Enter full name and surname

  8. Enter gender and marital status

  9. Enter address

  10. Now answer the (very personal) questions about home ownership status

  11. Enter passport details

  12. Enter your ID information (there is no expiry date on South African IDs)

  13. Enter nationality details

  14. Choose whether you've held another nationality

  15. Choose employment status

  16. Now enter job title and YEARLY salary

  17. Choose if you have any other savings or income

  18. Enter how much you plan to spend in UK

  19. Enter your monthly household expenses

  20. Choose if anyone else will pay towards the cost of the visit

  21. Enter the arrival and departure dates

  22. Choose language preference if they call you

  23. Choose reason for visit

  24. and then choose the main reason (if you chose holiday)

  25. Now enter the main reason in text form

  26. Enter your partner's passport information (if you chose that you have a partner)

  27. Choose if anyone relies on you financially

  28. Enter your parent's details (if you have them) - it asks for both parents but you can choose if you have details for only 1 of them

  29. Choose if you have family in the UK

  30. Now enter the relatives details (if you do have family in the UK)

  31. Choose if you are travelling as part of an organised group

  32. Choose if you are travelling with another un-related person

  33. Choose who you will be staying with (if you have family in the UK)

  34. Enter that family member's details + when you will arrive/depart from there

  35. Choose if you will be staying anywhere else

  36. Enter those details if you are

  37. Choose if you've been to the UK in the past 10 years

  38. Choose frequency of visits to "Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA, Switzerland or the European Economic Area" in the past 10 years

  39. Choose if you've been to any other countries in the past 10 years

  40. Choose if you've ever been denied a visa/entry

  41. Choose if you've broken immigration law for the UK previously

  42. Choose if you have any criminal convictions

  43. Choose if you've been convicted of war crimes

  44. Choose the options related to terrorist activity (probably the most absurd question along with 43.)

  45. Choose the options related to extremist activity

  46. Answer queries about your character (as bizarre as 43. and 44.)

  47. Choose options related to employment in certain business sectors

  48. Add other additional information in text form - not required

  49. Choose which documents you can provide (passport, bank statements, invitation letters) - you have to tick all boxes

  50. Confirm acceptance of the other conditions

  51. Accept declaration

  52. Choose visa length

  53. Current price for 6-month visa: R2750

  54. Now make the payment via Worldpay

  55. After successful payment, you can now download a series of documents and proceed to book a visit at TLScontact

  56. After being re-directed to TLScontact website, accept the ToC and then choose 'No' for all other options -> Continue

  57. Your information will be displayed on this page (name, passport, etc) -> choose TLScontact office

  58. Choose if you want value-added services (the only real value-add is the courier of the passport. At 14 pounds it is a bit pricey but convenient) -> go to step 2

  59. Choose priority services (usually no) -> step 3

  60. Now select the self-service tab and choose on that looks like this:

  61. After selecting a time, proceed to "check out". If you chose any optional services, you have to pay at TLSContact

  62. Once done, you are redirected to the Success page. Download the TLS Documents Guide PDF

  63. Click on the link to go back to your application. Now prepare the documents to upload (self-service -> upload). A guide to supporting documents exists (but is rather unhelpful except for "9. Documents you should not use as evidence"):

    1. Scan of your passport

    2. Scan of your proof of residence

    3. Scan of the ID/passport of owner (if residence is not in your name)

    4. Scan of your bank statement

    5. Scan of employment or business ownership

    6. Scan of accommodation

    7. Hotel booking details OR

    8. Letter from host + host's proof of identity

    9. Itinerary (from travel agent) or flight ticket

  64. On the TLSContact website (after confirming your booking), you will see a button for "Upload Documents"

  65. Upload each relevant document and choose the appropriate drop-down option related to each document (identity proof, residence proof, etc)

  66. Once successfully uploaded, click on the link and all the relevant documents will be uploaded (TLSContact charges a lot of money to do this for you)

Preparing for fingerprints & face scan

  1. Print out all the documents in 63.

  2. Print out the first page of your Visa application

  3. Print out the 8 page document/check-list that you received via email or the portal

  4. Arrive at least 20 minutes before the time of your application

  5. Once fingerprints and face scan are done and passport handed over, the process is complete

  6. Await a response from the UK government

  7. If you didn't choose courier in 58. you will have to pick up the passport from the TLSContact office (keep checking your email)

(Logging back in)

The only way to log back in to an existing application is via the email link sent upon account creation.

It is also the only way to get to the TLScontact website with your details.

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