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How To Apply for a UK visa in Africa

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UK visa & Migration

Online application

How do I apply?
Applying for a UK visit visa is genuinely quick and simple, there are 3 steps:
 Check if you need a visa and which one to apply for at http://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
 Apply, make payment and book your appointment at the Visa Application Centre online.
All customers applying for a visit visa can now use our new online application form.
This upgraded system is faster, simpler and user friendly. Use this link https://visasimmigration.service.gov.uk/product/uk-visit-visa . Attend your appointment at the Visa
Application Centre to submit your application and biometric data. Choose one of our added
value services to enhance your experience.
When should I apply?
 UK Visas & Immigration’s global service standard for visit and non-settlement visa
applications is 15 working days from submission of your application and biometric data at
the Visa Application Centre. We encourage all applicants to remember this when planning
their travel to the UK, and to ensure they apply for a visa in good time.
 Did you know that you can apply for a visa to visit the UK up to 3 months in advance? We
can post-date a visit visa for up to 3 months to accommodate your intended travel date, so
why wait? Apply early to beat the queues and avoid unnecessary inconvenience.
Unplanned travel at short notice?
 We recognise that some customers will need to apply for a UK visa at short notice, and that
unplanned travel is sometimes unavoidable. Please consider your intended travel date
when making your visa application and plan to include a minimum of 15 working days for
your visa application to be processed.
If you know that you need to travel at short notice, or want to have your application
placed at the front of the queue for processing, consider purchasing the Priority Visa
service.

Which visa do I apply for?
What type of visa do I need to apply for?
 That depends on why you are going to the UK and what you want to do while there. A wide
range of guidance is available online for all UK visa routes, visit www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
and navigate from this page for more information.
Which visit visa do I need to apply for?
 There are now only four visit visa routes to the UK. A Standard Visitor visa
https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa is the most common. On a Standard Visitor visa
you can travel to the UK for tourism, to see family and friends, to shop, and to conduct
(some) business activities. Viewing the guidance at https://www.gov.uk/browse/visasimmigration/tourist-short-stay-visas will show you which visit visa is appropriate for the
nature of your trip and tell you what you can and cannot do in the UK on that visa.
How long can I stay in the UK on a visit visa?
 A standard visit visa is valid for 6 months and allows multiple entries to the UK during that
period. You can stay for up to 6 months but not beyond the validity of the visa. You can
also apply for a longer-term visit visa if you travel regularly to the UK. These visit visas are
valid for 2, 5 or 10 years and allow multiple entry for up to 6 months on each trip.
Long-term visit visas
You may consider applying for a long-term visit visa if you travel to the UK regularly.
Can I apply for a 10 year visit visa if I’ve never been to the UK before?
 Yes, but check online guidance carefully, you need to demonstrate that you have a genuine
reason to visit the UK on a regular basis, and lack of previous travel may be a factor. The
difference in fees will not be refunded, if the Entry Clearance Officer grants a 6 month visit
visa instead of the 10 year visa you applied for.
Minors
Can I apply for a long-term (2, 5 or 10 year) visa if I am under 18?
 Yes, but you should note that if you are under 18 when you apply, your long-term visit visa
(regardless of the duration applied for) will only be valid for up to 6 months after you turn 18
years.

Can I visit the UK alone if I am under 18?
 Yes, we call this an unaccompanied child visit. You will need to add in some extra
information for applications from minors. Please see full guidance at
https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/if-youre-under-18
Processing times
How long will it take to get my visa?
 UKVI’s global service standard for all non-settlement visa applications is 15 working days
from the date you submit your biometric data at the Visa Application Centre.
Can I fast-track my visa application?
 UKVI and TLScontact (the Commercial Partner who runs our Visa Application Centres)
offer a number of added value services to suit individual needs. These services are
designed to offer choice and convenience and to enhance speed of processing and
customer experience.
 If you know that you need to travel at short notice, or want to have your application
placed at the front of the queue for processing, consider purchasing the Priority Visa
service.
What are the Priority Visa services on offer?
 The vast majority of customers applying across Sub-Saharan Africa can choose to
purchase a Priority Visa (PV) service. These are available to customers applying for both
non-settlement and settlement visas.
 The current cost is £ 212 GBP for non-settlement PV and £573 GBP for settlement PV.
This charge is in addition to the visa fee ( fees might change, for an updated list kindly visit
https://uk.tlscontact.com/za/cpt/page.php?pid=added_value_services )
 UKVI guarantees that your application will be assessed ahead of all standard applications
at the relevant decision-making centre, and processed at the front of the queue.
 Priority Visa service applications are subject to the same decision making process as
standard service applications. Using any of these services does not in any way imply or
guarantee that an application will be successful. All applicants must meet the requirements
of the relevant UK Immigration Rules.
 UK Visas & Immigration strongly recommends that you do not use a Priority Visa service if
you have any form of adverse immigration or criminal history, or have ever been arrested
by law enforcement officials, including the UK police.
 More information, including detailed terms and conditions of services available in your
country, can be found at https://uk.tlscontact.com/ start here and choose your country of
residence, then navigate to the Added Value Services.

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Why is your PV service for a visit visa expensive?
 Our global service standard for non-settlement visa applications is 15 working days, PV
offers choice, if you need to travel sooner.
Documents you must submit
What documents should I provide?
How do I demonstrate my circumstances/funds/intention to leave, etc?
 That depends on the type of visa. You’ll find full guidance online. Start on this page
http://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa to get to the right information for your personal situation.
Must I purchase a flight and submit tickets with a visit visa application?
 UKVI does not require that flight tickets be submitted with a visa application. View full
guidance at this online link https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/documents-you-mustprovide
If someone else is paying for my trip, do I still need to provide personal financial details?
 We recognise that applicants may have a sponsor who is contributing financially to their
trip. In all cases we must be satisfied that you can fund your stay in the UK, check how to
evidence this at www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/documents-you-must-provide
Can I apply for a visa in the country I’m living in if I’m not from there originally?
 You can apply for a UK visit visa in any country, whether you are resident there or not.
Note however, that it may take a longer to process your application, if you are not resident.
If you wish to do this you must ensure that you choose the country you want to apply in on
our application systems to access the correct appointment information for the Visa
Application Centres.
Replacing a lost or stolen visa
How do I get a new visa if I’ve lost my passport or it has been stolen or damaged?
 Find guidance at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transferring-a-visa-to-a-newpassport-ecb17/transferring-a-visa-ecb17#ecb172-replacing-a-visa-or-leave-where-thishas-been-lost-or-stolen-excluding-30-day-short-validity-travel-vignettes
 Copies of your old passport and UK visa if you have them would be useful, a copy of the
Police report to show you have declared your passport lost or stolen must be provided with
the new application.

 The category to select for the replacement of your previous visa is called “Vignette
Transfer” and this is found under “other” on the visa4UK application system
(https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/home/welcome)
Transit visas
Do I need a transit visa?
Nationals of many countries require a visa or exemption document to transit the UK whether they
are transiting airside (without passing through border control) or landside (passing through border
control possibly to collect luggage or change airports).
There are a number of exemption documents that can be used in place of a transit visa. For
example, anyone who would normally require a transit visa, but who holds a valid visa for either
Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States of America can use that document to transit
airside via the UK to anywhere in the world without the need to obtain a Direct Airside Transit visa
for the UK. They must have the correct entry documents for their final destination.
Airside transit means you will arrive into and leave the UK from the same airport, on the
same day, without passing through border control. If you need to enter the UK to collect your
luggage and check in for your onward flight (even if your onward journey is from the same airport)
or if you are departing from a different airport, this is landside transit.
Anyone who would normally require a Visitor in Transit visa (landside transit), but who holds a
valid visa for either Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States of America can use that
document to transit landside in the UK without a Visitor in Transit visa, provided they fulfil all of
the criteria below:
 They are travelling to or from (or are on part of a reasonable journey to or from) that
country. So, if you are using a visa for Australia as an exemption document, you must be
travelling to or from Australia to transit landside without a UK visitor in transit visa.
 They arrive and depart the UK by air.
 They have a confirmed onward flight which leaves by 23.59hrs the following day.
 They have the right documents for their destination (e.g. a visa for that country).
Important note!
 You do not need a transit visa if you already have any other valid visa to enter the UK.
 You cannot transit the UK en route to another part of the common travel area; you will
require a full UK visit visa if your final destination is the Republic of Ireland.
To learn more about transit rules, or to see the full list of exemption documents, please visit
https://www.gov.uk/transit-visa and/or https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-visarequirements-list-for-carriers

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VACs & Appointments
I can’t get an appointment when I want one at the VAC.
I need to apply sooner that the first available appointment.
 Our standards mean that an appointment must be available within 5 working days when
you try to make it, this should always be the case.
 If you need to have an appointment date earlier than what is available, you can chose the
Walk-In Without Appointment option, which means that a customer is able to access the
VAC on a walk-in basis at an earlier date to their scheduled appointment or after their
scheduled appointment has passed.
 The current cost is £89 GBP ( fees might change, for an updated list kindly visit
https://uk.tlscontact.com/za/cpt/page.php?pid=added_value_services )
 More information, can be found at https://uk.tlscontact.com/ start here and choose your
country of residence, then navigate to the Added Value Services.
I was refused entry to the VAC for being late, why?
 You can change your appointment until 24hrs beforehand, and the VAC allows for a 15
minute delay. If you miss this 24hr deadline, you will need to reapply again for a new
appointment date or you can choose to pay for the Walk-In Without and Appointment
Service.
 We use an appointment system to be fair to all, the VAC can’t accommodate latecomers.
The staff at the VAC are refusing to give me advice, why?
 All UK visa applications are assessed by UK Visas & Immigration staff. Our Commercial
Partner, TLScontact, provide frontend application services. TLScontact has no role in the
decision-making process, nor are they Immigration Consultants, they are NOT able to
provide visa advice to customers, so please don’t ask them to. They can provide you with
facts and general information only.
Refusals
Why are visas refused?
 Each application for a UK visa is assessed on its individual merits and visas are refused
where the applicant has not met the UK Immigration Rules.
 We must be satisfied that you have a genuine reason to go to the UK; that you can fund
your stay; and that you intend to leave afterwards.
 In certain circumstances refusal may be mandatory. Full guidance on the grounds for
refusal can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigrationrules-part-9-grounds-for-refusal



How do I know why my visa was refused?


 Your refusal notice will explain in detail the grounds under which you were refused.
I have been refused, can I apply again?
 Yes you can reapply. You should however make sure you address all the reasons for
refusal in any new application.
Will poor immigration history affect my visa application?
 Each application is considered on its own merits, your immigration record will be
considered and you should always answer questions on the application form honestly.
Will a criminal record affect my visa application?
 Each application is considered on its own merits, these details will be considered and you
should always answer questions on the application form honestly.
When does an entry ban apply to a refusal?
 An entry ban of up to 10 years will be imposed in certain circumstances, and where the
application has been made using deception. See full guidance for grounds of refusal here
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-part-9-grounds-for-refusal
 Always answer the questions on the application form honestly, do not make false
declarations or use false documents when applying. You are ultimately responsible for the
information provided to UKVI on the visa application form. Beware of relying on inaccurate
advice from unscrupulous visa agents and consultants.
Refunds
How do I get a refund for my visa application fee?
 The visa fee covers the decision-making process and is not a guarantee that a visa will be
issued.
 If you have made an online application and payment of the visa fee, but have not submitted
your application and biometrics at the Visa Application Centre, you can request a refund of
your visa fee by accessing your online application and following the guidance.
 A refund can only be processed if you have not yet submitted your biometric data.
 Please note that the refund can take up to 28 working days to process and reflect back in
the credit card account that was used to initially pay.
 If applying for a long-term visit visa (2, 5 or 10 years) please read online guidance carefully.
The difference in fees will not be refunded if we only issue you with a 6 month visa.
 Please read terms and conditions carefully when purchasing Priority Visa or any other
Added Value Services. The cost of these services is non-refundable in the vast majority of
cases.

My application was refused how do I get a refund?

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 Visa fees won’t be refunded if the application is refused, this fee does not guarantee a visa
but covers the decision-making process.
 If you apply in a category requiring an additional Immigration Health Surcharge payment,
the IHS fee only will be refunded if the visa application is refused.
I received my decision too late to travel?
 Our global service standard for non-settlement visa applications is 15 working days, we
encourage customers to apply in good time to travel. We will not refund fees if you have
applied late and no longer need to use the visa or have cancelled travel plans. Remember
that most visit visas are valid for 6 months (multiple entry) and will allow you to enter the
UK in the future for the duration of the visa issued.
Appeals & Complaints
How do I appeal against my refusal?
 Clear and detailed guidance on how to appeal a refusal decision, where applicable, can be
found on all refusal notices.
 The right of appeal is not available in all cases, your refusal letter will provide you with the
correct information. You can’t appeal refusal of a visit visa, but can apply again.
 Where there is no right of appeal available, a new application can be made which should
address the points made in your refusal notice.
 Reapplying addressing the reasons for refusal actually provides a far quicker decision
making process. Read more here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/right-of-appeal-forfamily-visit-visas-abolished to find out why.
My appeal has been allowed, when will I be contacted by UKVI, what happens next?
 We must receive instruction from the Presenting Officer’s Unit in the UK, this can take
several weeks to arrive, but we then contact you directly.
I am not happy with the UK visa service, how do I complain?
 Details of all routes to complain about UK Government services can be found on
www.gov.uk.
 To contact UKVI directly by email or phone see www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk.


Fees & Online Payments
Why do I have to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge?
 You will be required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge only if you are applying to
remain in the UK for longer than 6 months. This is not required for those applying for a visit
or short-term visa.
 Payment of the IHS ensures those staying in the UK for more than six months contribute to
the cost of their National Health Service healthcare and treatment.
 It is far cheaper than the cost of private medical insurance cover for the same period.
 The IHS payment will be refunded if the visa application is refused.
 The IHS payment will not be refunded if you do not use NHS healthcare or treatment while
in the UK.
Why are UK visas so expensive compared to other countries?
 We believe we offer an accessible visa service globally, one that is highly competitive and
value for money with first-class service.
 A UK visit visa offers multiple entry over a 6 month period.
 UK visa fees are set globally and we believe we offer a competitive service that is attractive
to customers.
 When setting fees we consider how our fees compare to those charged by other countries
for similar products.
 Surveys show us that customers are more concerned about quality, convenience and
speed of service.
Why are long-term visit visas so expensive when the application process is the same?
 Those who travel regularly to the UK avoid the cost and time of having to reapply in person
every 6 months when choosing a longer-term visit visa.
 A long-term visit visa also allows customers to hedge against future fee increases and
exchange rate fluctuations.
 For those required to travel frequently to the UK, having a long-term visit visa means
unplanned or urgent trips, at short or no notice, are possible.
Why do I need to use a credit card to pay for my visa?
 We are consistent with the global trend to online transactions; it helps cut costs in the visa
operation, which helps keep visa fees down.
 Online payments offers a streamlined process which is safer for customers, reducing the
risk associated with cash handling.
 We have made improvements to the online application system. All customers applying for a
visit visa using the new online form, can now make the visa fee payment and purchase a
Priority Visa service online in one payment transaction.

Contacting UKVI
Why can we not speak to someone directly, online guidance is so hard to find and
understand?
 We cannot provide immigration advice, a full range of guidance for all visa categories is
available on our website in a user friendly format. We recommend that you start here
www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
 You can contact UKVI’s International Enquiry Service by email or phone for information and
assistance. Details of how to do this from outside the UK can be found at
www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk

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