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Important message for UK visa customers in Sub-Saharan Africa

Plan ahead for your travel to the UK and apply for a visa in good time. We are currently experiencing high volumes of applications.


Customers applying for a UK visa in South Africa should please take note that UK Visas & Immigration is currently experiencing peak demand volumes.

UK Visas & Immigration’s global service standard for visit and short-term 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? So why wait? Apply early to beat the peak 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 you need to travel sooner, or want to have your application placed at the front of the queue for processing, you should consider purchasing one of UKVI’s Priority Visa services when you apply. A number of added value services, to enhance speed of processing and customer experience, are available to customers applying in all Visa Application Centres in South Africa. Find more information on added value services.

Important note!

We urge all customers to consider their travel date when they make their visa application. UKVI’s Priority Visa services are available to purchase when you make your online application, and may also be purchased on arrival at the Visa Application Centre before you submit your biometric data.

Please note that it is not possible to purchase a Priority Visa service retrospectively, or to fast-track a visa decision on a standard application once your application has been submitted.

We take this opportunity to remind applicants that UKVI does not require a flight booking or tickets to be submitted with a visa application. Our online guidance clearly advises customers not to make payments or travel reservations until a visa decision has been received.

Need to contact us?

We thank all customers for their patience during this busy period. We are committed to providing excellent customer service, and continue to meet our published service standard of 15 working days, but you may experience a slower service than you have previously received, or have been used to, at the current time. Please avoid contacting us to request a routine progress update if your application is still within our global service standard. Our resources are better used assessing applications in the queue as quickly as possible than to answer basic queries.

See online guidance which provides information on how to contact UK Visas & Immigration from outside the United Kingdom.

Got a specific question?

You might also like to consult the attached Frequently Asked Questions document, which provides answers to some common queries.

Published 19 May 2017