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UK Transit Visa requirements for South Africans

This page analyses UK Transit Visa requirement, please navigate to this page to see how to apply for other UK visas

Loophole used to Hire Foreign Workers

15 Nov 2017. It's been reported that Scottish fishing vehicles have allowed workers from outside Europe to enter the UK on a transit visa, and then move them to a boat which is more than 12 nautical miles from shore. More than 20% of sailors on Scottish fishing vessels are from outside Europe, mainly from the Phillipines.

RwandAir Runs into visa difficulties

14 July 2017. RwandAir launches flights from Kigali to Brussels to London (Gatwick) to Kigali. However, passengers returning to Kigali from Brussels have to pay for a UK Direct Airside Transit visa on the stop on London; so the temporary fix is not picking up pax from Brussels for the return flight to Kigali.

UK transit Visa requirements have been eased

Since the 1st of December 2014 you have been able to transit through a UK airport if you hold a valid visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA without obtaining a transit visa if the following circumstances are met:

  • Must arrive and depart from the same airport on the same day to an area outside of the Common Travel Area

  • Is properly documented for your onward destination

The following documents are valid for exemption:

  • A resident permit or valid visa for entry to Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the USA

  • An EEA or Swiss category D visa or residence permit

  • An Irish Biometric visa

Please note that different rules apply if you are departing from a different airport or need to go through UK immigrations to collect or re-check baggage.

UK transit visa fees were also reduced to £30 on the 1st December 2014.

Rules applicable before 1 December 2014

If you are on a flight from South Africa which lands in the UK (e.g. London) and your sole purpose is an onward flight do you require a UK Transit Visa? In answer to this it's easiest to specify the circumstances in which you do NOT require a transit visa, and those are if you hold:

  • a valid airline ticket for onward flight to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA; and that flight leaves within 24 hours of you landing in the UK.

  • a valid entry visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, as well as any other travel documentation required.

So, for example, if you are flying with British Airways via London to a Schengen country, and you hold a category C Schengen visa, you need to get a UK Transit visa.

Official UK Transit Visa Page

As rules change regularly, it's possible that this article has become dated - check the official UK Transit visa page (with the UK Border Agency) before you leave.

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