UK Visitor Visa

UK Visitor Visa: All you need to know about the visa. Image: Adobe Stock

UK Visitor Visa: All you need to know about the visa

South Africans who want to travel to the UK as tourists need to apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa.

UK Visitor Visa

UK Visitor Visa: All you need to know about the visa. Image: Adobe Stock

It is also important to note that the processing time of UK Visitor Visas is currently about six weeks. So, it is important to plan and apply for your Visitor Visa in time. 

Breytenbachs have answered some of the most Frequently Asked Questions on the UK Standard Visitor Visa below. 

Will I be allowed to work while in the UK on the UK Visitor Visa?

The Home Office is very strict on the rule that you cannot do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person while on a visitor visa in the UK. 

However, they allow some business activities, such as attending interviews, meetings, conferences, etc. We recommend that you speak to one of our consultants to ensure that the work you intend to do falls within the allowed business activities. 

I have a long-term visitor visa for the UK. My daughter is in the UK and having a baby. What is the maximum time I will be allowed to spend visiting my daughter?

You can stay in the UK for up to six months on a UK Visitor visa. Even if you have a two year, five years or ten years long-term Standard Visitor Visa, you are still only allowed to stay in the UK for up to six months at a time. The Home Office strictly forbid repeatedly living in the UK for extended periods via the UK Visitor Visa. 

As we have family in the UK, we are regular visitors. I want to apply for a long-term visitor visa for all our family members. Is it possible to apply for children as well?

Yes, it is possible to apply for children for long-term visitor visas. However, long-term visitor visas will only be valid for up to six months after a child turns 18 years old. One should thus keep the child’s age in mind when applying for a long-term visitor visa. Your Breytenbachs consultant will advise in every case. 

I will be visiting friends in the UK on my UK Visitor Visa. I also want to check out the job market and switch to another UK visa while I am there. Is this allowed?

Clients often think that they can visit the UK to check things out, decide whether they want to live and work in the UK, and then apply for another type of UK visa while they are there. 

However, It is important to note that one cannot switch to another type of UK visa while in the UK on a UK visitor visa. You have to return to your home country and submit the visa or permit application from there.

It is only in very exceptional circumstances that a person is allowed to switch while on a visitor visa. Please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant for more advice.  

Can I get married to my British partner in the UK while on a UK tourist visa? 

As a general rule, you cannot get married in the UK on a standard visitor visa. 

If you intend to marry your British or settled partner in the UK, you can apply for a Marriage Visitor’s Visa. The application is similar to a standard visitor’s visa; however, you will have to submit evidence confirming that the wedding will occur in the UK and proof of social- and economic ties to South Africa, among other requirements. 

There are no strict financial requirements, but you will have to return to South Africa after the wedding ceremony. If you want to join your partner in the UK, you will have to apply for a Spousal visa from South Africa. You must keep in mind that you will then have to fulfil the financial requirements at this stage. 

How Breytenbachs can help you 

If you have any queries or want to apply for your UK Visitor Visa, please email Breytenbachs at or visit our website at

You can also phone your nearest Breytenbachs on the following numbers: Durban – 031 880 2777, Cape Town – 021 879 0969 or Pretoria – 012 460 9959, or our London office at +44 207 442 2160.

Please note that the information in this article does not constitute professional advice. It is provided for general information purposes without any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. 

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