Thursday, December 10, 2009

UK Visa

So, as a South Africa, you now need a visa to get into the UK. It's a fairly simple and painless task, if you have all the documents and a valid passport. Here's how to get a UK visa in Cape Town:

  1. Go to the VFS website: and click the "Apply for a UK visa now" button
  2. Click the "I have read the above information and the relevant guidance notes" checkbox and then click "Continue"
  3. A new window will pop up, which is the application form. Enter all your info in here.
  4. If at any point you don't have any info, you can just click the "pause" button, that looks like so:
  5. Once you've entered in all the information, choose your appointment date and save.
You can also pay online with a credit card, which is what I did. Make sure you have all the necessary documents with you when you go for your visa appointment, as you don't want to be in a situation where you are missing something. Also, make copies of everything, just in case - that's what I did. They should send back the originals with your passport, but be safe.

I had the following documents:
  • flight ticket
  • travel itinerary, with names, contact details and addresses of hotels
  • travel insurance
  • latest payslip
  • proof of address (I had a copy of my lease)
  • letter from my company stating that I work there and will be required to return to work at some date after my trip
  • latest bank statement (I simply printed a statement for my credit card from my internet banking)
  • passport
  • passport photo
The visa costs R938 (or did, at the time, it's dependent on the exchange rate I believe) and I paid an extra R120 at the consulate for sms notifications and courier services. The consulate / VFS place is in Cape Town on Riebeeck street, at the Absa building. Map here:

I think it's on the 23rd floor. I arrived about 10 minutes early, and once the place opened the security at the building gave me an access card and I went up to the place. They searched my bag, told me turn off my cellphone, and in I went. There is a ticket machine at the entrance where you press a button and it issues you a ticket with a number on. I was number 004, and my number was called pretty quickly by the electronic woman.

At the counter, I just handed in all my documents and paid for the courier and sms service (card only, no cash). I was then directed to the biometrics queue, where I waited for about 3 minutes before being called. They took my photo, and fingerprints (electronically) and then I was done.

That was all on Thursday morning. On Friday I got an sms telling me my application had been processed, and was being couriered to me, and on Monday morning my passport, documents and visa arrive. Nice and easy!

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