Direct Air-side Transit Visa

You have selected the Transit visa.

UK transit visas are issued for an initial 6 months and grant multiply entry permission to stop over in the UK during that 180 day validity. The Direct Airside visa will only allow you to wait in a UK airport (within 24 hour departure) and the Visitor in Transit visa grants permission to change airports (within 48 hour hour departure).

These transit visas suits candidates who stop over in the UK for a few hours to catch a connecting flight on route to another destination.

Please note that with a Direct Airside Transit visa, you may not pass through the UK border (and enter the UK).

Should applicants wish to visit the UK during their stop over, they are recommended to consider applying the general visitor visa.

Please note that there are exemptions to these rules. South Africans on route to the following countries with valid visas in place are not required to obtain direct airside transit visas:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • USA
  • Japan

If applicants have valid visas for the above-listed countries and are stopping over in the UK for a few hours, they are exempt from needing a Direct Airside Transit visa and qualify for the TWOV (Transit Without Visa) concession.

12 Steps of the UK transit visa

To help explain the process, we have taken the liberty to give a 12 step breakdown in UK Transit visa applications.

Step 1: Selected UK Transit Visa

Now that the UK transit visa has been selected, the

For more information about the visa technicalities, take a look at the following:

-> Explanation of how UK transit visas work in SA.

-> Options for South Africans with short stop overs in the UK.

-> Direct Airside Transit Visa for South Africans.

-> Visitor in Transit Visa for South Africans.

-> UK’s tourist visa for South Africans.

Step 2: Travel Documents

At this point, South Africans frequently make the mistake to beginning to prioritize flight costs. It is recommended that applicants not worry about flights though. Not until their visas are awarded.

Based on our experience, we have witnessed that many neglect to consider the validity of the passports. If not the validity of their passport, the amount of pages available for visa stamps (for frequent travelers).

Another important travel document that often catches South Africans (when its too late) relates to birth or marriage certificates.

For this step, we simply recommend addressing the following:

  • Passport validity (check when the South African passport will/has expired).
    • Minimum 6 months validity required – based on the date of submission.
    • Passport blank pages (check if there are a minimum of 2 consecutive blank pages inside the passport).
  • Birth certificates (full birth certificates are required for minors).
    • Emphasis is placed on government issued FULL birth certificates.
    • “Abridged” birth certificates are not recognized for international travel purposes.
  • Marriage certificate (for South Africans looking to claim travel benefits with EU or UK visa holders).

If your passports are valid (and have sufficient blank pages) and your remaining certificates are in order, you can consider the ability to easily travel more feasible.

Step 3: Processing Times

The Pretoria division of the department of UK Visas and Immigration has a team of Entry Clearance Officials that deal with visa applications lodged within southern Africa region. Their decision making system is efficient and reliable.

Attached below is an annual average of the broad categories of visas (standard processing times):


TLS Availability: specifies the chances of a being delayed in securing an appointment.
Move Up Capacity: specifies the availability of Move Up to take on more cases (or not).
UKVI Difficulty: specifies the risk of refusal.

Please note that all three graphs work on an overall average of the UK visa process in South Africa. More specific processing times, based upon the time that it takes from when the application was submitted at TLS is detailed below:

UKVI processing times from the date of submission is a standard 15 working days (3 weeks).

For an additional £150 per applicant, these applications can be “fast tracked” to be processed within 5 working days (1 week).

Step 4: Visa Fees

Attached below is a breakdown of the different UK Transit visa validity periods. These costs serve to demonstrate the standard expected costs. There are optional additional costs for other value added services, such as fast track. To find out more about the fast track services, Move Up is best able to assist.

Attached below are four different duration of UK Transit visas as well as their respective fees:

Step 5: Qualifying Requirements

Different UK visas have different visa qualifying requirements. To demonstrate that applicants meet the UK governments visa qualifying requirements, South Africans are expected to present paper based evidence.

For applicants to qualify for the UK Transit visa, they need to meet the following 3 requirements:

  • i. Proof of proposed transit arrangements.
  • ii. Proof of intent to honour the visa rules.
  • iii. Proof of need to return to SA at the end of their trip.

Step 6: Where to Apply?

The map below serves to show where the TLS and Move Up locations are. Please note though that Move Up’s Cape Town office services South Africans nationally (throughout the country) and internationally.

For a free visa assessment (caters for South Africans nationally and internationally):
Move Up – UK Visa Solutions

Offers South African passport holders (throughout the country and around the world) free UK visa assessments over email or phone. Contact Move Up to assess which UK visa best suits your intent:

  +27(0) 21 761 4608

Opening hours (except public holiday): 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday

Cape Town – Visa Application Center

Upper Ground Floor
Media Quarter Building
Corner of De Smit Street and Somerset Road
De Waterkant
Cape Town
South Africa

Parking for Cape Town VAC:

Public Parking Facility
Available in Cape Quarter Building
Corner of Somerset & Dixon streets

Opening hours (except public holiday): 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday

Durban – Visa Application Center

430 Peter Mokaba Ridge,
3rd Floor,
The Atrium,
South Africa

Opening hours (except public holiday): 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday

Johannesburg – Visa Application Center

2nd – 3rd Floor
24 Central Building
Gwen Lane and Fredman Drive
South Africa

Opening hours (except public holiday): 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday

Port Elizabeth – Visa Application Center

Ground Floor
Building 66
Fairview Office Park,
Port Elizabeth,
South Africa

Opening hours (except public holiday): 8:30am – 3:30pm Monday to Friday

Pretoria – Visa Application Center

1st Floor, Menlyn Corner, Gobie Street
Corner of Lois/Atterbury Road
(Opposite to Menlyn Park Shopping Centre) Menlyn
South Africa

Opening hours (except public holiday): 8:30am – 3:30pm Monday to Friday

Step 7: How to Apply?

South Africans can either make use of agency assistance or they can apply directly with the UKVI. Move Up offers expert agency assistance for those who are finding this information helpful. Alternatively, South Africans not looking for agency assistance need to apply online first. Further explanation listed below:

There are over 30 unique types of UK visas which South Africans can apply for. To determine which visa meets your intent, it is in your best interest that you first contact Move Up to begin getting your UK visa needs solved.

Move Up ( ) operate under a standard full case fee refund guarantee, that in the unlikely event of not being awarded your visa first time round, their case fee will be refunded in full. No hidden administration costs for offering solutions that don’t work.

Call 021 761 4608 to discuss your visa options. Alternatively for more information, you can email For technical visa queries, you can email

Secure an Internet appointment

Process Online Application.

Included in Move Up‘s visa representation is internet based applications which are done on your behalf. Making the travel experience that much easier.

It is compulsory for all applications lodged in South Africa to complete this online application form (paper based applications are no longer accepted). Once the online application is submitted you can secure a visa appointment.

Click here to start your online application now. This applies to independent submissions (independent of Move Up’s help).

Please also note: Payment for the UK visa is only done on the website. No other form of visa payment is accepted in South Africa. If you have been told to make payment through MoneyGram you are most likely being scammed.

“Who is Teleperformance?” you might ask. Teleperformance have been appointed to handle the front of house for the British High Commission in Pretoria, formally known as “commercial agency” who handle the UK’s Visa Application Centres. They are a glorified courier service that receive passports and visa applications on the British High Commission’s behalf.

Step 8: Who to apply with?

Visa agencies, commercial agents, governing bodies, British embassy.. The UK visa process can get complicated. We have taken the liberty to explain the three most important parties when it comes to UK visa applications:

Who is Move Up?

Move Up – UK Visa Solutions

Besides sponsoring this website, Move Up ( is a South African based immigration company that serves to help fellow South Africans in their UK visa applications. Move Up proudly specializes in all types of UK entry clearance applications for South Africans.

Phone: 021 761 4608

Office hours are Mon – Fri (9am-5pm). Closed on public holidays. For needed face to face consultations, operating on appointment basis only.

Please Note: Move Up are currently Cape Town based and provide visa assistance for South Africans both nationally and internationally. In 2012 alone we have helped South Africans in all 9 provinces as well as South Africans in USA, Canada, New Zealand, Zambia and Australia.

This means even if you are not in Cape Town, we can definitely help in your UK visa application. No matter where in the world you are.

Who is Teleperformance?

Teleperformance is the current commercial agency appointed by the British government to handle the front of house for all matters relating to UK visa submissions.

This simply means that Teleperformance is a specialized courier agency that serves to capture finger prints, take visa photos and then match the captured records with the applicants passport and supporting documents. Once the applicant (South African public) submits their visa application at Teleperformance (hands in their passport, completed forms and supporting documents), Teleperformance couriers the documents to a team of Entry Clearance Officials.

At this point, it is important to note that there is no way around needing to deal with Teleperformance. It is compulsory for South Africans looking for UK visas to deal with Teleperformance.

It is important to note that Teleperformance are not the decision makers (therefore visa submissions are not interviews) and that they are not sufficiently equipped with understanding of UK immigration legislation. Their often incorrectly given immigration advise has no understanding of legislation in place.

Who is UKIASA?

UKIASA (UK Immigration Authority of South Africa) or is a governing body that serves to protect the South African public from unethical immigration practices. UKIASA has standardized the UK immigration system and has set minimum expectations against those standards. UKIASA’s primary role is to hold UK immigration firms (and Visa Representatives) that practice in South Africa, accountable for their immigration advice given to the South African public.

Further to this accountability, UKIASA’s standards also detail the level of expertise that a Visa Representative can give. Making sure that specialists provide expert advise and not ill-experienced making recommendations for cases they do not understand.

This ensures that the South African public is correctly represented with UK visas that operate in the applicant’s best interest (and not the service provider/immigration firm best interest).

Therefore, when it comes to applying for UK visas, UKIASA does not deal in the visa submission. Rather, UKIASA deals with Visa Representatives in South Africa.

Step 9: Supporting Documents


Documents needed for UK visa applications

What supporting documents are needed?

The best way to answer this question is to ask yourself “what is the Entry Clearance Officer looking for?”


– Flight quote
– Proof of intent to return to SA at end of trip
– Proof of supporting funds

At this stage, we thought you would appreciate seeing an old advert from Move Up:

Please note: Move Up takes no responsibility for applicants who only submit the above supporting documents. For more detail and clarification in the exact supporting documents needed relevant specifically to your application, please email

Technical aspect

Different visas require different supporting evidence. Usually applicants have to show that they have sufficient supporting funds to cover the expenses occured in their travels.

Taking into consideration that each person has unique backgrounds, the UK has implemented Immigration law which specifies qualifying criteria that each applicant needs to adhere too.

In South Africa, we have Entry Clearance Officers based in Pretoria who process the supporting documents and make decisions based on the balance of probabilities. This means that the Entry Clearance Officers have to decide on applicants success based on the information provided in the visa application. Therefore supplying the correct information is key to obtaining a successful result.

To find out more information about Immigration law, click here to go to the UKBA (UK Border Agency) website

Need assistance?

If you find that this visa information too much to digest and if you are looking for a trouble free application, you should contact Move Up’s team of UK visa experts.

Phone: 021 761 4608
Office hours are Mon – Fri (9am-4pm). Closed on public holidays. For needed face to face consultations, operating on an appointment basis only.

Step 10: Visa Appointment

At this point it is important to note that you are not dealing with a biased system (like the US government have implemented). The UK government avoid discrimination to the best of their ability. We have taken the liberty to explain the process going forward from here.


First and foremost, it is important to note that this is not an interview. You are not meeting with anyone that will be impacting the decision of your application.

Therefore, you do not need to impress. You can relax and enjoy a friendly, efficient and well run visa submission process. The decision makers will be making their decision based on your supporting documents, immigration and criminal history (if applicable).


Here are some frequent questions we experience:

Q: How do I cancel my application and get a refund? 

A: OK. So you have completed the online application and you have paid for the visa application (and booked an appointment). Now you have decided that you wish to withdraw your application.

At this point, it is important to note that you realize that if you attend your appointment (and hand in your documents), you cannot cancel the application (without forfeiting the visa fee).

If you wish to withdraw your application before submission, you can get your full visa fee back. The request for a refund needs to be done the online application (where payment was originally made).

Q: I am running late, can I phone the Visa Application Centre to tell them that?

A: No. Teleperformance deliberately does not have a local call centre for UK visa related queries. What is important to note though is that they will accept you on the day of your appointment (late or early).

Q: How do I change my appointment date?

 A: The appointment can only be changed on the online application. Provision is made before the appointment. This means that the visa appointment can be changed before the booked time.

What is important to note though, it is not possible to change the appointment once the appointment time starts or any time after the appointment. Once the appointment time starts, the time slot is considered finalized and changes are not permitted thereafter.

Therefore changes to the appointment can only take place before the secured time slot.

Q: What happens if I miss my appointment?

A: It is just going to cost you a little more. £30 walk-in fee is charged for applicants that miss their appointment day.

Step 11: The Wait

This part of the process can be nerve wrecking. It’s like completing a test and not knowing if you answered the questions correctly. To help address this step, we have addressed tracking options available to applicants:


Now that you have handed in your application, this step in the application is where many get an uneasy feeling of “have I done it right?

Based on our experience, having helped thousands of families through this process, we highly recommend not worrying.

We have witnessed clients who have worried and we have witness clients that have not. In either case, we have concluded that worrying solved nothing. If anything, it made the transaction unpleasant.

Fortunately, Teleperformance has made tracking of the process available. Click here to follow through to the Teleperformance website.

The British government have also done a great job and have put together a way that applicants can be what the recent processing times have been like. This serves to create a realistic expectation as to how long it will take for the visa to be processed. Further details of the British governments recent processing times can be found here.


A friendly travel tip, instead of checking each day, to see if the tracking facility has been updated, we recommend that applicants set a reminder for the date that it is meant to be awarded and then to move on with life.

That way, time is not wasted on worrying or needing to check the process every hour.


After the wait and you have hopefully received the email that says “a decision has been made” – with no further details of the outcome (standard practice) – the next step is to go and collect your application.

Step 12: Collection

After being notified that “a decision has been made”, applicants are recommended to go and collect their application the next working day. Therefore, if applicants receive notification on a Friday, they can go collect their application on Monday.

The outcome of the application will only be determined upon collection.

This is the last step. 12 out of 12 steps now completed. Congrats on making it through the process.

At this point, we trust that the UK visa has been processed and applicants have collected their whole application from the applicable Visa Application Centre.

Assuming the visa has been issued, applicants will note that their visa has a set start date and a set end date. This determines their permitted amount of time you are allowed to stay in the UK.

In the event that the case has been refused, applicants are encourage applicants to contact Move Up (and forward scanned copies of their refusal letters).

We have put some links together to help address some frequent questions asked:

We trust you have found this site helpful. We would like to thank our sponsor: Move Up – UK Visa Solutions for making this site possible.

All the best with your UK travels.