Let’s get South Africa on the UK visa-free list

Applying for visas: Nobody likes to do it, but as a South African travelling to the UK on holiday, or for business, you accept it as part of your life. Well that could be about to change. The Royal Commonwealth Society, together with business leaders, British politicians and South African citizens are petitioning the UK government to re-instate South Africa’s visa-free status. You can add your voice to this call.Flag wave

The costs of visas, as well as the hassle of having to visit embassies to get them, has been frustrating South Africans since 2008. That was the year when the UK government revoked South Africa’s visa-free status. This happened because the British border authorities cited numerous corruption and security risks associated with South African passports.

To rectify this situation, South Africa’s Home Affairs tightened up security around its passports and brought a petition to the UK government asking them to reconsider South African’s visa status.

Unfortunately, these measures appear to have done little to move the UK government and since 2013 there has been very little done by either government. The refusal to budge on this issue is somewhat surprising given the financial costs of requiring South Africans to apply for visitor visas.

Since 2008 the number of South African visitors to the UK has dropped from 351,000 to 231,000. Studies estimate this decline has cost the UK £128 million in lost revenues. Perhaps more importantly, 2,370 UK jobs could have been created had the number of South African visitors not declined.


Sign the petition today

In the face of government inaction, the public is being urged to take matters into their own hands.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of South Africans living in the UK right now. By tapping into this massive expat community and South Africans back home, The Royal Commonwealth Society hopes to spur both governments into action. They have set up a campaign and a petition to encourage the UK government to drop its visa restrictions for South African visitors.

The Royal Commonwealth Society is joined in this effort by Sable International, The South African Chamber of Commerce, Philip Gamble & Partners, The South African and South African Diaspora United.

Together we can move the obstacles that have been in the way of thousands of South Africans for too many years now.

Sign the petition right now and once you’ve done that you can send this article on to your family and friends and they too can join the cause.

Let’s make this happen!


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  • Claire Wilson Cook

    Kenya too please! So fed up with the HASSLE of having to apply for UK visa’s – it’s a complete and utter nightmare.

  • Jim Mahoney

    A South African living in the UK (on a SA Passport) with the appropriate work permit can as a Commonwealth Citizen vote in UK elections. A Brit living (with permanent residence in SA) is expected to pay tax but not allowed to vote! Get your priorities sorted out! Once the fake passports expire, you may stand a chance! In the meantime, work on the real stuff!

  • Andre du Preez

    As a South African living and working in the UK (on a SA passport) I would love to see visitor visas being cancelled and let family simply show up for a visit.

    However, I must admit that I had to chuckle looking at the infographic saying in 2008 visas were introduced “for security reasons regarding passports and corruption” – does this mean SA (especially with the ANC still running the country) is now corruption free? :-)

    One thing I’ve learned over here, unlike in Sunny South Africa, the words “we demand” doesn’t work. We don’t just get stuff because we’re “entitled” to it based on culture or ethnicity. Approaching any first world goverment with the same mindset won’t work.

    Let’s hope SA home affairs is smart enough to get a better solution than a stupid petition.

  • Elaine Brown

    I am a South African with a Scottish Paternal Grand Father.
    If I obtain my ancestral visa, it there a specific time that I need to move to the UK? If not is there a penalty?
    Thanks in advance, Elaine

    • Elaine Brown

      Wrong discussion, sorry