UK announces priority visa service for South African visitors

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South Africans will now be able to have their last-minute UK visitor visa applications expedited under a new priority visa service offered by the UK Border Agency.

The UK Border Agency in South Africa announced last week, applicants will now be able to pay an additional fee to fast track their UK visitor visa application and have it processed ahead of other normal visa applications. UK immigration stated the service is available starting 14 November and only a limited number of priority visitor visas will be sold each day on a first come, first served basis.

The special priority visa service, which will cost about 53 GBP in addition to the UK visa application, is for UK visitor visa categories only.

Globally, UK visitor visa applications take 15 working days, although South African applicants have normally had to wait only five working days. The new priority visa service will give an even quicker turnaround time, although UK immigration officials did not specify a guaranteed turnaround time.

The British High Commissioner in South Africa, Dame Nicola Brewer, said, "I'm delighted that we will be enhancing our already excellent UK visa services to customers in South Africa."

"We turn around most visa applications very quickly, but inevitably some people have to travel at the last minute, and this priority service will speed up the process even further," she added. "Along with the ability to track progress of applications online, and request SMS updates and courier returns, the priority service makes our visa operation one of the most modern and effective in South Africa."

To apply, customers must complete and submit a UK visa application online as normal, and visit one of the UK's visa application centres operated in Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth or Pretoria, where they will be able to get more details.

The new service does not guarantee that applicants using it will be successful in their visa applications, as all applicants must meet the requirements of UK immigration rules.

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