UK Visit Visa changes for Taiwanese, South Africans and Jamaicans

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The British Trade & Cultural Office (BTCO) announced recently that from 3 March 2009 Taiwan passport-holders who visit the United Kingdom will not need a visa. This benefits those who will visit for less than six months on business or as a tourist, family visitor or student visitor.

"Britain enjoys strong commercial and cultural ties with Taiwan", David Campbell, the BTCO's new Director said. "Lifting the visa requirement for stays of less than six months will help to build on that to the benefit of both British and Taiwanese people."

The BTCO reminds Taiwanese nationals that they must carry with them in their hand luggage relevant supporting documents such as flight tickets, evidence of funding, letters from sponsors or businesses they are visiting, or the school they plan to study at. This is still a requirement whether or not you need a visa.

The BTCO received over 28,000 visa applications in 2008. The BTCO expects that after 3 March 2009 that figure will go down to 6-8,000 visa applications a year.

It is not such good news for South African nationals. From 3 March 2009, South African nationals seeking to visit or transit the United Kingdom will require a visa to enter or transit the UK unless they qualify for a temporary exemption.

To qualify under this exemption you must have travelled to the UK recently and have evidence of your visit in your current passport (i.e. a UK entry stamp). You will not need a visa under the following circumstances:

  • Transit,
  • Visit for less than six months, and
  • Do not want to work in the UK .

if you have evidence of UK entry in your current valid passport.

However if the evidence of entry is in an expired passport, you will not qualify for this temporary exemption and you will be required to obtain a UK visa.

From 3 March 2009 onwards, Jamaican nationals in transit through the UK will be required to obtain a transit visa before they travel to the United Kingdom.

Travellers will need to apply for one of two visas:

  • a Visit-in-Transit Visa if seeking to enter the United Kingdom in transit with a connecting flight within 48 hours; or
  • a Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) for anyone remaining airside to take a same-day, same-airport connecting flight to another destination.

Applications for Transit visas and DATVs are made in the same way as every other type of visa. Applications in Jamaica must be made at the WorldBridge Visa Application Centre in Kingston, Jamaica.

Visit Visas will also be required for nationals of Bolivia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Venezuela wishing to visit the UK. Venezuelan nationals with new machine-readable Venezuelan passports will be exempt from the new requirement.