Giving up blue South African skies for grey British clouds is a tempting offer. With one of the strongest economies in the world and a thriving job market, an international city like London is enticing. United Kingdom borders are strict, but getting in doesn’t need to be difficult; perseverance and patience are two things that define the British, so it’s probably good to start practising yours.
It’s no secret that the UK visa process is a tough one. Gaining permanent residence can be pricey, and is dependent on a range of factors. As a South African citizen, you will need a visa to get into the UK, unless you hold dual citizenship. There are a few different types of visas that could grant you access to the UK, provided you meet the requirements. It might be necessary for you to look into financial emigration
; you’ll want access to your retirement annuity and for easier international exchange, because exchanging Rands for pounds is never easy on a South African wallet.
Let’s talk about the types of UK visas available
Being born in the UK, or having a UK passport through a UK-born parents or grandparent is the first prize, and means easy access for you. It also means that your dependents, or family members, can gain access to the UK and eventual citizenship through you. This includes your children, adopted children, and your spouse; you don’t need to be married, but you do need to have been living in marriage-like conditions for at least 2 years.
The Highly Valued Migrant visa is a good option for those looking to invest into the UK. This covers entrepreneurs, who have access to £200 000 to put into a business, as well as investors, who have access to £2000 000. These will need to be transferred over into a UK bank account, which is something FinGlobal can easily help you with.
Then, finally, there’s the Exceptionally Talented visa, which caters to industry leaders across a range of fields – humanities, science, engineering, and others. Family members benefit from these in that they can join the main applicant, and gain citizenship after 6 years.
The Skilled Worker visa is exactly what it sounds like – a visa designed to bring over individuals who fulfil a specific occupation. Every country has a list of approved jobs and fields; the UK’s list is relatively large, and it’s possible you provide knowledge in an area they require.
Getting a UK visa means getting some things together.
It’s worth checking up on the UK High Commission in South Africa
page for UK visa requirements, as it’s constantly updated. The requirements for each visa are different, but generally, you’ll need the following:
- Unabridged birth certificates for yourself (as the main applicant) and for each dependent you intend on bringing over.
- A South African passport valid for at least another 6 months from the date of application.
A spousal visa requires anything that proves marriage-like conditions – shared accounts, bills to the same address, even photographs. If you go this route, it’s wise to go through an agency as they’ll offer advice based on years of success.
A Highly Valued Migrant visa requires bank statements and proof of transfers. If you go this route and need a bank account in set up in the UK, speak to FinGlobal agent today to begin that process!
While FinGlobal can’t provide assistance on the visa front, we do have vast experience with international finances, including foreign exchange and cross-border transfers; we’ll even help you transfer your SA pension to the UK.
What to expect upon immigration to the UK
Fun fact – the UK is about 5 times smaller than South Africa, but boasts a population that is bigger than South Africa’s by almost 10 million people. London is a dense city; you’ll get used to crowds very quickly. It’s got a bustling, ever-flowing lifestyle and is an international mixing pot of epic proportions, so keep an open and inquisitive mind – there’s excitement, fun, and adventure everywhere.
As you’re getting ready to make the move, don’t forget to move your money too. Get in touch with a FinGlobal agent today to take you through financial emigration
, and what it means for your taxes. Getting your finances ready to support you and your new life is an important part of the process, and we’re here to help you make that happen.
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