UK Tourist Visa for Zimbabwean in SA


I am currently living in Cape Town, but have long overstayed my visa here in SA. I would like to visit a friend who is soon moving to London. I'd like to take a nice long (2-3 months) visit. I will stay with her in London and she will help me with the cost of plane tickets, etc.

I've heard that I'm unlikely to get a tourist visa to be able to visit the UK. Why? Is this true? Can anyone advise me who is a Zimbabwean and has successfully (or unsuccessfully) obtained a tourist visa for the UK? I will go back to Harare to apply for the visa, but have heard that they just don't give many tourist visas to Zimbabweans.


Welcome to the forum :)

If I understand you correctly you are in a bit of trouble. Firstly you have overstayed your visa, this in its self will surely give you a fine. Sorry, I can't tell you how much.

Normally you have to apply for a visa to the UK from your home country. But going back to overstaying this could cause you heaps of problems even if you do make it back and applying from your home country.

Can I ask how long you overstayed? Was it days, weeks, months or years?

Expat Team

Applying for a tourist visa shouldn't be a problem; there is a process to go through that is open to all.  However, what will be a problem (and is probably what the stories you refer to link back to), is that from what you have said, you have no independent means of support and because you will not be allowed to work on a tourist visa, they will view you as a potential burden on the state and on that basis, they can deny you a visa.  It has nothing to do with being a Zimbabwean, you get no special status, they treat everybody the same way.

You need to be able to convince the immigration authorities that you are going to return to Zimbabwe when your visa expires; you need things like a letter from your employer that you have a job to return to; bank statements proving you have the means to support yourself; return flight tickets etc.

The fact that you have been an overstayer in South Africa will not help your cause.

Hope this helps.

Expat Team

Thanks you both for your help!

The friend that I am visiting has offered to take me on as a nanny part-time, if that would make the visa process easier. I think there is a visa for domestic workers? Do you guys know anything about this?

That wasn't my original reason to go, but we thought it might be more likely that my visa would be approved. Thoughts?

The information regarding a domestic worker visa is explained on the UK Gov website; this link will take you there.

You have a snowball’s chance in hell of being given a visa, not least of which because you have overstayed your visa in another country. If you’ll do it on SA, you have no respect for immigration laws, and will do it in the UK.

So now the friend who you will be staying with is prepared to illegally employ you? On a scale of 0-10, where 10 is a dead very you’ll get a visa, you are a 1 at best.

I don't have experience of Zimbabweans applying to enter the UK, but for Kenyans, successfully obtaining a visa to visit the UK depends on the applicant having strong links with their home country.  So, a job, property ownership, financial security and marriage are all positive factors.  People who are younger and single are fairly unlikely to obtain visa's as the British look for the likelihood that the applicant may overstay.

As you are already overstaying in South Africa, I agree that the chance of you obtaining a visa to visit the UK is close to zero.  The ties to your home country is to tenuous...........there is the strongest indicator that you may well overstay in the UK too. 

As an aside; if you had overstayed in Kenya, it would result in arrest, on departure and a court appearance, before deportation - its a serious matter there!

Your friends offer to sponsor you to visit the UK would normally be expected as part of your application process - you must have evidence of support while you are in the UK and I don't believe that in your case, it will make much difference.

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