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UK to launch global platform to ease visa applications

The UK is making changes to its 'Access UK' to make it easier for millions of people around the world to apply for UK visas. Travelers will be able to complete the simplified application, from any mobile device, with the help of a useful checklist.

The UK Home Office has stated its commitment to improving the online UK Visas and Immigration service by making it quicker, easier, and more convenient. This includes the implementation of new technology and the optimization of the current system.

Access UK is currently available in South Africa, Lesotho, and Eswatini but it will be rolled out worldwide over the coming months.

Over 30 million people travel to the UK each year for a range of purposes including tourism, business, and education. Of around 3 million visa applications, the UK granted 2.7 million.

Benefits of the updated 'Access UK' service


Using Access UK, applicants can now book appointments at visa application centers and upload supporting documentation, which means they no longer need to provide original documentation.

The service can be used on any mobile device including cell phones and tablets, meaning applicants can apply for visas on the move. The application form is more concise and quicker to complete.

Visa applicants are able to review and edit their application at any point before submission. This makes it easier to revise and update. Fees are presented in the relevant local currency to make the cost clear for applicants.

The new 'Access UK' services allow applicants to:

  • Quickly submit visa applications using an easy-to-follow form
  • Use checklists to make sure all the steps are followed
  • Make amendments at any time
  • Upload all the necessary documentation themselves
  • Apply using any device including cell phones

UK visa types

There are various different types of UK visas available for different purposes. Here are some of the most common types:

Visitor visas

Visitor visas are the standard type of visa which allows visitors to enter for tourism, leisure, business, and short-term medical treatment. These visas can also be used to transit through the UK and to take part in exchange programs and sports events.

Work visas

The UK has a point-based system which controls how many workers can enter. There are a number of different tiers based on the level of skill someone has and which skills the economy needs. People from EU countries can currently work in the UK without any kind of visa. However, this could change if the UK leaves the EU.

Student visas

There are two main types of UK student visas: long-term student visas and short-term student visas. Short-term visas are designed for short language courses as well as training courses. Long-term visas are designed for school children and college students.