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Visa requirement for South Africa enforced today

From today, visitors to the United Kingdom from South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland will only be able to travel with a visa.

Visitors will now be fingerprinted and checked against watch-lists before being issued with a visa to travel. The new rules were introduced to counter passport and identity fraud, and follow Britain's first global review of who needs a visa to come to the United Kingdom for a short-term visit.

Visa regimes for visitors have now been imposed on five new countries – Bolivia, Venezuela, South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. This follows a global assessment by the Government of all non-European countries to determine the level of risk their citizens potentially pose to the United Kingdom in terms of illegal immigration, crime and security.

The roll out of these new regimes began earlier this year with all first-time visitors to the United Kingdom from South Africa requiring visas from 3 March, followed in May by the roll out to all visitors from Bolivia and Venezuela. Today marks the completion of this process with all visitors from South Africa, plus those coming from Lesotho and Swaziland, requiring visas to travel here.