The UK Government announced on 19 July 2023 that, with immediate effect, all Namibian nationals will need a visa before travelling to the UK, including to visit.
The decision to impose a visa regime has been made because of the sustained and significant increase since 2016, in the number of UK asylum applications from Namibian nationals at the UK border. This constitutes an abuse of the provision to visit the UK for a limited period as non-visa nationals.
The changes, which come into effect immediately, will apply to all Namibian nationals travelling to the UK. However, there will be a four-week transition period until 15:00 BST on 16 August 2023. During this period, Namibian nationals holding confirmed tickets booked before 19 July 2023 will still be permitted to travel to the UK as non-visa nationals.
British High Commissioner to Namibia, Charles Moore, said:
I fully understand that the imposition of a visa regime will be of concern to the many Namibian nationals, who we warmly welcome to visit the United Kingdom as genuine visitors. Unfortunately, the significant increase in asylum claims from Namibian nationals on arrival at the UK border has made it necessary for us to implement these new measures.
We have regularly discussed the increase in asylum applications with the Government of the Republic of Namibia, and continue to work jointly on returning those Namibian nationals who are ultimately determined to be ineligible for asylum in the United Kingdom.
Visas provide access to the UK while helping to secure the UK border by preventing abuse of the non-visa provision
The announced changes bring Namibia into line with many other visa-national countries, including many Commonwealth partners, with whom the UK has warm and friendly relations. Visas provide access to the UK while helping to secure the UK border by preventing abuse of the non-visa provision.
The UK Government has increased the capacity at the Visa Application Centre in Windhoek to accommodate the processing of visitor visa applications in Namibia. Visa applications are submitted and paid for online at www.gov.uk/apply-to-come-to-the-uk, after which applicants book an appointment to provide their biometrics and hand over their passports.
The UK Government aims to process applications within 15 UK working days of receipt of the passport and biometrics. Applicants can apply up to 3 months in advance of travel.
The cost of a six-month multiple entry visa for the UK can be found at Visa fees – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Longer validity visas are also available.
Namibian nationals who booked travel to the UK before 15:00 BST on 19 July 2023 will still be eligible to travel to the UK without a visa until 15:00 BST on 16 August 2023. Any passengers arriving after 15:00 BST on 16 August 2023 will require a visa to enter the UK, regardless of when their travel was booked. Anyone booking their flight after 15:00 BST on 19 July 2023 will also need a visa, regardless of when they will arrive in the UK.
Namibian visitors already in the UK will not be affected by these changes but, once they leave the UK, they will need a visitor visa in order to make any future visit. Namibian nationals are already required to obtain a visa for other (non-visit) purposes, such as to work or study. Applicants for student or other visas will continue to be able to apply for these visas in Namibia, as they have done previously.
- a Standard Visitor Visa can be used for tourism, business, study (courses up to 6 months) and other permitted activities. Individuals can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months and might be able to apply to stay for longer in certain circumstances, for example, to get medical treatment
- UK Immigration statistics are released quarterly and may be found in the Immigration system statistics quarterly release section of the GOV.UK website
- in line with standard UK practice around the world, the British High Commission in Windhoek will not be able to issue visas, receive applications, provide advice on individual needs or applications, or answer any enquiries related to visas. Those needing advice should check GOV.UK for guidance and refer to Find a visa application centre for more information