The UK Border Agency in South Africa has the introduction of pre-entry tuberculosis (TB) screening for South Africans planning extended visits to the United Kingdom. The arrangements also apply to UK visa applicants resident in Lesotho and Swaziland.
This follows the UK government’s announcement in May 2012 that it would be extending the TB screening requirement to an additional 67 countries, on the basis of World Health Organisation figures for high TB incidence.
Pre-entry TB screening is only required by individuals who are planning to remain in the UK for more than six months.
Anyone who is going to the UK for six months or less – for example on business, family or tourist visitor visas – is not required to undergo a pre-entry TB test. This includes people applying for two-, five- and 10-year visitor visas, because the maximum stay in the UK at any one time is still six months.
However, from 31 December 2012 anyone who wishes to travel to the UK for longer than six months – for example to study, for employment or to settle permanently – must be screened and obtain a certificate from an approved clinic in South Africa to show that they are free from TB before they make a UK visa application.
From this date, all UK visa applications for entry longer than six months must be accompanied by a TB clearance certificate.
Most applicants will require only a physical examination and a chest x-ray. If the results show an individual is clear of TB, the clinic will issue a certificate. This certificate must be submitted with the UK visa application. The certificate will be returned to the applicant after the visa application has been processed. When travelling to the UK, the certificate must be carried in hand luggage and presented if requested on arrival at the UK airport.
Some applicants may require further TB testing, including the provision of sputum samples. Anyone testing positive for active TB will be referred for treatment to receive the appropriate medical care. Treatment for TB typically takes six months, following which the person would need to be screened again to show that they are free of TB before they make a UK visa application.
Further information about arranging a TB screening appointment at an approved clinic is available on the British High Commission’s website: UK in South Africa and the UK Border Agency’s website: UK Border Agency | South Africa. The cost of the screening will be met by the applicant and the fee covers the required diagnostic tests.