South Africa Visa Information
Learn4good provides general information on study, travel, work visa and business visa requirements and the addresses of embassies worldwide. You should contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information or visa forms.
See our Travel Forum to create a travel topic and ask questions to fellow travelers.
Who requires a visa?
Holders of a national passport (diplomatic, official or ordinary) of the following countries / territories / international organisations are not required to hold a visa in respect of purposes for which a visitor’s permit may be issued for an intended stay of 90 days or less and when in transit:
- African Union Laissez Passer, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile (only ordinary passport holders), Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of Germany in SA), Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Namibia (90 days per year), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama (only ordinary passport holders), Paraguay, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania (90 days per year), Trinidad & Tobago (only ordinary passport holders), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (only ordinary passport holders), British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man, British Oversees Territories (namely: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island, Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha), Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the Turks and Caicos Island), United States of America (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of the USA in SA), Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia (90 days per year), Zimbabwe.
Holder of a national passport (diplomatic, official and ordinary) of the following countries / territories / international organisations are not required to hold a visa in respect of purposes for which a visitor’s permit may be issued for an intended stay of 30 days or less and when in transit:
- Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas (only ordinary passport holders), Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Gabon, Guyana, Hong Kong (only with regard to holders of Hong Kong British National Overseas passports and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports), Hungary, Jordan, Lesotho, Macau (only with regard to holders of Macau Special Administrative Region passports (MSAR)), Malaysia, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Peru, Poland, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Swaziland, Thailand, Turkey.
Holders of diplomatic, official and service passports of the following countries do not require visas in respect of purposes for which a visitor’s permit may be issued for the period indicated and transit:
- Albania (120 days), Algeria (30 days), Angola (90 days), Belarus (90 days), Bulgaria (90 days), China (PROC) (30 days) (only diplomatic passport holders), Cyprus (90 days), Comoros (90 days), Croatia (90 days), Cuba (90 days) (diplomatic, official & service), Egypt (30 days), Ghana (90 days), Guinea (90 days), Hungary (120 days), India (90 days), Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) (30 days), Kenya (30 days), Mexico (90 days), Madagascar (30 days), Morocco (30 days), Mozambique (90 days), Nigeria (90 days), Paraguay (120 days), Poland (90 days), Romania (90 days), Russian Federation (90 days), Rwanda (30 days), Slovakia (90 days), Slovenia (120 days), Thailand (90 days), Tunisia (90 days), Vietnam (90 days)
Visas are not required by passport holders of:
- Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi who are entering the Republic as commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers provide their visits do not exceed 15 days and on condition that they can produce a letter confirming their employment with a transport company on entry. The same principle applies to Zimbabwean commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers, except that their sojourn may not exceed 30 days at a time. The afore-mentioned does not apply to commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers who transport goods for a South African transport company. Such drivers must be in possession of a valid work permit.
- A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
- BI-1738 application form.
- Payment of the prescribed fee
- A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
- Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses during the sojourn in the Republic and to also pay for the tuition fees. This should be in the form of:
- bank statements
- cash available,
- or travellers’ cheques
- Proof of medical cover
- A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket.
- In the case of African students, an undertaking from the relevant government to take full responsibility of the student and to pay all costs, should it become necessary to deport the student
- Medical and radiology reports
- An unabridged birth certificate in the case of minors.
- In the case of a minor, the particulars of the person in the Republic of South Africa who will act as the learner’s guardian and a letter from such person confirming guardianship
- Consent from both parents for your stay in South Africa, or from the parent who has sole custody, along with proof of sole custody
- An official letter from the educational institution, where you intend to study, confirming provisional acceptance and the duration of the course.
- Proof of medical cover renewed annually for the period of study with a medical scheme registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act.
- If you are 18 years and older, a police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years is required. This should be submitted with the application or within three months of submission
Visitor's Permit Documentation
- A passport or travel document valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of your intended visit
- Your passport must have at least one unused page for entry / departure endorsements
- A completed Form BI-84 (application for a visa)
- Payment of the prescribed fee
- A yellow-fever vaccination certificate (if required)
- Statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit
- Two colour passport photographs A return or onward ticket if you are travelling by air
- If you have children (minors) travelling with you or joining in South Africa, you will need to provide the following additional documents
- Unabridged birth certificate Proof of guardianship or custody or
- Consent from the guardian in the case of an unaccompanied minor
- Proof of financial means to pay for your living expenses while in South Africa in the form of:
- Bank statements Salary advances Undertakings by the host(s) in South Africa Bursary Medical cover or
- Cash available (including credit cards and travellers’ cheques)
What is the cost of a visa?
Nationals of certain countries are subject to visa fees. Fees are charged per application and are not refundable if the application be refused. Fees must be paid in postal money order or certified bank check payable to SACG (if application was submitted to any of the three Consulates General in the USA) or South African Embassy (if application was submitted to the South African Embassy in Washington, DC). The postal money order or certified bank check must be made out with the exact amount as no refunds will be made. Cash and personal check payments are not accepted.
Fees applicable only in the United States
- Visitor's, Business, Medical Visa $36.00
- Business Permit $127.00
- Corporate Permit $0.00
- Retired Person's Permit $36.00
- Study Permit $36.00
- Transit Visa $36.00
- Treaty Permit $36.00
- Work Permit $127.00
- Exchange Visa $36.00
- Permanent Residence $127.00
How long is the visa valid for?
Study permits are valid for the duration of the program of study. Visitor’s permits are issued on entry in South Africa and are for visits of three (3) months. If your visit would exceed 90 days and you want to travel to South Africa to work, you will need to apply for a work permit instead of a visitor's visa. Requirements for a work permit are not the same as a visitor (tourist) visa.
How to Apply for a South African Study Permit
If you are a foreign student and wish to study in South Africa you can apply for a study visa by completing Form BI-1738. Study visas must be applied for at VFS Centre across the country near the educational institution you will be studying at or at the nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad. Study visas for studies at a learning institution shall be issued other than a school shall be issued for the duration of course registered for. Study visas for learning institutions defined as a school shall be valid for the duration of the study: provided the duration shall not exceed eight years at a primary school and 6 years at a secondary school.
Students are required to provide proof of medical cover renewed annually for the period of study with a medical scheme registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act. However, where a student is attending a school contemplated in section 1 of the South African Schools Act as the dependent child of a parent holding a visa issued in terms of section 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20 or 22 of the Immigration Act and is registered on the medical aid or international health insurance of such parent, proof of South African medical cover is not required.
Embassy contact information:
Please contact the nearest South African embassy for information on what documentation you may require to enter South Africa.
Disclaimer: The contents of these pages are provided as an information guide only, in good faith. The use of this website is at the viewer/user’s sole risk. While every effort is made in presenting up-to-date and accurate information, no responsibility or liability is accepted by the owners to this website for any errors, omissions, outdated or misleading information on these pages or any site to which these pages connect or are linked.
Source & Copyright: The source of the above visa and immigration information and copyright owner/s is the:
– South African Missions in New York – URL: www.southafrica-newyork.net
– South African Department of Home Affairs – URL: www.home-affairs.gov.za
The viewer/user of this web page should use the above information as a guideline only, and should always contact the above sources or the user’s own government representatives for the most up-to-date information at that moment in time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.