So, you’re thinking of visiting sunny South Africa? Good choice! Here is what you need to know about getting a South African visa to visit our beautiful country.
A visitor’s visa is required for international travellers (citizens of other countries) who wish to visit South Africa temporarily for tourism or business purposes for a period of 90 days or less.
On entry to South Africa, a visa is considered to be a visitor’s permit. The permit’s period of validity is calculated from the date of entry into the country and will be set out under the heading “conditions” on the visa label.
Please ensure that you apply for the correct visa/permit. Entry into the country may be refused if the purpose of the visit was not correctly stated. Requirements for visitor visas differ from country to country (click here to see which countries are currently exempt), and the requirements are subject to change.
Each application is treated individually. You should make an appointment with your nearest South African consulate. There is a fee charged for processing a visa, so you should check beforehand what this will be (it differs from country to country.) The fee is payable in different currencies in different countries.
Visas are not issued at South African ports of entry, and airline officials must insist on visas before allowing passengers to board. If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials are obliged to put you on a flight back to your home country.
Foreigners with work permits or permit residence) in neighbouring countries who transit through South Africa to their places of employment or residence are not subject to the transit visa, provided they are in possession of proof of their status.
South African visitors’ visas may be granted for:
● visits to family or friends and also for tourism purposes
● business purposes
● joining a spouse who is in South Africa on a work or study permit
● children to join parents who are in South Africa on work or study permits
● fiancée/ fiancé to join his or her partner with the intention of marrying within 90 days
● study purposes (max stay 3 months)
● charitable or voluntary activities
● to work in the production of a movie or show (i.e. in the entertainment industry)
● for medical purposes (max stay 3 months)
● sport events
Documents required to apply for a visa
● 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 TWO unused pages for entry/departure endorsements ● A completed Form BI-84 (application for a visa. Available here)
● 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
○ 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
○ Medical cover or
○ Cash available (including credit cards and travellers’ cheques)