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Visa Requirements

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What visas do your require for South Africa?

If you are planning on travelling to South Africa, you may be required to apply for a visa in order to gain entry into the country. 

What is a Visa? 

A visa is an official document that confirms you have applied at the relevant offices to enter the country for a specific purpose and that your application was reviewed and approved by an officer of the South Africa Embassy, Mission or Consulate. 

When you apply for a visa, it is important to apply for the correct type of visa, as entry into the country may be denied if the purpose of the visit is stated incorrectly. 

visa requiremnets for south africa

Your visa will allow you to travel to South African port of entry. Once you are there, an immigration official will check your documentation and determine if you are allowed to enter South Africa and for how long. 

Immigration officials are required to ask you for your visa documentation before allowing you entry into the country. If you are unable to produce a visa at the South African port of entry you may be denied entry and sent back to your home country. 

Who needs a Visa to visit South Africa?

The requirements for entry into South Africa differ from country to country. A visa is required by most non-South African citizens who wish to enter South Africa however visitors from certain countries are exempt from this rule. For a list of exempt countries visit the Department of Home Affairs website. 

What documentation will you require to enter South Africa? 

In order to be allowed to gain entry into South Africa, you will need to have: 

  • A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for your intended stay
  • At least one blank page in your passport for endorsements
  • A valid visa, if required
  • Sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay
  • A return or onward ticket
  • Yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America. 

Types of Visas for South Africa: 

South African Visitor’s Visas can be granted for any of the following purposes:

  • Visits to family or friends and also for tourism purposes 
  • Work Visa 
  • Spouse to join a spouse who is in South Africa on a work or study visas 
  • Children to join parents who are in South Africa on work or study visas  
  • Study Visa
  • Charitable or voluntary activities visa
  • Research visa 
  • Conference visa 
  • To work in the production of a movie or show (i.e. in the entertainment industry) 
  • Medical Treatment Visa  
  • Sport events 
  • Retired Persons’ Visa
  • Relatives’ Visa 

In order to apply for a Visa for South Africa, you will need to produce the following 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, Medical cover or Cash available (including credit cards and travellers’ cheques) 

Remember that you can submit the visa application in person, through a travel agent, courier service or via a family member if you are unable to submit in person. 

If you are in need of a business visa you will also need to produce a letter of invitation from a South African company as well as a letter from your company stating the purpose and duration of your visit. 

Where do you submit your South Africa visa application? 

Your visa is required at the South African port of entry and therefore you must have a valid visa upon reaching the port of entry in order to gain entry into South Africa. 

You can apply for a South African visa at the South African diplomat or consulate offices in your country. If you do not have a South African diplomat or consular representative in your country, then you must send your application to:
Director-General: Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria, 0001
South Africa

What is the cost to obtain a visa for South Africa?
Each visa application is generally treated as an individual case and therefore you should check with the consulate or diplomat office for the fee charged on issuing a visa. The fee payable varies per country.

visa requiremnets for south africa


Visa Applications for other countries in Africa

Please see our blogs posts on Visa requirements for East African Countries and Visa requirements for Western Africa Countries