South African visa requirements for overseas visitors

South African visa requirements for overseas visitors

Original Article:
Written by: Western Cape Government

Are you planning to visit South Africa soon? Here is some useful information before setting off on your travels. Most non-South African citizens wishing to enter South Africa must have a valid visa, which states the purpose and duration of the visit. It is important to note that the requirements for entry into South Africa differ from country to country, and can change at any time.

Who needs to apply for a visa?

If you are not a South African citizen, you’ll need to apply for a visa before you are allowed to enter the country. However, there are exemptions to this rule and visitors from certain other countries do not need to apply for visas under certain conditions.

Before you will be allowed to enter South Africa, you need to have:

  • A valid passport / travel document which covers the period that you intend to stay in the country.
  • A valid visa, if required.
  • Enough money to cover your daily expenses.
  • A return / onward air ticket (or departure date/time for ships).
  • A yellow fever certificate if you are travelling through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.

South African visitors’ visas may be granted for:

  • Medical treatment (for a maximum stay of three months)
  • Working in the entertainment industry Visa to visit SA
  • Attending a conference
  • Research purposes
  • Compliance with treaty conditions
  • Study purposes (for a maximum stay of three months)
  • A spouse to join 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
  • A fiancée/ fiancé to join his or her partner with the intention of marrying within 90 days
  • Sports events
  • Crew members on ships
  • Cultural / economic / social exchange programmes
  • Transit visas (foreigners en-route to neighbouring countries)

Find out more about the various types of visas you can apply for.

Documents you’ll need for your visa application

  • 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 BI-84 Form (application for a visa)
  • Proof of 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 travelling with you or joining you in South Africa, you will need to provide the following additional documents:
    • Proof of guardianship or custody
    • Consent from the guardian in the case of an unaccompanied minor
  • Application Forms for SA Visas:
  • Proof that you are able 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
    • Cash available (including credit cards and travellers’ cheques)

Remember, you do not have to submit your visa application in person.

Note: If you are unable to submit the application in person, you can ask anyone else (such as a travel agent or courier services or another family member) to submit the application on your behalf.

To apply for a visa, you need to:

  • Submit the BI-84 application form
  • Show your passport (or provide certified copies if the application is posted)
  • Provide two passport photos
  • Pay the relevant visa fee, if applicable (refer to the list of countries subject to visa fees)
  • Show that you have booked an air ticket.
  • Note: If a business visa is applied for, you also need to provide a letter of invitation from the South African company to be visited, as well as a letter from your company.

    Where can you apply for a visa:

    You must organise a visa before you come to South Africa. You cannot apply for a visa at South African ports of entry. If there is a South African diplomatic or consular representative in your country, then you must submit your visa application to them. View the list of South African offices abroad. If there is no South African diplomat or consulate in your country, you can send your application to:

    Director-General: Foreign Affairs
    Private Bag X152
    Pretoria, 0001
    South Africa


    Visa for medical treatment - R425 (four days' waiting period)
    Visa for working in the entertainment industry - R1520 (six weeks' waiting period)
    Visa for attending a conference - R425 (one to four days' waiting pertiod)
    Visa for compliance of Treaty Conditions - R425 (six weeks' waiting period)
    Visa for crew (maritime) - R425 (six weeks' waiting period)
    Visa for cultural / economic / social exchange programmes - R425 (six weeks' waiting period)

    Don't forget:

    There are certain goods that you cannot bring into South Africa and other goods on which duties need to be paid. Find out more on:

    Contact Information:

    For more information on how to apply for a visa to visit South Africa, contact your nearest South African diplomatic or consular representative or visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

    Provided At: These facility categories: Home Affairs Offices

    Government Body: Department of Home Affairs (National) (The Government of South Africa)

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