South Africa Visa

There is no doubt that South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and it has a wide range of attractions- from coastlines, dramatic mountain scapes, untamed bushveld, and beautiful semi-deserts to lakes, waterfalls, canyons, forests, and vast plains. It is no surprise that it is an ideal destination for travel and business.

But, in order to visit South Africa, many visitors must apply for a South Africa visa.

Who Is Exempt From Visas for South Africa?

Citizens of the following countries with an ordinary passport can enter South Africa without a visa:

African Union Laissez PasserAfrican Development Bank Laissez-PassersAndorraAngola*
AnguillaAntigua and Barbuda*ArgentinaAustralia
BotswanaBrazilBritish Antarctic TerritoryBritish Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin IslandCanadaCape Verde*Cayman Islands
ChileCosta Rica*Cyprus*Czech Republic
Kingdom of DenmarkDucie and Oeno IslandsEcuadorFalkland Islands
HendersonHong Kong*Hungary*Iceland
IrelandIsle of ManIsraelItaly
Kingdom of Eswatini*Lesotho*LiechtensteinLuxembourg
MontserratMozambique*Namibia*the Netherlands
New ZealandNorwayPanamaParaguay
Peru*Pitcairn IslandsPoland*Portugal
QatarRepublic of Korea*Russian FederationSaint Helena
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesSan MarinoSão Tomé and PríncipeSaudi Arabia
Seychelles**SingaporeSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSpain
Trinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkey*Turks and Caicos Islands
United Arab Emiratesthe United KingdomUnited States of AmericaUruguay
VenezuelaVirgin IslandsZambia*Zimbabwe

*Citizens of these countries are free to visit up to 30 days while the rest can visit the country up to 90 days.

Note; the number of countries exempt from South Africa visas might change depending on whether you have a diplomatic, official, or service passport. Make sure you consult with a South African embassy or consulate.

Types of Visas in South Africa

South Africa has numerous types of visas that are designed for different purposes. The types of South Africa visas include:

  • South Africa tourist visa (e-Visa). A South Africa tourist visa is for international travelers who want to visit South Africa for a short period for tourism. The tourist visa has been launched for 14 different nationalities to apply online only. Once approved, the e-Visa will be sent to your email, and you will be able to enter South Africa by presenting the e-Visa at the border.
  • South Africa visitor visa. A South Africa visitor visa allows visitors to enter the country for a maximum period of 90 days for tourism and business purposes. A visitor visa is by far the most popular one issued.
  • South Africa business visa. In order to work or invest in the South African economy, eligible citizens can apply for a South Africa Business Visa for a maximum of 90 days. It is necessary to complete the BI-1738 Form before investing or starting a business. Investors must also make a financial contribution.
  • South Africa work visa. South Africa Work Visas are issued to foreigners with specific skills in demand. The visa length depends on the type of work the applicant performs. Visa applications can be submitted at either a Visa Facilitation Services Center (VFS) in South Africa or at an embassy or consulate abroad.
  • South Africa medical visa. This visa is issued to foreigners who intend to undergo medical treatment in South Africa. The medical visa may be issued for a maximum period of six months at a time. In order to apply, you must complete the BI-1738 form and provide a letter from your doctor or medical institution explaining why you need treatment.
  • South Africa student visa. A South African student visa allows international students to reside in South Africa while studying there at a primary or secondary school (whether public or private), college, further education, training institution, university, specialist skills school, or other educational institution. The visas are valid for the duration of the course.
  • South Africa transit visa. Foreigners who will travel through South Africa on their way to one of its neighbors are given transit permits. The duration of the visa is three days or less.
  • South Africa relatives’ visa. A South Africa relatives’ visa is issued to the relatives of a South African citizen or permanent resident who intend to reside in South Africa. The visa is valid for a maximum period of two years at a time.
  • South Africa exchange visa. A South Africa exchange visa is issued for international people who are 25 or under and want to participate in cultural, economic, or social exchange programs. A state institution or a public higher education institution must collaborate with a foreign government to organize the exchange programs. Visas are valid for the duration of the program and cannot be renewed.
  • South Africa retired persons’ visa. Those wishing to retire in South Africa can apply for a retired person’s visa. In addition to meeting the financial requirements, applicants must also complete the BI-1738 application form. Currently, a foreigner must get a minimum of R37,000/ USD 2,129 per month.

How to Get a South Africa Visa?

You can apply online for an e-visa or at the nearest visa application center to get a South Africa visa.

Applying at an Embassy/Consulate

The application process in person at an embassy or consulate includes the following steps:

  1. Find out which type of visa you need to apply for. Firstly, determine which visa type you need depending on the purpose of your visit to South Africa, and check whether you are eligible for it.
  2. Book an appointment. Find the nearest South Africa visa application office and book an appointment— this could be an embassy, consulate or a visa application center. Make sure you do it weeks before the intended trip because frequently, depending on your nationality, you have to go to a different country to attend the visa appointment. Please note that depending on the country, sometimes, you can drop off at the visa application center without booking an appointment.
  3. Complete the application form. Next, download the visa application form, complete it, print it out, and do not forget to bring it to the application center.
  4. Gather the required documents. Find out what documents you need depending on your South Africa visa type and collect them.
  5. Attend the scheduled appointment. You must attend the appointment for your visa application and not send someone else in your place. There you should submit the required documents and your biometric information.
  6. Pay your fees. You will have to pay the visa fee at the visa application center with a credit, debit card, or cash.
  7. Wait for a decision. After completing the previous steps, you only have to wait for a decision. The processing time for a South Africa visa is around ten to fifteen days.
  8. Collect your visa. After a decision is made, you can go pick up your passport, which has your visa. You will need to bring your visa application center receipt and a form of government identification when you pick up your passport in person. A representative may be allowed to collect your passport; they must present a letter of authorization signed by you, the visa application center receipt, and government identification.

Applying for an e-Visa

South Africa’s e-Visa was launched in February 2022 for travelers from 14 countries. The South African Government will add more countries soon. The eligible countries in 2022 are:

  • Cameroon
  • China
  • the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • India
  • Iran
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • the Philippines
  • Pakistan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Uganda

You can apply for a South Africa e-Visa if the purpose of your visit is tourism or business. The application process is as follows:

  1. Access the South Africa e-Visa website. You will start the application at the Department of Home Affairs website. It will take about ten minutes to finish the application.
  2. Create your account. To create your account, a few details are required from you, such as your name, passport number, email address, and password. Your account will be activated once you receive a verification email.
  3. Complete the e-visa application form. You will then need to log in to your account. After that, you’ll need to provide all the necessary information. You are expected to provide information about your travel (how long you plan to stay in South Africa, where you will stay), your passport, and any other relevant details.
  4. Upload the required documents. Next, upload all the necessary documents. The documents are similar to those when you apply at a visa application center.
  5. Pay the visa fees. At the end of the application process, you will see the amount you need to pay at the end of the application process. You can pay them online with your debit or credit card.
  6. Wait for approval. The process takes about three working days. However, sometimes you can expect longer.
  7. Receive your e-Visa. As soon as your online visa request is approved, you will receive an email confirming the issuance of your e-Visa.

What Are the Requirements for a South Africa Visa?

The documents  you need when applying for a South Africa visa include:

  • A completed application Form BI-84.
  • A valid passport or travel document. Your passport needs to be valid for no less than 30 days after your intended visit ends and have at least two unused pages for entry and departure endorsements.
  • Two colored passport-sized photographs.
  • Proof of the payment fee.
  • A yellow-fever vaccination certificate (if required).
  • A return or onward ticket if you are traveling by air.
  • Proof of relationship to dependents. You 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 sufficient means while in South Africa, in the form of:
  • Bank statements.
  • Salary advances.
  • Undertakings by the host in South Africa.
  • Bursery.
  • Medical cover or
  • Cash available (including credit cards and travelers’ cheques).

How Much Bank Balance is Required for a South Africa Visa?

According to the high commission requirements, you must have funds equivalent to 3000 South African Rand ($164.30) to apply for the visa. It is also important to ensure that you have easy access to the funds and that your transaction history is stable.

How Long Can You Stay With a South Africa Visa?

The validity of a South Africa visa is a maximum of 90 days. To stay longer you may apply for a visa extension, and for long-term stays you may require a temporary residence permit.

How Much Does a South Africa Visa Cost?

The fee for a South Africa visa depends on the type of visa. The list of the South Africa fees is as follows:

Type of visaFee in South African Rand (R)Fee in United States Dollar ($)
Visitor visa425(Approx.) 24
Transit visa425(Approx.) 24
Student visa425(Approx.) 24
Exchange visa425(Approx.) 24
Treaty visa425(Approx.) 24
Medical treatment visa425(Approx.) 24
Retired person’s visa425(Approx.) 24
Business permit1520(Approx.) 88
Work visa1520(Approx.) 88
Corporate visa1520(Approx.) 88
Family (Relatives) visa425(Approx.) 24
Renewal of Visitor’s Permit425(Approx.) 24

Note: The fees for the South Africa visa are liable to change without notice and can differ depending on which country you are applying from.

How Long Does It Take to get a South Africa Visa?

The processing time for a South Africa visa is ten to fifteen working days. Nevertheless, this might change depending on the type of visa and the country you are applying from.

What if My Visa Gets Rejected?

If your visa is denied, you will have ten working days to submit an appeal. You will need to find out the reason for your visa refusal to overturn the rejection notice. In addition, you will have only one chance to appeal; after that, you will have no grounds to appeal again. You can do the appeal yourself or ask an immigration consultant to assist you.

Some of the reasons why your visa may be denied include the following:

  • Important documents were not included in your application.
  • You have a criminal record.
  • You have a medical illness.
  • You are not qualified for the visa you are applying for.
  • You have overstayed your visa in South Africa and submitted an expired visa.
  • You have submitted forged documents.
  • Lack of evidence to convince the Department of Home Affairs to issue you the visa.