South Africa Visa: Everything You Need to Know

South Africa is a popular destination for international travelers, and obtaining the necessary visa is an essential part of planning a visit. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to South African Visas, including the purpose of Visitor’s Visas, how to apply for a visa, and the requirements for obtaining a visa. So, if you’re planning a trip to South Africa, keep reading to learn more about the visa application process.

Purpose of Visitor’s Visas

In essence, Visitor’s Visas serve as official authorizations for temporary entry into South Africa. The South African government issues these visas after carefully reviewing applications at designated embassies, missions, or consulates.

Applying for a South African Visa

To apply for a South African visa, international travelers should contact their nearest South African mission, consulate abroad, or any Department of Home Affairs office.

Validity of the Visitor’s Permit

To avoid complications when entering South Africa, applying for the correct visa/permit is essential. According to South African immigration authorities, a Visitor’s Permit is considered the entry permit to the country, and its validity period is calculated from the entry date. Therefore, it is crucial to accurately state the purpose of your visit when applying for a visa to ensure a smooth entry into the country.

Requirements for Visitor’s Visas

Visitor visa requirements vary depending on the country of origin and are subject to change. Some countries are currently exempt from visa requirements. Travelers should contact their nearest South African mission, consulate abroad, or any Department of Home Affairs office to determine if a visa is required.

Visa Fees

Travelers should be aware that there is a fee charged for issuing a visa, which varies depending on the country of origin and is updated annually. The fee is payable in different currencies in different countries.

Obligations of Airline Officials and Immigration Officials

South African ports of entry do not issue visas, and airline officials are required to ask for visas before allowing passengers to board. Immigration officials must return travelers to their home country if they arrive without a visa.

Exemptions from Transit Visa Requirement

Foreigners with long-term status (work permits/permit residence) in neighboring countries who transit the Republic to return to their employment or residence are not subject to the transit visa, provided they have proof of their status.

Who is Eligible for the South Africa Visa

  • Visiting family or friends for tourism.
  • Business-related activities.
  • Joining a spouse in South Africa on a work or study permit.
  • Joining parents who are in South Africa on work or study permits.
  • Joining a fiancĂ©/fiancĂ©e with the intention of marrying within 90 days.
  • For study purposes, with a maximum stay of 3 months.
  • Charitable or voluntary activities.
  • Conducting research.
  • Attending conferences.
  • Working in the production of a movie or show in the entertainment industry.
  • Receiving medical treatment, with a maximum stay of 3 months.
  • Participating in sporting events.

Documents required for South African Visa

  • A passport or travel document valid for at least 30 days after the intended visit has two unused pages for entry/departure endorsements.
  • A completed application form (Form BI-84).
  • Payment of the prescribed visa fee.
  • A yellow-fever vaccination certificate, if required.
  • Statement or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit.
  • Two color passport photographs.
  • A return or onward ticket if traveling by air.
  • Proof of guardianship, custody, or consent from a guardian for minors traveling with you or joining in South Africa.
  • Proof of financial means to pay for living expenses can be through bank statements, salary advances, undertakings by the host(s) in South Africa, bursaries, medical cover, or cash available.

Requirements for entering South Africa

The following are the requirements for entering South Africa:

  • A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for the intended stay.
  • At least one blank page in the passport for endorsements.
  • A valid visa, if required.
  • Sufficient funds to pay for day-to-day expenses during the stay.
  • A return or onward ticket.
  • Yellow fever certificates if the journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.
  • These are the minimum requirements, and the immigration officer may request additional documentation or information upon arrival in South Africa.


In conclusion, international travelers need to understand the purpose of Visitor’s Visas, the requirements for obtaining a visa, and visa fees. Also, they should ensure they apply for the correct visa/permit and have the necessary documentation before traveling to South Africa.

You can also learn more about other African Visas Online in this blog post.