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Do You Need A Visa To Visit South Africa

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Are you planning to visit South Africa soon? Do you need a visa to visit? We have compiled this 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.

No Visa Is Required If You Hold A Passport From These Countries

Angola Botswana Benin
Cabo Verde eSwatini Gabon
Lesotho Malawi Mauritius
Mozambique Namibia Seychelles
Tanzania Zambia Zimbabwe


A Visa Is Required If You Hold A Passport From These Countries

Alegria Burkina Faso Burundi
Cameroon Central African Republic Chad
Comoros Congo Republic Cote d’Ivoire
Djibouti Democratic Republic of Congo Egypt
Equitorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia
Ghana The Gambia Guinea
Guinea Bissau Kenya Liberia
Madagascar Mali Mauritania
Morocco Niger Nigeria
Rwanda Sao Tome & Principe Senegal
Sierra Leone Somalia South Sudan
Sudan Togo Tunisia

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
  • 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
  • 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.

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. See the list of South African Representation abroad here.


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