South African visa requirements for overseas visitors | Western Cape Government

South African visa requirements for overseas visitors


Applying for a Visa to visit SAAre you planning to visit South Africa soon? Here's some helpful information before setting off on your travels.

Most non-South Africans wishing to enter South Africa must have a valid visa, which states the purpose and duration of the visit. 

It's important to remember that South Africa's requirements for entry differ from country to country, and can change at any time.

Who needs to apply for a visa?

If you want to visit South Africa for a holiday or business, study or work. There are exemptions to this rule and visitors from certain countries don't need to apply for visas under certain conditions.

Before you're 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).
  • yellow fever certificate if you're 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 3 months)
  • Working in the entertainment industry happy-tourists-in-cape-town
    Two happy tourists doing sightseeing in Cape Town
  • Attending a conference
  • Research purposes
  • Compliance with treaty conditions
  • Study purposes (for a maximum stay of 3 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 their partner to marry 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 1 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.
  • 2 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 or
    • Consent from the guardian in the case of an unaccompanied minorApplication Forms for SA Visas
  • Proof that you can 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 don't have to submit your visa application in person.

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

To apply for a visa, you need to:

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 can't apply for a visa at South African ports of entry.

If there's 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 can't 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:
Provided by:
Government Body: (The Government of South Africa)
The content on this page was last updated on 19 November 2019