Everything you need to know about South African visas

On August 22, 2019 / by Sherone Lewis / Leave a comment


If you’re a citizen of another country and want to travel to South Africa, then you need a visa. The “visitor” visa is for international travelers who permanently reside outside South Africa. It’s also for those who wish to visit the country on a more temporary basis for tourism or business purposes. But it won’t last forever. Once acquired, this visa is valid for a no longer than 90 days.

A visa will grant you access to the South African port of entry, where an immigration official will determine if you are allowed to enter the country and for how long. Always remember, all visitors are restricted only to the activity or reason for which their visas were issued.

So now you’ve made it into the country. Once here, the visa is considered to be a visitor’s permit. The permit’s period of validity is set from the date you came in and will be set out under the heading “conditions” on the visa label. It’s important to ensure that you apply for the correct visa or permit. If not, entry into the country may be refused if the purpose of the visit was not correctly stated.

Remember, there is a fee that will be charged for issuing you a visa, and you should check the cost with the office as well as this is updated annually. The fee is payable in different currencies in different countries.

It is important to get your visa. These are not issued at South African ports of entry, and airline officials are obliged to insist on visas before allowing passengers to board. If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials are obliged to put you onto a flight back to your home country.

South Africa requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all foreign visitors and citizens over one year of age. This is essential for people travelling from an infected area or for those who have been country hopping through infected areas. Countries such as Zambia, Angola and Mozambique are considered as infected areas.

You will need the following if you wish to visit South Africa:

  • A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for your intended stay
  • At least one blank page in your passport for endorsements
  • A valid visa, if required
  • Sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay
  • A return or onward ticket
  • Yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America

For more information on various visa requirements, please make sure you get in touch with one of our experienced Immigration Consultants today.

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Sherone Lewis

Sherone Lewis

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