VFS Study Visa Renewal

VFS Study Visa Renewal

Study Visa RenewalApplying for a South African student visa renewal

Do you need to extend your student visa and don’t know where to start? Extending your study visa can be daunting if you are not familiar with the process and this might lead to your visa being rejected by the Department of Home Affairs.

We understand that being a student is hard work, you need to concentrate on your studies and dealing with extending a study visa is the last thing you need to be busy with. We thought that we would create this blog post to make life easier and give you all the information you need.

We recommend that you start at least 6 – 9 months before your visa lapses and the reason why we recommend doing it this way is that you have ample time should you experience any hiccups. Believe me, you will experience some hiccups with obtaining the required paperwork.

If you have the finances to use an immigration agent in South Africa, then we would recommend you make use of one as immigration consultants are experienced and would know how to compile your application for the best possible outcome.

Can I renew my student visa while in South Africa?

Renew Study visa in South Africa

Yes, you can extend your study visa in South Africa. You do not need to apply for an extension in your country of residence abroad. All visa extensions must be submitted through VFS in South Africa and no applications will be accepted directly at the Department of Home Affairs.

You need to submit your application within 60 days before your visa lapses and before you submit you first need to schedule an appointment on VFS’s website. Remember that before you schedule your appointment, your paperwork must be in order and 100% correct.

Renewing your study visa in South Africa is the same as applying for a new student visa. If you do decide to start way ahead of time, remember that time-sensitive documents must be applied for closer to the end as the medical and radiological reports should not be older than 6 months at the time of submission.

Can I renew my student visa before it expires?

Yes, you can as long as it is done 60 days before the time or if your visa was issued for 30 days or less then the submission must be made 7 working days before the visa lapses.

A study visa is a form of temporary residence. The study visa renewal checklist for South Africa can vary from person to person as each applicant’s situation differs, but the general list can be found below.

Documents needed for study visa renewal

Student Visa renewal documents

  • Correctly completed online form. No handwritten forms will be accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.
  • You should have a valid passport that expires no less than 30 days after the expiry of your intended departure date from the country.
  • You must apply in person within 60 days before your visa lapses and if your visa was issued for less than 30 days then 7 working days before the visa lapses.
  • Yellow fever certificate (if applicable)
  • Original Police clearance certificate issued by the police or security authority in each country where the relevant applicant resided for 12 months or longer after attaining the age of 18 years except for South Africa, in respect of criminal records or the character of that applicant, which certificate shall not be older than six months at the time of its submission: (Provided that the certificate shall not be required from a foreign country in the case of extension of a visa)
  • Biometric enrolment fee
  • Medical report (should not be older than 6 months at the time of submission)
  • Radiological report (should not be older than 6 months at the time of submission)
  • Marriage certificate or in the case of a foreign spousal relationship, proof of official recognition thereof issued by the authorities of the foreign country of the applicant (where applicable).
  • The affidavit where a spousal relationship to a South African citizen or resident is applicable, as well as documentation proving cohabitation and the extent to which the related financial responsibilities are shared by the parties and setting out the particulars of children in the spousal relationship.
  • Divorce decree (if applicable)
  • Court order granting full or specific parental responsibilities and rights, where applicable.
  • Death certificate (if applicable)
  • Written consent from both parents and full parental responsibilities, where applicable.
  • Proof of adoption (if applicable)
  • Legal separation order (if applicable)
  • Official letter confirming provisional acceptance or acceptance at the chosen learning institute and including the duration of the course.
  • An undertaking by the Registrar or Principal of the learning institution to-
      1. provide proof of registration as contemplated in the relevant legislation within 60 days of registration; or
      2. In the event of failure to register by the closing date, provide the Director-General with notification of failure to register within 7 days of the closing date of registration;
      3. Within 30 days, notify the Director-General that the applicant is no longer registered with such institution; and
      • Within 30 days, notify the Director-General when the applicant has completed his or her studies or requires to extend such period of study
  • Proof of all applicable fees
  • An official letter from the Registrar or Principal of the learning institution confirming that the
    • The applicant is required to extend his or her period of study and the duration of such study.
    • An undertaking by the parents or legal guardian that the learner will have medical cover for the full duration of the period of study
    • In the case of a minor (i.e. a person under 18):
  • proof of physical address -and contact number of the adult person residing in the Republic, who is acting or has accepted to act as such learner’s guardian, including a confirmatory letter from that guardian; and
  1. proof of consent for the intended stay from both parents or, where applicable, from the parent or legal guardian, who has been issued with a court order granting full or specific parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship of the learner.
  • In the case of a foreign state accepting responsibility for the applicant in terms of a bilateral agreement:
      1. a written undertaking from such a foreign state to pay for the departure of the applicant.
  • Proof of medical cover with a medical scheme registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act, 1998 (Act No 131 of 1998).
  • Proof of sufficient financial means.

Important things to note:

    • In respect of an application by a person who is a learner under the age of 18 years and is a dependent child of the holder of a visa issued in terms of sections 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20 or 22 of the Act, a certified copy of such holder’s visa and a written undertaking by parents or legal guardian that the learner will have medical cover for the full duration of the period of study shall be required.
  • Where the learner is under the age of 18 years and is a dependent child of the holder of a visa issued in terms of sections 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20 or 22 of the Act, there is no need for a separate medical aid membership for the applicant where proof exists that the learner is a registered dependent on a medical scheme of a holder of a valid visa.
    • If the applicant for a study visa is the main applicant and is not accompanying a holder of a valid visa issued in terms of sections 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20 or 22 of the Act, then proof of medical cover renewed annually for the period of study with a medical scheme registered in terms of the South African Medical Schemes Act shall be required.
    • Visas issued for studies at a learning institution, other than a school contemplated in section 1 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No. 84 of 1996), shall be issued for the duration of the course for which the applicant has registered;
    • Visas issued for studies at a learning institution, which is a school contemplated in section 1 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No. 84 of 1996), shall be valid for the duration of the period of study: Provided that the study visa issued for studies at a primary school shall not exceed eight years and for a secondary school shall not exceed six years.
    • However, any visa issued for studies at all learning institutions to a learner who is a dependent child of the holder of a visa issued in terms of sections 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20 or 22 of the Act, shall NOT be issued longer than the validity period of the visa issued to the accompanied parent or accompanied holder of section 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20 or 22 visas of the Act.
    • Duly completed online form. Handwritten forms will not be accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.
    • The passport is valid for no less than 30 calendar days after the expiry of the intended visit.
    • A medical report.
    • A radiological report.
    • Marriage certificate or in the case of a foreign spousal relationship, proof of official recognition thereof issued by the authorities of the foreign country of the applicant (where applicable).
    • The affidavit where a spousal relationship to a South African citizen or resident is applicable as well as documentation proving cohabitation and the extent to which the related financial responsibilities are shared by the parties and setting out the particulars of children in the spousal relationship.
    • Proof of a union recognised in terms of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, 1998 (Act No. 120 of 1998), where applicable.
    • Divorce decree, where applicable.
    • Proof of court order awarding custody, where applicable.
    • Death certificate, in respect of late spouse, where applicable.
    • Written consent from both parents and/or sole custody parent, where applicable, with proof of sole custody.
    • Proof of legal adoption where applicable.
    • Legal separation order, where applicable.
    • Original Police clearance certificate issued by the police or security authority in each country where the relevant applicant resided for 12 months or longer after attaining the age of 18 years except for South Africa, in respect of criminal records or the character of that applicant, which certificate shall not be older than six months at the time of its submission: (Provided that the certificate shall not be required from a foreign country in the case of extension of a visa)
    • South African police clearance will be validated upon biometric enrolment at the VFS centre effective as of 01 October 2016 at a fee of R175 (Inclusive of Vat) Per Applicant
    • Biometric enrolment fee applicable: Yes
    • a yellow fever vaccination certificate if that person travelled or intends travelling from or transiting through a yellow fever endemic area: (Provided that the certificate shall not be required where that person travelled or intends travelling in direct transit through such area)
    • Proof of payment of the applicable fee
  • In addition to the above requirements, in the case of a learning institution in the Republic, in conjunction with foreign education and training institution or a foreign state institution organising or administering the programme, submit a letter from:
    • Proof of a valid return air flight ticket or written undertaking by the organ of state or learning institution accepting responsibility for the return or deportation costs of the applicant, as the case may be
    • Proof of medical cover for the duration of the exchange period with a medical scheme registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act.
    • the Department of Basic Education or Higher Education and Training or a learning institution in the Republic confirming that it is responsible for organising or administering the existence of the programme, outlining the activities, terms and conditions and duration thereof and accepting full responsibility for the student while he or she is in the Republic; and
    • the foreign state institution or education and training institution confirming the particulars of the applicant, the applicant’s enrolment with the foreign education and training institution, and the date on which the programme shall commence.
  • In addition to the above requirements, in the case of a programme of cultural, economic or social exchange, organised or administered by an organ of state or a learning institution, in conjunction with foreign education and training institution or a foreign state institution, submit a letter from:
    • Proof of a valid return air flight ticket or written undertaking by the organ of state or learning institution accepting responsibility for the return or deportation costs of the applicant, as the case may be
    • Proof of medical cover for the duration of the exchange period with a medical scheme registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act.
    • The organ of state or foreign education and training institution confirming the existence of the exchange programme; or
    • The foreign education and training institution confirming the enrolment of the applicant or the foreign state institution conducting the programme, as the case may be.
  • In addition to the above requirements, in the case of a foreigner who is under 25 years of age and has received an offer to conduct work for no longer than one year
    • Proof of a valid return air flight ticket or written undertaking by the employer accepting responsibility for the return or deportation costs of the applicant, as the case may be
    • Proof of medical cover for the duration of the exchange period with a medical scheme registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act.
    • A written undertaking by the employer to—
      1. Pay such foreigner remuneration which complies with applicable legal requirements;
      2. Provide for the welfare and the needs of such foreigner while in the Republic under the aforesaid visa; and
      3. Report to the Director-General the failure of the foreigner to comply with the terms of his or her visa or to depart when so required;

The process of renewing a study visa

Once you have collected all the necessary paperwork, your next question you might ask yourself “How do I renew my South African study permit?” Below are the steps you need to take to submit your application. The study permit renewal application form has been digitalized and everything is completed online as no handwritten forms will be accepted.

Step 1:

Navigate to the VFS website and select the visa you’d like to extend.

  1. Complete the correct form: DHA-1739
  2. Pay the VFS service of R 1350.00 to secure your appointment after completing the form.
  3. Pay the different service fees which can be paid via EFT, online payment or paid at a Standard bank branch.
  4. Check the required documents are 100% correct.

Select a branch closest to you:

  • Cape Town
  • Durban
  • Johannesburg
  • Polokwane
  • Rustenburg
  • Port Elizabeth
  • Pretoria
  • Kimberley
  • Nelspruit
  • George
  • Bloemfontein

Step 2:

Arrive 15 minutes early for your appointment. You need to have the following documents with you:

  • Appointment letter
  • Online printed application form
  • Proof of payment
  • Supporting documents
  • Valid passport

Collect a token receipt and when they call your token number then only are you allowed to approach the counter and you will be issued with a receipt which you must keep safe. The receipt will be used to collect your documents and the decision or outcome of the visa will be handed over to you.

Remember that when you submit your paperwork, you are not able to submit further supporting paperwork. So please ensure that your application is 100% correct and that no paperwork is missing.

Step 3:

Handover your application to the officials for your study visa renewal. Refer to the checklist above for reference.

Step 4:

Next, you need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken. Please ensure that your fingertips have no henna, abrasions or cuts as this will hamper the fingerprints process and for the photograph, your face must be visible. No hair in your face, sunglasses, tinted specs or head coverings unless for medical or religious purposes. If there are any obstructions then your biometric cannot be collected and they will not accept your visa application. All children irrespective of age, including infants, must have their fingerprints taken and photograph captured.

Cost of renewing a study visa in South Africa

cost of renewing a student visa

DHA Application Fee – R425.00

VFS Service Fee – R 1350.00

DHA Application fee – R 425.00

VFS Services Fee – R 1350.00

To secure your appointment date you need to pay the minimum amount of R1350.00.

There are three ways you can pay:

  • Secure online payment through their portal with a debit/credit card.
  • In-branch payment at Standard bank.
  • Online EFT payment through their secure portal.

How long does a study visa renewal take?
how long does it take to renew a study visa

The South African student visa renewal will take about 3-7 months due to Covid-19. A word of advice, you must constantly follow up with visa applications as your application will be delayed and processing has been affected due to skeleton staff working at DHA.

How To extend Temporary Resident Visas:


About Charl

Charl Vollmer

Charl Vollmer has 8 years of experience helping people immigrate to South Africa. I am passionate about helping people and making their dreams a reality. Charl constantly stays up to date with South African Immigration rules and regulations.  To contact Charl, visit our contact page.

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