Visit Visa South Africa: What you need to know
What you need to know about the Visit Visa South Africa?
Many people from different countries come to South Africa for tourism, to visit family, and loved ones or for business purposes. Some foreign nationals come visa exempt countries for South Africa which means that they do not need to apply for a visa to enter South Africa, they would simply receive a stamp at the port of entry which allows them to enter the country and stay for a certain duration with a choice to further apply for a visa extension South Africa. If you’ve submitted an extension and would like to track your progress, then you can find out how to do VFS tracking South Africa or if you are contemplating about submitting an extension then you need to consider how much bank balance is required for a South Africa visa.
People who are from countries which are not exempt must then apply for a visitor visa in advance before they travel. These foreign nationals require a visa to enter South Africa, which you need to produce proof of when you board your flight or at the port of entry.
There are many sub-categories which fall under the visitor’s visa, so applying for the correct sub-category is of utmost importance or your visa could be rejected as you will not fulfil the requirements for the specified visa.
Today we discuss everything you need to know about the SA visitor visa.
What is a South Africa Tourist Visa
This is an authorization which allows a foreign national to come into the country for a period of either 30 or 90 days for tourism or business purposes. The visa label/sticker is pasted into your passport and this must be shown to the immigration officer at the port of entry.
South Africa is piloting the e-visa system at the moment which allows a foreigner to apply for a visit visa online instead of having to physically go to a South African embassy, diplomatic mission or consulate and having to deal with a consular officer.
Check if you qualify for the e visa for South Africa.
The following countries are currently in the piloting programme for the e-visa:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Saudi Arabia
Do you need a visa for South Africa?
Applicants who are not visa-exempt require a visit visa for South Africa. This means that they need to physically apply for the visa at the South African embassy, diplomatic mission or consulate in the home country or where they hold a temporary residence permit.
Immigration officials will deny you entry into the country if you have no visa and you are a citizen from a non-visa-exempt country. The flight crew would check your passport for visas and will not board you if you do not have one.
The important point you need to remember is that a visa is not issued at the port of entry, this must be applied for in your country of residence.
The only people who do not require a visa are South African citizens and exempted countries.
Visitors Permit South Africa open for foreign nationals to apply?
Yes, the Department of Home Affairs has allowed foreign citizens to visit South Africa and all COVID-19 restrictions have been uplifted. Wearing masks is no longer required inside and outside in public places.
You are not required to present proof that you are vaccinated against COVID-19, so if you are not vaccinated you can still enter South Africa but you should always keep checking with your embassy.
A PCR test for South Africa is no longer required if you are travelling to South Africa. You might have to complete the traveller health questionnaire- entry screening at the port of entry.
Different types of Visitors Visas for South Africa
- Port of Entry visa – Less than 3 months
- Port of Entry visa (Tourist Visa) – More than 90 days
- Section 11(2) – Short-term or urgent work in the Republic of South Africa
- Business Visit Visa – 30 or 90 days
- Longstay visa – Maximum of 3 years
Documents required to apply for a visa
Visitor’s Visa Section 11(1) Requirements
- Duly completed DHA-84 (The South Africa visitor visa application forms)
- Valid passport which expires 30 days after your intended departure date and 2 unused blank pages.
- Return air flight tickets back to your country of residence.
- Proof of finances to sustain yourself whilst you are in the country in the form of bank statements. (Certified)
- Proof of accommodation or letter from the host if you are staying with a friend or family member.
- Copy of your bio Data page (Certified)
- 2 Passport photos on a white background.
- Proof of host status in the form of a South African ID or temporary residence visa. Certified.
- Consent letter from parent/s in case of a child travelling alone or with one parent.
- A letter detailing your purpose and duration of stay in SA.
- A letter from the business or conference event inviting you and confirming the dates of the event.
Some South African embassies, diplomatic missions or consulates might have extra requirements and therefore it is best to check the requirements directly on their website or visit in person.
Visitor Visa Section 11(1)(b)(iv) Requirements – Activities exceeding 3 months to 3 years (Long term visitor visa South Africa)
The following applicants may apply for this long stay – visa:
- Accompanying spouse/life partner who would like to join their spouse/partner who has a temporary residence visa.
- An accompanying dependent such as children can join their parent/s if they hold or apply for a temporary residence visa.
- Academic sabbatical which your educational institution is involved in.
- You are a teacher at an International school
- You are an actor, camera crew, make-up artist, hairstylist, sound crew or lighting crew and you are involved in the production or part of the film or advertisement.
- A foreign journalist working for a foreign news agency
- Conducting Research in South Africa
- An artist who is a performer, writer, sculptor or painter.
- Tour leaders or tour host
- You are married or in a relationship with a South African citizen or permanent residence holder and you have a job offer, accepted by a university or college or you have decided to start your own business.
- Duly completed form
- A valid passport which expires 30 days after your intended departure.
- Valid return tickets or provisional plane tickets.
- Proof of financial means to sustain yourself – 3 certified bank statements.
- A medical report not older than 6 months at the time of submission.
- A radiological report not older than 6 months at the time of submission. Children under the age of 12 and pregnant women are exempt from this.
- A letter detailing the purpose and duration of your visit
- Police clearance report from your country of residence and from every country you have lived in for more than 12 months.
- A yellow fever certificate if you intend on or have travelled through a yellow fever endemic area.
Accompanying spouse additional checklist:
- A certified copy of your marriage certificate issued from the authorities of your country
- A death certificate in respect of the late spouse if applicable
- A divorce decree if applicable
- Confirmation of support from your spouse
- Undertaking a letter from your spouse’s employer for costs related to your deportation should it become necessary.
- Legal separation order if applicable
- A certified visa copy from the principal visa holder.
Accompanying Child additional checklist:
- Proof of parental responsibilities or written consent form (Affidavit) from the parent/s
- Proof of court order granting the applicant parental responsibilities if applicable
- A letter from the person in South Africa receiving the child which must contain the residential address where the child will be staying
- Copy of the South African ID document, Work Visa or permanent residency certificate.
- Contact details of the parents or legal guardian
- Proof of support from the family
- Undertaking from parents’ employer stating that they are responsible for the fee related to deportation.
- Proof of financial means (Certified 3 months bank statements)
Additional Checklist for Teachers:
- A valid contract of employment signed by you and your employer
- Undertaking a letter from the employer stating that they are responsible for the fee related to your deportation should the need arise.
Production of film or advertisement checklist:
- An official letter confirming the duration and the film or advertisement itself including details such as when, and where.
Foreign Journalist checklist:
- A letter confirming your placement and duration
Professor or Lecturer checklist:
- A letter from the host in South Africa
An artist who performs writes, paints or sculpts checklist:
- Portfolio of their previous work
Foreign applicants involved in the entertainment industry and performing throughout the country:
- A confirmation from the host in SA
Tour leader or host tour leader checklist:
- Your contract of employment signed by you and your employer
- An undertaking letter from your employer accepting responsibilities for the fees related to your deportation.
Requirement for entering South Africa
- A valid passport expires 30 days after your intended departure from the country and 2 unused blank pages. To be safe always ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months or more.
- A valid visa if required
- Sufficient financial means to sustain yourself for the duration of your trip
- A valid return ticket
- A yellow fever certificate if you have travelled through a yellow fever belt.
If you hold dual citizenship, you must use your South African passport when coming and leaving the country. It is a criminal offence to use a foreign passport when you hold South African citizenship. Please ensure that your passport validity for travel to South Africa is in order so that you can avoid problems at the port of entry.
How much is a SA visitors visa
The standard visa fees for South Africa abroad at an embassy, diplomatic mission or consulate are about:
DHA Application Service Fee: R 425.00 which can be converted to your country’s currency or you can simply contact the embassy.
You need to find out if your embassy, mission or consulate is contracted to VFS.
This fee is paid when you submit your visa application and the fee is non-refundable once the application has been submitted. Before you submit your visa application, please contact the embassy to find out what the process is and what is needed. Submissions are only on certain days and times, so this is crucial to find out.
The visa service fee mode of payment is dependent on what type of payments are accepted.
If the embassy, diplomatic mission or consulate is contracted to VFS, then you would have to schedule an appointment with them to submit your or your family’s applications. The appointment is created online on the VFS website and South Africa visit visa fee and a fee for Visa facilitation service are paid online.
How long does it take to get a SA visitor visa?
The visa process duration depends on how busy the embassy is at the time you submit your application. On average the process can take about 2 – 4 weeks before you will receive an outcome.
You need to apply in advance for your SA visitors visa to avoid disappointment and book provisional flight tickets instead of booking actual flights. If there is a delay in the process or your SA visitors visa is rejected then you might have to cancel your flight tickets.
Once your visa process has been finalized, you would need to collect the decision and if approved they would add the visa sticker label to your passport.
South African visit visa validity
You would either be issued a 30 or 90-day visa depending on your planned activities and financial means to sustain yourself in the Republic of South Africa.
If you are applying for the long stay visa then it will be issued for a maximum of up to 3 years depending on your prescribed activities.
For the short-stay visit visa, you can apply for an extension on your current visa and this must be done before the expiry date on your visa.
You need to inspect the initial visa that you received from the embassy as it might have special conditions placed on it which can prevent you from renewing your visa.
What visa must I apply for urgently to conduct short-term work?
You must apply for a visitor visa section 11(2) to allow you the right to work for 3 months in the country. You are allowed to apply for a final renewal in South Africa for a further 90 days but must leave the country before your 6 months are over.
You will not qualify for section 11(2) for the rest of the year and in a new, you then may apply again.
There are 5 South African work visa types you can apply for.
Can a visit visa be issued for an internship?
No this cannot be issued for an internship in South Africa. You can apply for a volunteer visa if you need to do an internship with a South African company but you need to have proof that this is not a paid position and that you are not displacing a South African with the position that you are being employed in.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Tourist Visa?
- The less red tape involved when applying for the visa
- Quicker processing time compared to temporary residence visas
- You can renew the visa
- You are not allowed to change status in South Africa unless you are married or a child of a South African citizen or permanent resident.
- Can only extend the visa once
- Not allowed to work with a tourist visa unless you have been granted a section 11(2) visa.
- You might have a condition placed on your visa which prevents you from renewing your visa.
What happened if you overstay your visa?
To overstay your visa means that you have not exited the country before your visa expires and thus you are illegal in South Africa. When you leave, you will be banned at the port of entry and declared undesirable.
- Overstaying your visa less than 30 days – 1 year ban
- Overstaying your visa more than 30 days – 5 years ban.
If you have been banned from South Africa, you have ten days to appeal this once you have received from 19 which declares you undesirable.
What is the penalty for overstaying on an expired visa in South Africa has all the information you need if you have been banned.
Do I require travel or health insurance for the visit visa?
South Africa does not require you to have insurance although selected embassies might require you have this in place.
We would advise you to take out a plan so that you are covered when you are here in case something happens to you or your family. This way you are protected.
You can email your health insurance and find out if you are covered in South Africa if anything happens to you.
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.