Do you require a Visa to enter South Africa? Read on to find out if you do. 

Important information

The South African Department of Home Affairs (http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/applying-for-sa-visa) says the following:

Visitors’ Visas are for international travellers (citizens of other countries) who have permanent residence outside South Africa and who wish to visit the country on a temporary basis for tourism or business purposes for a period of 90 days or less.

A Visa simply indicates that your application has been reviewed at a South African embassy, mission or consulate and that the consular officer has determined you are eligible to enter the country for a specific purpose.

The Visa will allow you to travel to a South African port of entry where an immigration official will then determine if you are allowed to enter, and for how long you can stay for that particular visit. Visitors are restricted to the activity or reason for which their visas were issued.

On entry to South Africa, a Visa is considered to be a visitor's permit. The permit’s period of validity is calculated from the date of entry into the country and will be set out under the heading "conditions" on the Visa label. You must ensure that you apply for the correct Visa/permit. Entry in the country may be refused if the purpose of visit was not correctly stated.

Requirements for visitor’s Visas differ from country to country and the requirements are subject to change. As each application is treated as an individual case and you should make enquiries with your nearest South African mission or consulate abroad or any office of the Department of Home Affairs to see whether or not you are required to apply for a Visa.

Remember that there is a fee charged for issuing 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.

Visas 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.

Foreigners with long term status (work permits/permit residence) in the neighbouring countries who transit the Republic to return to their employment or residence are not subject to the transit visa, provided they are in possession of proof of their status.

 

South African visitors’ Visas may be granted for:

  • visits to family or friends and also for tourism purposes

  • business purposes

  • 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

  • fiancée/ fiancé to join his or her partner with the intension of marrying within 90 days

  • study purposes (max stay 3-months)

  • charitable or voluntary activities

  • research

  • conferences

  • to work in the production of a movie or show (i.e. in the entertainment industry)

  • for medical purposes (max stay 3-months)

  • sport events

 

Passport holders who are exempt from Visas for South Africa

  • The citizen who is a holder of a national passport (diplomatic, official and ordinary) of the foreign countries / territories / international organisations listed below are not required to hold a visa when reporting to an immigration officer for an examination at a South African port of entry, subject to the terms and conditions set out in this list, including inter alia the intended period of stay in the Republic.

  • The holder of a national South African passport, travel document and document for travel purposes.

  • The citizen who is a holder of a national passport (diplomatic, official or ordinary) of the following countries / territories / international organisations is not required to hold a visa in respect of purposes for which a port of entry visa may be issued or by virtue of being a person contemplated in section 31(3)(b) [accredited in SA] for an intended stay of 90 days or less and when in transit:

 

African Union Laissez Passer Malta             
Andorra Monaco
Argentina Namibia (only ordinary passport holders 90 days per annum)
Australia  Netherlands
Austria Norway  
Belgium Panama   ​
Botswana  Paraguay​
Brazil Portugal 
Canada Russian Federation      
Chile (only ordinary passport holders) San Marino
Czech Republic Singapore
Denmark Spain
Ecuador St Vincent & the Grenadines
Finland Sweden
France Switzerland 
Germany (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of Germany in SA) Tanzania (90 days per annum)
Greece  Trinidad & Tobago (only ordinary passport holders)
Iceland United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (only ordinary passport holders)  
Ireland British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man. British Oversees Territories namely: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island, Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha), Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the Turks and Caicos Island.
Israel United States of America (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of the USA in SA)
Italy Uruguay
Jamaica Venezuela
Japan Zambia (90 days per annum)
Liechtenstein Zimbabwe
Luxemburg  

 

 

What documents do travellers to South Africa need?
 

You will need to bring a valid yellow fever certificate and your passport. If you will be travelling with children, this is what you need to know. 

One parent travelling with a child must bring

  1. An unabridged birth certificate. 

  2. Consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child authorising him or her to enter into or depart from the Republic with the child he or she is travelling with.

  3. A court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child; or

  4. Where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate; Provided that the Director-General may, where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents, approve such a person to enter into or depart from the Republic with such a child.

 

An adult travelling with a child who is not his/her biological child must bring

  1. A copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child.

  2. An affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child.

  3. Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child; and

  4. The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child, Provided that the Director-General may, where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents, approve such a person to enter into or depart from the Republic with such a child.

 

An unaccompanied minor

  1. Proof of consent from one of or both his or her parents or legal guardian, as the case may be, in the form of a letter or affidavit for the child to travel into or depart from the Republic: Provided that in the case where one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must also provide a copy of a court order issued to him or her in terms of which he or she has been granted full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child.

  2. A letter from the person who is to receive the child in the Republic, containing his or her residential address and contact details in the Republic where the child will be residing;

  3. A copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in the Republic; and

  4. The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.

 

Important Contact Information

For full details on the South African travel requirements, please visit the Department of Home Affairs website or contact 0800 60 11 90