South Africa visa

South Africa visa

Traveling to South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is a popular destination with almost 4 million travelers visiting each year for tourism, business, education, retirement, and medical treatment.

Some foreign nationals can enter South Africa visa-free, while all others require a South Africa visa to enter South Africa. The South Africa e-Visa is now only available to a few select countries and will soon be open to more nationalities, allowing more travelers to apply for a South Africa visa online.

A South African visa is single-entry and normally valid for a maximum of 90 days. Depending on the South Africa visa type you are applying for, some are only valid for 30 days. 

South Africa visa types

The type of South Africa visa you need to apply for depends on the specific purpose of your trip. If your nationality requires a visa to enter South Africa, then you must apply for the appropriate South Africa visa type, before traveling to South Africa.

The types of South Africa visas you can apply for are:

  1. South Africa visitors’ visa also known as South Africa Tourist visa
  2. Visas for medical treatment
  3. Visas for working in the entertainment industry
  4. Visas for attending a conference
  5. Visas for compliance of treaty conditions
  6. Visas for crew (maritime)
  7. Visas for cultural/economic/exchange programs
  8. Transit visas

South Africa visa requirements

The following is required to apply for all South Africa visas:


A passport valid for at least 30 days after your departure date, with 2 blank pages for official use


Payment of the South African visa application fee

Personal photos

Two passport-sized color photos

Financial proof

Proof of financial means to support your stay in South Africa, in the form of: bank statements, salary advance slips, endorsement affidavit by South African host, bursary, scholarship, grant letter, medical coverage, or cash, credit cards, or travelers’ cheques

Documents for minors

If you are traveling with a child to South Africa, or a child will be joining you in South Africa, you will need to provide proof that you are the minor’s guardian, that the minor is in your custody, or that you have the guardian’s consent.

Application form 

A completed (BI-84) South Africa visa application form


Documentation detailing the purpose and duration of your visit to South Africa 

Vaccination certificate

A yellow-fever vaccination certificate (if required)


A return or onward ticket

You are advised to verify the requirements for the specific type of South Africa visa you are applying for, as additional documents may be required.

South Africa visa application

All foreign citizens, who are not visa-exempt or eligible for a South Africa e-Visa, must apply for a South African sticker visa, in person, at their nearest South African embassy or representation office abroad.

  1. Prepare South Africa visa application

    • Gather all the documents required for your South African visa application
    • Complete the BI-84 South African visa application form

  2. Set an appointment at a South African embassy or representation office

    Contact your nearest South African embassy or representation office abroad

  3. Attend appointment at the South African embassy or representation office

    • Submit application and required documents
    • Pay visa fees

  4. Wait for South Africa visa decision

    • If approved, pick up your South African visa from the South African embassy or representation office where you applied
    • Verify that all information is correct and matches your passport

Where to apply for South Africa visa

If you are a foreign national required to apply for a South Africa visa before traveling to South Africa, you must submit your visa application, in person, at a South African embassy, consulate, or authorized visa application center (VAC) nearest you. South Africa visas are not given at South Africa ports of entry, and travelers arriving in South Africa without the proper South Africa visa will not be allowed to enter South Africa and will be turned back to their origin country.

South Africa visa processing time

Depending on where you applied, South Africa visa processing times may vary, so you are advised to apply for the South Africa visa well in advance of your planned trip. Check with the South African embassy or representation office nearest you for estimated processing times.

South Africa visa FAQ

How long does it take for a South Africa visa to be approved?

All South Africa visa applications are assessed on an individual basis and processed in the most efficient manner possible. However, processing times can vary between South African embassies and representation offices, ranging between days and months to be fully processed and issued. For this reason, you are advised to prepare all the required documents and apply well in advance of your intended trip to South Africa.

How do I apply for a South Africa visa?

Unless visa exempt or eligible for a South Africa e-Visa, all foreign nationals requiring a visa to enter South Africa must apply for the appropriate South Africa visa, based on the purpose of their trip to South Africa. After gathering all the required documents, you will make an appointment at your nearest South Africa embassy or representation office, where you will submit your application and required documents and pay the visa fees. If approved, you will pick up your South Africa visa at the South African embassy or representation office where you applied.

How long can I stay in South Africa without a visa?

If you are eligible to travel to South Africa visa-free, or hold a valid South Africa visa, you can stay in South Africa for up to 90 days. Certain South Africa visa types only have a 30-day validity period. 

Is it easy to get a South Africa visa?

South Africa welcomes visitors to South Africa and tries to process South Africa visas as efficiently as possible. To encourage tourism to South Africa, the new South Africa e-Visa will facilitate the South Africa visa process even more, so that eligible foreign nationals can apply online and benefit from quicker processing times. At the present time, South Africa e-Visa has been suspended.

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