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How to Apply for South African Visa, Duration and Fees

General information about South African Visas

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 South Africa 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 (click here to see which countries are currently exempt), 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
to work in the production of an movie or show (i.e. in the entertainment industry)
for medical purposes (max stay 3-months)
sport events


Documents required to apply for a visa

A passport or travel document valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of your intended visit.

Your passport must have at least TWO unused page for entry / departure endorsements

A completed Form BI-84 (application for a visa)

Payment of the prescribed fee

A yellow-fever vaccination certificate (if required)

Statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit

Two colour passport photographs

A return or onward ticket if you are travelling by air

If you have children (minors) travelling with you or joining in South Africa, you will need to provide the following additional documents

Proof of guardianship or custody or

Consent from the guardian in the case of an unaccompanied minor

Proof of financial means to pay for your living expenses while in South Africa in the form of:
Bank statements
Salary advances
Undertakings by the host(s) in South Africa
Medical cover or
Cash available (including credit cards and travellers’ cheques)

Requirements for entering South Africa

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.






Fees for the issuance of a visitor’s visa in terms of section 11(1) of the Immigration Act shall be collected in respect of passport / travel document holders of the following foreign countries when travelling on an ordinary passport (visa fees are not levied for diplomatic and official/service passport holders). Please note that countries marked with an asterisk are only subject to visa fees if the intended visit exceeds thirty (30) day

South Africa Short term work visitor 11(2) visa fees for citizens of United States of America


Single entry (90 days stay)

Type of visa Validity Up to  90 days

Processing 7-10 business days

Embassy fee $261.00

Service fee $199.00

Total cost$460.00

How to Apply

Step-by-step guide

Let us walk you through the process

Identify visa type

Choose the right visa for your trip

The first step is to determine which visa type you need, and check whether you’re eligible to apply for it.

You’ll also need to know the documents that you’ll have to submit along with your application, how long the application might take and fees you’ll have to pay.

Each application must comply with the guidelines applicable for your visa category.

If your documents are not in English , you may need to get translations prepared before applying.

Begin your application

Get started with your visa application

Once you are ready to apply, please fill the visa application form and arrange your documents as per the checklist.

If you are applying for the first time, click here.

If you have already registered previously and have your login details, click here.

Pay your fees

Find out the amount you need to pay

Once you have made your application, you will need to pay your visa application fee to secure and schedule your appointment online.

Book an appointment

Choose a Visa Application Centre and make an appointment
View more
Once you have completed your online application form and payment, you will need to book an appointment.

Once you’ve booked your appointment, download the application form along with the checklist and appointment confirmation and bring this to the Visa Application Centre.

Visit a Visa Application Centre

Attend your scheduled appointment

You’ll have to submit your completed visa application form at the Visa Application Centre in person.

Find out What happens at the Visa Application Centre.

Track your application

Stay informed about the progress of your application

You will receive an email update when your decision has been returned to the Visa Application Centre. If you can’t access email easily, or would like more detailed tracking information, you may also be able to get updates by SMS sent directly to your phone. Check whether this service is available at the Visa Application Centre you are visiting.

You can also track your visa application status online. Use the Reference Number present on the invoice/receipt issued by the Visa Application Centre along with your last name to access this service.

Collect your decision

Receive your passport from the Visa Application Centre

Please collect processed applications from the Visa Application Centre where the application was submitted. The original passport will be required as proof of the applicant’s identity and handing over of the visa label or refusal letter to applicants.

Processed applications will not be returned to applicants / representatives in case they fail to submit the below:

original passport of the applicant at the time of submission of application,

original Invoice Cum Receipt /

SAPS issued affidavit (where applicable)

Valid signed power of attorney (where applicable)

Representative must provide an original Photo ID, a power of attorney Letter as well as the applicant’s original passport if collecting the decision on behalf of the applicant/s. The power of attorney Letter should clearly state the following: –

Name of the Representative collecting the decision.

Photo ID number of the Representative.

Applicant signature as signed on the Invoice Cum Receipt and passport.

The Invoice Cum Receipt provided on the day of submission (photocopy not allowed) will be required in original where the applicant has authorized a representative to collect on their behalf.

Where the applicant has lost / misplaced the original receipt, an affidavit issued by The South African Police Services will be required.


Tracking Your South African Visa Application Status

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Peter N. Djangmah is a multifaceted individual with a passion for education, entrepreneurship, and blogging. With a firm belief in the power of digital education and science, I am affectionately known as the Private Minister of Information. Connect with me
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