IMPORTANT: The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that South Africa’s new e-visa system is being piloted for citizens of Kenya and India but will not be available online until it is fully rolled out. More information
What is the Online Visa for South Africa?
The new South Africa electronic visa will soon be available for online applications, making it much easier for many travelers around the world to visit the country. At the moment, it’s being tested for Kenyan citizens and will soon be extended to all eligible nationalities.
For South Africa visa eligible nationalities, the online application system will eliminate the need to go to a South Africa embassy or consulate.
There is no country in the world quite like South Africa. Its biodiversity, spectacular nature reserves, buzzing cities, and 2,500km of golden coastlines make it truly unique.
Why an e-Visa for South Africa?
Turnaround time will be greatly reduced by the introduction of the new electronic visas. The way this system works is by capturing applicants’ biometrics, both locally and abroad, since it is designed around the online capture of permit applications. The implementation of this kind of electronic authorization also makes it more convenient for travelers to apply for international visas because it saves them time and expenses.
According to the South African authorities, the program is being tested since November 2019 for visitors from Kenya who fly to Lanseria or OR Tambo airports, and will be extended to more countries in the following months. Thanks to this new scheme, authorizations for trusted travelers and returning South African nationals are going to be processed electronically, eliminating the need to interact with immigration personnel.
Who needs a South African visa?
Whether you need a visa for South Africa depends on your nationality, your reason for visiting, and how long you want to stay. There are several types of South Africa visas.
Visitors who require a visa for South Africa must apply in person, provide biometric data and hold a passport at least valid for 1 month after departure and with two blank pages. This will change as soon as the e-Visa testing will be finalized and the electronic system will be available to all eligible travelers.
Visitors from more than 100 countries that want to do tourism in South Africa are currently required to obtain a visa from one of the South African diplomatic missions. These countries include:
- Burkina Faso
- Central African R.
- Côte d’Ivoire
- DR of Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Sierra Leone
- Sri Lanka
Check the complete list of countries ►
Visa-exempt countries for South Africa
At the moment, there are 52 nationalities who can enter without a South Africa visa for up to 90 days:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- St Vincent & the Grenadines
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia
- Trinidad & Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
There are another 28 nationalities who can enter South Africa without a South African visa for periods of up to 30 days:
Do I need a visa for short stays in South Africa?
Citizens who are not from visa-exempt countries need to obtain a South Africa visa before entering the country. At the moment they can be obtained from embassies and consulates, with the exception of foreigners who are currently testing the system.
The Online South Africa Visa is being tested since November for Kenyan citizens. Once it has been tested, the government plans to offer this electronic visa to the rest of the eligible nationalities, hereby simplifying the process of applying for a South African visa. The list of eligible countries and eVisa requirements will be published on this website once the government has finalized the list. It could be the case that certain nationalities who are currently visa-exempt may need to obtain the eVisa once it is available.