South Africa Visa Photo Requirements

south africa visa photo size requierments

As it is now possible for travelers from select countries to obtain a South African eVisa online, it is important to understand the requirements before submitting an application, including whether there are any South Africa visa photo specifications that must be met.

Foreign citizens who need to apply for a South Africa tourist visa  from an embassy are also advised to familiarize themselves with the expected visa photo size and how many photos are required to submit a completed application.

Do You Need to Supply a Photograph on a South Africa eVisa Application?

No, supplying a recent photograph of the traveler is not currently required when submitting a South Africa visa online application.

The requirements to obtain a South Africa tourist visa online only require the applicant to have:

  • A passport from an eVisa-eligible country valid for at least 30 days from the intended date of arrival in South Africa.
  • Two blank pages within the passport to receive entry/exit stamps from South African border control agents
  • A valid credit or debit card to pay the eVisa processing fee.

When entering the country with an approved South African online visa, the holder may also be asked to provide the following documents to immigration officials:

  • A confirmed ticket for return or onward travel 
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to cover the entire stay in South Africa
  • A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever, only if the traveler has passed through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America en route to the country.

Nevertheless, eVisa-eligible citizens wishing to travel to the country for purposes other than tourism or business are required to apply for one of the other South Africa visa types from a diplomatic mission.

In this case, it will be necessary to submit a number of other supporting documents, including a recent passport photo of the applicant.

What Type of Photograph Is Required for a South Africa Embassy Visa?

The photo requirements for a South Africa visa from an embassy are the same no matter the type of visa the applicant requires, whether a visit visa, work visa, study visa, or other visa type.

The South Africa visa image requirements state that the photograph provided must:

  • Be in color
  • Be taken against a plain white or light grey background
  • Show the entire face of the applicant, centered in the photograph, as well as their shoulders. The face should take up around 70-80% of the entire South Africa visa photo size
  • Be clear, in focus, and evenly lit. There should be no shadows showing on the face
  • Have been taken within 6 months prior to submitting the application
  • Be taken at the same level as the subject, not from above or below
  • Not be digitally manipulated in any way.

When taking the picture, the applicant must not:

  • Smile, as it is necessary for the applicant to have a neutral expression similar to that required for a South Africa passport photograph
  • Wear any headgear such as hats or scarves, except if worn for religious reasons
  • Wear glasses, as this can result in glare and obscure the features of the subject
  • Face away from the camera. The head of the subject should be facing squarely into the camera
  • Include any objects or other persons in the photo. 

It is not possible to support small children while having their picture taken, as any hands or arms should not be visible. Therefore, infants should be photographed lying down, from above.

What Is the Size of an ID Photo for a Visa for South Africa?

The South Africa visa photo size is 35 x 45 mm (3.5 x 4.5 cm). The print resolution of the photograph must be at least 600 dpi, especially if taken using a digital camera.

In addition to meeting the ID photograph size requirements, applicants must ensure that the photo is printed on high-quality paper and that one copy is signed and dated by a counter signatory to certify that it contains the likeness of the traveler.

Do You Need Two Pictures for a South Africa Visa Application?

Yes, it is usually necessary to provide 2 passport-style photos when submitting a South Africa visa application at an embassy, regardless of the type of visa the applicant requires for their purpose of travel and length of intended stay in the country.

The two photographs included with the application should be identical, meaning they should be copies of the same image.

As failure to meet the South Africa visa photo specifications is the most common reason for rejection of an application, applicants are advised to make sure the photographs meet all of the mandatory requirements listed above before submitting them for approval at an embassy.