At the moment, citizens of many countries, including many European nations, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, do not need a South Africa visa to travel to the country for up to 90 days. An additional number of countries including South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and Turkey can have a visa-free stay in South Africa for a total of 30 days.
Non-visa-exempt passport holders currently need to apply for a South African Consulate visa in person from a South African Embassy or Consulate. However, this will soon change and eligible citizens will be able to get a South Africa Tourist Visa online before their trip.
What Is the South African Consulate Visa?
The South African Consulate visa is also known as the South Africa visitor visa. All travelers not visa-exempt for South Africa are currently required to physically apply for the South Africa Consulate visa, for a maximum 3-month period for the following purposes:
- A holiday
- Business meetings, conferences or seminars
- Sporting events
- To study or complete a training course
- Medical treatment
- Academic sabbaticals
- Research purposes
- Voluntary or charity work
- To work on a film or television production
- To obtain a visa for a person who is a spouse or dependent on a holder of a valid South Africa visitor visa or another type of South Africa visa type.
Those wishing to travel to the country for more than 90 days, and/or study or work in South Africa, will need to apply for other South Africa Visa Types from an embassy or consulate, such as the temporary residence visa.
South African Consulate Visa Application
Foreign travelers are unable to get a South African visa on arrival at the country’s ports of entry, and many airlines request to see the visa for South Africa before the traveler is allowed to board their plane. Those arriving in South Africa without the required visa will be sent back to their home country by immigration officials.
Although it will soon change when the South African government launches the new eVisa, at the moment visitors who require a visa must apply in person at a South African Embassy or Consulate.
To meet the South African Consulate visa requirements, applicants must have a biometric passport valid for at least 30 days after the intended date of return from South Africa. They must also have at least 2 blank pages in the passport, one to which the visa or permit will be affixed in the South African Consulate or Embassy, and the other to receive entry and exit stamps from the South African Immigration Services.
When presenting at a South Africa Embassy or Consulate, it’s required to supply:
- A completed BI-84 South Africa Consulate visa application
- A statement or documentation detailing the purpose and duration of the stay
- Two passport-style color photographs
- Payment for the visa fee
- A return or onward ticket if you are traveling by air
- A yellow-fever vaccination certificate (if required)
Those traveling with children to South Africa must meet some further requirements for the South African Consulate Embassy, including proof of guardianship or custody, or consent from the minor’s guardians. Proof of sufficient financial means to cover living expenses while in South Africa is also required.
The process of getting a South African visa will soon be much simpler through the online South Africa tourist visa application, when it is implemented by the government in the coming months.
The New South African Tourist Visa
The South African tourist visa is the new online visa for South Africa that will launch in the coming months, and will eliminate the need to get a South African Consulate visa for eligible passport holders, as well as speed up the visa application process significantly.
The online South Africa eVisa system will first be tested in New Zealand in 2019 as a pilot system, and then rolled out to other countries once any glitches have been addressed. The full list of eligible passport holders will be published on this website when announced by the South African government.
The simple online form will only take minutes to complete and applicants will receive the eVisa for South Africa via email, saving the time and hassle that getting the South Africa Consulate visa in person represents.
Eligible citizens will first need to make sure they meet the South Africa eVisa requirements to be able to apply online. As with the South African Consulate visa requirements, it will be necessary to have a passport with at least 30 days validity from the intended date of departure from South Africa, as well as 2 blank pages in the passport for entry and exit stamps. Any further requirements will be published on this site when the system is implemented.