Documents Needed to Visit South Africa

what documents need south africa

If you are thinking about traveling to South Africa, the most important document you will need is a passport, which should be valid for at least six months from the date of your entry to the country. Regardless of whether you require a visa or not, you also need two completely blank facing pages on your passport.

The South African government has announced that a new electronic visa for South Africa will be launched soon. The new eVisa system will make it possible for international tourists of eligible countries to obtain a South Africa visa entirely online in minutes and is expected to be implemented in November 2019.

With its stunning beaches, multicultural towns, and world-class wildlife reserves, South Africa is already a popular international destination, reached by over 16 million tourists in 2019. The government hopes that the new eVisa program will optimize border controls and boost international tourism at the same time.

The South Africa eVisa online application is designed to be quick and straightforward so that eligible international tourists wishing to visit South Africa will be able to apply for a visa from their home without having to visit the embassy or immigration office in person.  All applicants are expected to comply with all the South Africa electronic visa requirements. On this page, you’ll find information regarding all the documents required to visit South Africa as well as the documents needed to obtain  a South African visa online so that you’ll be prepared at the time of application.

What Are the Documents Required for a Visa Online for South Africa?

The South African eVisa requirements should be straightforward and easy to meet for all eligible tourists. Documents required for a South African visa usually concern the visitor’s identity, health, and reasons to travel to South Africa. Find below a list of documents required to apply for a South African visa online:

  • Passport. The applicant’s passport should be issued by an eligible country and valid for at least 30 days after the date they intend to leave South Africa.
  • Application form. The online visa application form will be easy to complete but it’s paramount that the applicant fills it out in all its parts. Incorrect or missing information may result in delays and even the application being rejected. The applicant may need to provide personal and contact information as well as details of their travel plans (dates, local addresses, etc).
  • Flight tickets. The eVisa for South Africa is intended for short-term stays. The applicant may be required to provide copies of their flight tickets as evidence of the intended length of their stay in South Africa.
  • Proof of financial means. If applicable, applicants may need to provide evidence that they can support themselves financially while in South Africa. Bank statements and payslips may be considered proof.
  • Vaccinations. If applicable, applicants may need to provide relevant vaccination certificates. Since there are no mandatory vaccinations for South Africa, this is only necessary for travelers who recently visited high-risk areas (like the yellow fever belt).

Remember that not all of the above documents are asked of all travelers. Your specific circumstances may result in the need for more or less documentation. You will find all the details once you start your online application.

Other types of visas for South Africa may require travelers to submit different documents during their application in order to prove the reason for their visit. Longer-term visas such as work and study permits typically require more documentation and longer application forms. Most visas other than the electronic tourist visa will require the applicant to visit a South African embassy in person.

Documents to Bring with You to the South Africa Airport

In order to board your plane and go through border checks in South Africa, you will need to carry with you a series of documents as you travel. Most importantly, you will need to provide the South African border control officers with:

  • The South African visa. All travelers must show a copy of their travel permit once they reach South Africa. You will receive your electronic visa for South Africa via email once it’s granted. A printed copy must be shown to the South African authorities once you enter the country.
  • The passport. Your passport is uniquely linked to your South African visa. This means that in order to travel to South Africa, you will need to use the same passport you’ve provided during the visa application.
  • Other documents. Further documentation may be necessary depending on your specific circumstances.

At this time, citizens of several countries are not required to obtain a visa to enter South Africa. Nationals from EU member states, the United States, Canada, and Japan are able to travel to the country without a visa for stays of up to 90 days. The list of eligible countries for the South Africa eVisa will be made official once the electronic system is launched.

What documents Do You Need when Traveling with a Child to South Africa?

If you’re traveling with children and will go through customs with minors, you will be asked to provide the following documents to the South African authorities:

  • Proof of guardianship or custody.
  • A signed letter from the children’s guardian(s) in case you’re not their parents. The letter must clearly state the guardians’ consent and include their contact details.
  • Other documents may be required depending on your specific circumstances.