South Africa visa

What you need to apply for a visa in South Africa

Vanessa Seifert - 09.09.2021

The skies are cautiously reopening and you may be planning your next trip abroad. Here’s a look at the visa application process in 2021.

The vaccination rollout in South Africa and around the world is moving at a good pace. This means that countries are opening up and the urge to explore and travel to different countries is getting stronger. The first thing to consider when traveling internationally is a visa and what you will need to apply for one.

The general requirement for visa applications in South Africa

When planning a trip abroad, it is important to note that there are different types of visas for different visitation reasons.

Each visa application comes with its own prerequisites for the country that you wish to visit. However, there are general documents that will be needed and will help as a solid foundation to start the visa application process.

  • a passport or travel document valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of your intended visit (This depends on the duration of your visit and requirements of the country you wish to visit);
  • your passport must have at least TWO unused pages for entry/departure endorsements;
  • a completed Form BI-84 (visa application form);
  • payment of the prescribed fee;
  • a yellow-fever vaccination certificate (if required);
  • a COVID-19 vaccination card/certificate;
  • statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit;
  • two-color passport photographs;
  • a return or onward ticket if you are traveling by air;

If you have children (minors) traveling 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 visiting the country of choice;
  • bank statements;
  • salary advances;
  • undertakings by the host(s) in the country you wish to visits;
  • bursary;
  • medical cover; or
  • cash available (including credit cards and travellers’ cheques)

General visa application costs in South Africa

The costs of a visa application also depend on the type of visa that you applying for and the country that you will be visiting.

But you can expect to pay a visa application fee that ranges between R500 and R2 000. After filling in the application form, you need to schedule an appointment with the Visa Facilitation Centre (VFC) and a mandatory service fee of R1 350 will be required.

How long does processing the application take?

Once the application has been submitted with all the supporting documents you will receive a receipt as proof of submission.

Once again, depending on the type of visa that you have applied for, the waiting period will vary.

For a temporary residence visa, processing the application will take eight-to-10 weeks and for a permanent residence visa, eight-to-10 months will be needed to process the application.