Cape Town VISA - Entry & Exit Formalities

Visas requirements for South Africa

Visas requirements for South Africa

Visitors' visas are for international travellers (citizens of other countries) who have permanent residence outside South Africa and who wish to visit the country on a temporary basis for tourism or business purposes for a period of 90 days or less.

A visa simply indicates that your application has been reviewed at a South African embassy, mission or consulate and that the consular officer has determined that you are eligible to enter the country for a specific purpose.

The visa will allow you to travel to a South African port of entry where an immigration official will then determine if you are allowed to enter South Africa and for how long you can stay for that particular visit. Visitors are restricted to the activity or reason for which their visas were issued.

On entry to South Africa, a visa is considered to be a visitor's permit. The permit's period of validity is calculated from the date of entry into the country and will be set out under the heading "conditions" on the visa label. You must ensure that you apply for the correct visa/permit. Entry in the country may be refused if the purpose of visit was not correctly stated.

Important points to remember

Visas requirements for South Africa
  • Travellers from most Commonwealth countries (including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK), most Western European countries, Japan and the USA are issued with a free, 90-day visitor's permit on arrival. It is recommended that you check and confirm the same with the South African Embassy, High Commission or Consulate nearest to your place of residence.
  • Your passport should be valid for at least 30 days after the end of your intended visit, and should have at least two blank pages.
  • Children aged under 18 will be required to show an unabridged birth certificate, with additional paperwork needed in some cases. Your airline is likely going to alert you about these new immigration regulations when you buy your flight tickets.
  • Though not all immigration officers may ask to see it, you should technically still be able to present evidence of a return flight, or onward travel, from South Africa.
  • If you have an onward flight, print a copy of your e-ticket, or ask your airline's help desk at the departing airport to print a copy of your itinerary.
  • If you are not entitled to a visitor's permit, you will need to obtain a visa at a South African diplomatic mission in your home country, or one nearby. (Allow a few weeks for processing)
  • Visas are not issued at the borders.
  • If you do need a visa, get a multiple-entry visa if you plan to visit Lesotho, Swaziland or any other neighbouring country. This avoids the hassle of applying for another South African visa.
  • If you have recently travelled in a yellow fever area, or even transited for over 12 hours en route to South Africa, you need to show a vaccination certificate to enter South Africa.