Visa Requirements for Visiting South Africa
02nd September 2015
Thousands of people head to Cape Town for a summer holiday each year. There is no better time to enjoy the beaches, the mountains, the wine routes and the stunning ocean views from some of South Africa’s most luxurious holiday rentals.
South Africans can simply pack a bag to take in these sights and sounds, but international travellers have to work a little harder to get to Cape Town.
Families especially have more preparation to do since the new child visa regulations for South Africa came into effect in June this year. Before we get to this though, let’s first cover the basics by looking at the visa requirements for travellers from abroad coming to South Africa.
South African visitor’s visa requirements
South Africa does not require a visa from all countries around the world. Citizens from some countries are exempt from obtaining a visitor’s visa to South Africa, provided the visit is for 90 days or less.
There is a list of these countries on the website of the Department of Home Affairs. If your country does not appear on the list, you need to apply for a visitor’s visa to South Africa.
To make an application, you need the following documentation:
- A passport or travel document valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of your intended visit.
- At least one unused page in your passport for endorsements.
- A completed application form.
- A yellow fever vaccination certificate if your travels starts at or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.
- Statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit.
- Two passport photographs, in colour.
- A return or onward ticket if you are travelling by air.
- Proof of sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay.
Requirements when travelling with children
As mentioned, South Africa introduced new child visa regulations earlier this year. This update to the Immigration Act affects anyone travelling with a minor in or out of South Africa.
In accordance with the regulations, the person or persons travelling with the minor must be able to prove that they are allowed to do so. The type of documentation required would depend on the circumstances:
- Child travelling with both parents.
- Child travelling with one parent. This could be due to:
- Only one parent is travelling with the child, but the parents are married or in a life-long partnership.
- One parent being deceased.
- Divorce or separation.
- An absent parent, i.e. the traveller is a single parent.
- Each of these situations would require a different set of documents.
- Child travelling with someone other than their parent or parents.
The most important piece of documentation in all instances is an unabridged birth certificate. This is a birth certificate that notes the particulars of the parents.
This also happens to be the only documentation required when both parents are travelling with their child. As families most often travel as a unit on overseas holidays, very few people would need more documentation other than this one piece of paper.
One last thing to note
You must make the application for your visitor’s visa in person, as South Africa’s Immigration Act stipulates that biometric data for all visitors be recorded.
This service is only provided at visa centres in many countries. There aren’t always visa centres in all cities, but this situation is improving. Just last month, three new visa centres opened in the United Kingdom.
Start sooner rather than later
Just like a visa application for any other country, it will be better to start the process well in advance. This will eliminate any unnecessary stress closer to your holiday. Let’s face it – you don’t want anything to ruin your break to one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
This information was brought to you by Intergate Immigration, South Africa’s leading independent immigration service provider.