Exchange Visa South Africa

What is an over 25 exchange visa?

An exchange visa allows a foreign national temporary residency into the country for three types of exchange programs. The exchange visa is then divided into an over the age of 25 application and a below the age of 25 application.

Over 25

An over 25 exchange visa in South Africa allows a foreign national who is participating in a programme of cultural, economic or social exchange to reside temporarily in South Africa. The exchange must be administrated by an organ of state or learning institution.

Under 25

An under 25 exchange visa in South Africa allows a foreign national who is under the age of 25 years and who has received an offer to conduct work, to reside temporarily in South Africa.

Apply for a exchange Visa

Who is an exchange visa for?

The Exchange Visa issued to foreigners who are going to participate in a programme of cultural, economic or social exchange organised or administered by an organ of state, or a higher education institution in conjunction with an organ of a state, in South Africa.

The three motivations for an exchange visa application are:

  • Exchange Visas for educational institutions
  • Cultural, economic and social exchange
  • Exchange Visas for exchange work programmes

How would I qualify for an over 25 exchange visa?

Over 25

The organ of state would need to validate the reason for the foreign national to participate in a programme of cultural, economic or social exchange. You would need to be 25 years of age or older.

Under 25

The employer must validate that the position exists and that the remuneration and welfare of the foreign national comply with the legal requirements. You would need to be less than 25 years of age at the time of application.

What is the duration of an exchange visa?

Over 25

The duration of the issued visa is determined by the length of the assigned exchange programme, but will not exceed 3 years.

Under 25

The duration of the issued visa may not exceed the duration of the exchange programme and the foreign national will not be able to apply for temporary or permanent residency until you have resided for more than 1 year outside of South Africa after the exchange visa has expired. Extraordinary circumstances may be considered.

Pros of an exchange visa

  • You get to travel and enjoy all the beauty South Africa has to offer
  • You get to learn a new language
  • You get a long break from your “old life” and learn a “new life”
  • You get to stay with amazing host families that bring you everywhere and feed you with vast amounts of delicious things

Cons of an exchange visa

  • You have to leave everything you know and completely immerse yourself in a different culture for a year (harder than it sounds!)
  • You have to leave all your family and friends behind for a year
  • You don’t know anyone going into your country and have to make friends and get along with your host family in a different language.
  • If you have some sort of issue, you have to formulate it in a foreign language.

South African Visa Options