South Africa Visa Information

Updated South Africa Visa Information

Immigration policy changes were published for comment on 14 February 2014. The following South Africa visa information outlines the notable changes to the Immigration Act.

Cosmetic changes:

  • Visas will in future be called “port of entry visas and transit visas”.
  • Temporary residence permits will in future be called “visas”.

Procedural changes:

  • Applicants must have at least 2 free pages in their passports (up from 1).
  • Visas (including visitor’s visas) must be applied for in person and from the applicant’s home country. Applications for extensions and renewals of visas may be made in person from within SA. In countries where there is no SA mission or embassy, the Department of Home Affairs will receive applications, including by post, and capture biometrics of travellers on arrival at ports of entry – starting with a pilot at OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town airports effective February 2016. Clarification from the Department of Home Affairs on exactly which countries will be allotted this provision is still outstanding.
  • Fingerprints are required from all visa applicants (see above).
  • Undertakings to submit police clearance certificates within 6 months after issuance no longer accepted.

Substantive changes:

  • Stricter measures to combat child trafficking.
  • Immigration practitioners scrapped.
  • Foreign nationals must now prove cohabitation with their South African partners for at least 5 years before becoming eligible for visas. The current requirement is 3 months.
  • Exceptional skills permits no long exist. Freelancing sports stars, entertainers, musicians and other individuals with unique skills, which are not listed as “critical” have few options for long-stay visas.
  • Permanently-employed South Africans must make up at least 60% of the total staff compliment in businesses owned wholly or partly in South Africa by foreign nationals who live here.
  • Advertisements in national print media no longer required for general work permit applications.
  • Intra-company transfer visas now issued for up to four years, instead of two.
  • Late applications no longer accepted – applicants will need to leave South Africa and apply from their home country.
  • Habitual overstayers can be banned from future visas.

For visa application details, see the South Africa visa requirements page.

South Africa visa applications