What is A volunteer visa For South Africa
The South African volunteer visa (long-stay visitor’s visa) or charitable work visa allows foreign nationals to partake in volunteer or charity work within the Republic.
The volunteer visa in South Africa category does allow the applicant to receive a daily stipend to offset their expenses but does not allow for remuneration beyond this.
Volunteer visas are extremely popular among young adults taking their gap year after completing their studies or those looking to take a break from the corporate world for a bit and give back.
Who is a volunteer visa for?
The volunteer visa is issued to individuals who have the desire to be employed by a charity organisation in South Africa, or who want to enter the country to perform voluntary work.
It is important to note that, although this is will allow for a long stay within the country, the purposes of the volunteer visa, the work performed by the applicant must not be remunerated.
Do I qualify for a volunteer visa in South Africa?
In order to qualify for a South African volunteer visa, the applicant must meet the following criteria.
- The unpaid work must be under the order of a bona fide charity or volunteering institution.
- Written statement of purpose of visit.
- The applicant must provide proof of sufficient financial means.
- The applicant must supply proof of return flight ticket (provided the duration of stay does not exceed 12 months).
- A person who is unable to comply with the requirement to submit proof of a valid return ticket may be required to make a deposit; provided that such deposit shall be refunded to the depositor after the final departure of the applicant or after a permit contemplated in section 25 of the Act has been issued to the applicant; provided further that the payment of the deposit may be effected by means of a bank guaranteed cheque or credit card at places where such facility exists.
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Pros of a volunteer visa
As a volunteer, one of the most impactful takeaways from the experience is cultural understanding. While you are bound to get this to an extent with any type of program, joining a project run by a local organisation means you will be surrounded by a majority of local staff, learn their ideologies and how to work as a team.
Experience real life in a real community, by volunteering you can really learn about a particular culture, lifestyle and country. Through spending a sustained period of time in one place, you can become part of the community by working and living at the heart of it. If you’re looking to experience new things, meet new people and get more than just a fleeting glance of a town or city, volunteering abroad is a great way to do this.
Make a Difference in this World, by completing a volunteer placement in South Afriac you probably won’t achieve world peace or solve the poverty crisis, but you do have the chance to make a real difference to many people’s lives.
Cons of a volunteer visa
The Costs You’ll Have to Cover. Unfortunately, but perhaps obviously, volunteering abroad is not free. Depending on which agency you go through, the costs will vary slightly.
Taking on a volunteer placement during your gap year isn’t something you should do on a whim. You will have to commit a significant amount of time, usually anywhere from a number of weeks up to a year or beyond. In my opinion at least, the benefits of volunteering outweigh the time you will lose from other travels during your gap year, but it is something to consider.
There Will Be a Lot of Hard work Involved. Stating the obvious, volunteering abroad doesn’t involve lying on the beach with a piña colada in hand, even though you aren’ getting paid you’re still there to work and it will be some real hard work.