South Africa Study Visa
For international students, South Africa is becoming a favourite destination to study. With affordable education courses and presence of some of the top universities in the world.
South Africa is an amazing country for exploration and career making. Most people who visit the country for educational purposes want to complete their postgraduate and undergraduate degrees.
If you don’t have a local passport, you will need a visa for South Africa so that you will be eligible to come to the country to study. You want to apply for a South African student visa. If you don't know about this requirement, we will guide you in this article about everything you need to know.
Do you need a student visa for South Africa?
If you are not from South Africa and want to complete a degree in the country, you will need to apply for a South African visa to travel.
However, you won’t be able to live permanently or on a long-term with visa-free travel,(as it lasts typically between 1-3 months) and can be used for the purpose of tourism.
South African Visa options for International Students
Visa options should be checked by all the international students who want to study in South Africa, which could apply to specific situations and nationalities in advance before they travel.
If you want to complete a longer than three months course or complete a university degree in South Africa, you will need to apply for a student visa. It is not the case for some, but most of the students will need a student visa.
“Most educational institutions and South African universities can also help or direct prospective international students to the required offices”.
Studying in South Africa on a Tourist Visa
A short course can be attended with a South Africa tourist visa, which is a short-term permit. An example would be a person who is learning English while exploring South Africa.
You should remember that you can only use the tourist visa for tourism purposes. If you are travelling to the country mainly for taking part in a course, you will no longer be eligible for a tourist visa.
“It is strongly recommended that all international students contact any nearby South African consulate or embassy before making any travel arrangements”.
Citizens of some countries can also visit the country without a visa for tourism and will be able to take part in a short course.
South African exchange visas for Foreign Students
If young visitors wish to participate in an economic, cultural, or social programme in the country, they can do so with an exchange visa, which includes school and university programmes.
Validity of exchange permits is the duration of the programme, and cannot exceed more than 12 months, and cannot be renewed or extended.
The exchange visa is only for foreigners who are not older than 25 years of age who can participate in an organized program by an institution in the country.
- A filled application form of an exchange visa
- pay the fees of visa application
- Validity of an eligible passport with a minimum of 30 days after the actual departure date from South Africa
- A financial means proof, medical insurance proof, radiology and medical reports, and vaccination certificate (if needed).
- Information regarding the programme and institution organizing it, along with an invitation letter.
- A foreign educational institutional letter who is participating in the programme.
- A clearance certificate from the police from the countries where the applicant, since the age of 18, resided for 12 or more months.
- Other supporting documents
How to get a Student Visa for South Africa?
Most of the international students will need to get a visa for the purpose of the study. To attend their specific course(s) in the country, read on how you can get the visa.
Where to Apply for a South Africa Student visa?
In most cases you should need to submit the application to the South African consulate or embassy in person. The immigration authorities can be contacted if you are already living in South Africa.
Please note: “The diplomatic missions of South Africa abroad will only provide you with services regarding visa application upon appointment”.
South Africa Student Permit Requirements
Applicants older than 18 need to provide these, to submit the application form successfully
- Accurate information is provided in all parts of an application form.
- Fees of visa processing .
- You need a valid Passport, which has the validity of a minimum of 30 days after the actual departure date from South Africa.
- Information regarding travel such as address(es) and itinerary where the applicant will reside in the country.
- Proof that the applicant can afford the institutional costs in the country.
- If a third party takes responsibility for all the costs for the international students, then provide their ID copies.
- Relevant medical records, vaccination certificates and radiology reports (if needed).
- Clearance certificates from the police (where applicable).
- An educational institution’s official letter confirming that they have offered the traveller a place to study.
- Other supporting documents.
A passport with at least 2 labelled visa blank pages presented at the consulate or embassy for the permit application.
If the Student is minor, then these documents are required:
- A notarized consent letter from guardian/parent.
- Birth certificate.
- Where applicable, legal/adoption guardianship certified copies.
- Information regarding the address of the person who will be the legal guardian of the traveller/student in South Africa.
How long is a South Africa student visa valid?
The duration of the study permit is the entire duration of the course or degree. For secondary schools, the duration is up to six years, while for primary schools, the duration is up to eight years.
(It could take 3-4 weeks in processing for visas exceeding 90 days).
Can you Work on a South Africa study permit?
You should apply for a proper work visa, if you are interested in working in the country. The study permit is only for studying in South Africa. However, students on a student visa can work part-time for up to 20 hours a week.
Why Should you study in South Africa?
Internationally famous universities are available in South Africa, such as “the University of Stellenbosch and Witwatersrand and Cape Town”. These are the top 3 African universities.
“You will be able to live in an extraordinary and unique country by moving here, with famous multicultural urban centres and natural attractions.”
Compared to other English-speaking destinations for studies like the US, Australia, and the UK, South Africa is affordable, with degrees costing between:
- USD 3,014-3,600 (R53,440 and 64,89) per year.
- For masters, the fees are USD 1,409 to 3,948 (R25,000-70,000) per year.