Visa for South Africa

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To help prepare visitors for their trip to South Africa, we’ve detailed the key elements for a visa for South Africa, if a visa is required, how to apply and how much it costs.

Visa for South Africa and other requirements

U.S, U.K, Canadian and many EU citizens can travel visa free to South Africa for up to 90 days for tourists going on a South Africa safari, Citizens of other countries may require a visa.

O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) near Johannesburg and Cape Town International (CPT) are two of the main entry points for visitors wondering how to get to South Africa to parks including Kruger National Park and Phinda Private Game Reserve.

Some countries are exempted from visa control, which means that citizens from those countries do not need a visa to visit South Africa.

Visas are not issued at South African ports of entry and airline officials must insist on visas before allowing passengers to board. If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials are obliged to put you onto a flight back to your home country.

The best time to apply for your South Africa visa is 1-2 months before your travel date.

Carrying a small amount of South African currency, the rand (ZAR) can be useful when paying for smaller ticket items.

South Africa sign
South Africa border entry requirements and procedures – Source: ga – Adobe Stock ©

Documents required to apply for a visa

  • A passport or travel document valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of your intended visit
  • Your passport must have at least TWO unused page for entry / departure endorsements
  • A completed Form BI-84 (application for a visa)
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A yellow-fever vaccination certificate (if required)
  • Statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit
  • Two color passport photographs
  • A return or onward ticket if you are traveling by air
  • If you have children (minors) traveling with you or joining in South Africa, you will need to provide the following additional documents
  • Proof of guardianship or custody or
  • Consent from the guardian in the case of an unaccompanied minor
  • Proof of financial means to pay for your living expenses while in South Africa in the form of:
    • Bank statements
    • Salary advances
    • Undertakings by the host(s) in South Africa
    • Bursary
    • Medical cover or
    • Cash available (including credit cards and travellers’ cheques)

Visitors need the following documents to visit South Africa:

  • A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for your intended stay
  • At least one blank page in your passport for endorsements
  • A valid visa, if required
  • Sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay
  • A return or onward ticket
  • Yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.

Passport requirements

If you are visiting South Africa, your passport should be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive.

Your passport should be valid for at least 30 days beyond your intended date of exit from South Africa, in line with South African immigration regulations.

However, some immigration officials still request that a passport should have at least 6 months validity on the date of entry to South Africa. To avoid problems at the airport on arrival, you’re advised to ensure your passport is valid for six months.

Your passport should have at least two blank pages when you arrive in South Africa.

U.S. visitors visa and passport

U.S. citizens (U.S. passport holders) visiting the Republic of South Africa for ninety (90) days or less for tourism purposes do not need visas.

Please visit the State department’s page for more information on entry/exit requirements in South Africa.

U.K. visitors visa and passport

If you’re visiting South Africa for tourism or business purposes for a period of up to 90 days, you don’t need a visa. You should check the expiry date of your visa or entry stamp and make sure you do not overstay.

EU visitors visa and passport

Most EU countries can enter South Africa and stay for a period of up to 90 days without a visa, including citizens of France and Germany.

India visitors visa and passport

Citizens from India cannot enter South Africa without a visa, even for short stays and need to apply for a visa before travelling to South Africa. There is no visa on arrival service.

Australia visitors visa and passport

Australian citizens do not need a visa to travel to South Africa for up to 90 days.

Visa summary by country

Passport holderVisa required?Length of stay?Other requirements
U.S. No90 daysPassport valid for at least 6 months
U.K.No90 daysPassport valid for at least 6 months
EU countriesNo, for many countries90 daysPassport valid for at least 6 months
SwitzerlandNo90 daysPassport valid for at least 6 months
IndiaYes90 daysPassport valid for at least 6 months
AustraliaNo90 daysPassport valid for at least 6 months

Visa application process

Visit the South Africa Department of Home Affairs website for the latest information.

At the moment, citizens of 29 countries are not eligible for a South Africa visa on arrival and are expected to obtain a South Africa tourist visa.

Securing a tourist visa will be determined by your nationality. If you want to obtain a tourist visa for South Africa it is important that you meet the requirements for one of the South Africa visitor visa types.

To get a visa on arrival, you need a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining on your travel document, an application form, two photographs and cash to pay for the respective fee. You also need to be a citizen of an eligible country.

If you’re not eligible for the on arrival visa, you will need to get the South Africa tourist visa by presenting your application and passport at a South Africa embassy or consulate. You will also be required to pay for a fee and provide two passport-style photographs in color.

To get the South African tourist eVisa you will need a valid passport, an email address, and a debit or credit card.

The online tourist eVisa South Africa application will be simple to complete. Requirements for the South Africa tourist eVisa can be found on the official government of South Africa website.

Other requirements

Visitors should also be aware of South African vaccines and Covid-19 entry requirements including

  • Anti-malaria treatment is recommended
  • Yellow fever vaccine is recommended
  • DTPP, hepatitis B, typhoid, hepatitis A vaccines are recommended

Understanding the best time to visit South Africa can be helpful when budgeting costs for the trip, planning the time of year to travel as well as knowing what the best activities to do in South Africa beyond safari wildlife tours.

No stamp or label is placed in the passport.Travellers may also be asked to provide:

  • Passport valid at least six months on entry with one blank visa page
  • Hold proof of sufficient funds
  • Hold proof of onward/return flights
  • Hold proof of hotel reservation
  • Hold all documents required for the next destination

To complete the order form the traveler must provide:

  • A photograph
  • A copy of the passport information page
  • A copy of the passport front cover page
  • A copy of the flight confirmation
  • A copy of the hotel confirmation
  • A copy of a previously issued South African visa if applying for a multiple entry visa

Useful visa contacts


Do visitors need a visa for South Africa?

U.S and U.K citizens can travel as tourists visa free to South Africa for up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries may require a visa.

Any other entry requirements for visitors to South Africa?

Visitors should adhere to the latest Covid-19 entry requirements which may require a negative PCR test.

When is the best time to apply for my South Africa visa?

The best time to apply for your South Africa visa is 1-2 months before your travel date.