How Many Types of Visas are There for South Africa?


South Africa, or the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is a country located in the south of the African continent with 60 million people living it. South Africa’s First-World infrastructure and breathtaking holidays, First-World infrastructure, dramatic mountains, and superb beaches made it a famous destination for international tourists worldwide.

Depending on the travel purpose, South Africa offers several types of visas for foreigners who plan to visit South Africa. This article will discuss African visas, different types of them, South African visa exemptions, and nationals who need to apply for visas in general.

Who can get a South Africa visa?

There are immigration officials at the South African border who will decide if the foreigner is allowed to enter the country upon their entry. Immigration officers will also determine the duration of the foreigner’s visit to South Africa. Visitors are not allowed to do any activities that are not defined in their visa type descriptions.

The arrival date of travelers is the starting point for calculating the period of visa validity. Immigration officials are required to board foreigners back to their home countries if they arrive in the country without a visa.

Depending on:

  • Your nationality
  • The duration of your stay
  • Purpose of your visit to South Africa


South African laws determine if you need a visa. For example, you need a South African visa if you are from the following countries:

Afghanistan Albania Algeria Armenia
Azerbaijan Bahrain Bangladesh Belarus
Bermuda Bhutan Bosnia and Herzegovina Brunei
Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia
The central African Republic Chad Colombia Comoros
Congo Côte d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba
Djibouti Dominican Republic El Salvador Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea Estonia Faroe Islands Fiji
French Guiana The Gambia Georgia Ghana
Gibraltar Greenland Guatemala Guinea
Guinea-Bissau Honduras Indonesia Iraq
Kazakhstan Kiribati Kosovo Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon
Liberia Libya Lithuania Macedonia
Madagascar Mali Mauritania Moldova
Mongolia Montenegro Morocco Myanmar
Nepal Nicaragua Niger North Korea
Oman Puerto Rico Romania Rwanda
Sao Tome and Principe Senegal Serbia Sierra Leone
Slovakia Slovenia Somalia South Sudan
Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Syria
Taiwan Tajikistan Timor-Leste Togo
Tunisia Turkmenistan Ukraine Uzbekistan
Vietnam Yemen


What are South Africa Visa Exemptions?

There are 52 countries on the South African visa exemption list. Citizens of those countries can enter and stay in South Africa without a visa for 90 days:

Andorra Argentina Australia Austria Belgium
Botswana Brazil Canada Chile Czech Republic
Denmark Ecuador Finland France Germany
Greece Iceland Ireland Israel Italy
Jamaica Japan Liechtenstein Luxembourg Malta
Monaco Mozambique Namibia Netherlands New Zealand
Norway Panama Paraguay Portugal Qatar
Russia St Vincent & the Grenadines San Marino Singapore Spain
Sweden Switzerland Tanzania Trinidad & Tobago United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom United States Uruguay Venezuela Zambia


Nationals from the countries below can enter South Africa without a visa but for up to 30 days:

Angola Antigua and Barbuda Bahamas Barbados Belize
Benin Bolivia Cape Verde Costa Rica Cyprus
Eswatini Gabon Guyana Hong Kong Hungary
Jordan Lesotho Macau Malawi Malaysia
Maldives Mauritius Peru Poland Seychelles
South Korea Thailand Turkey


South African Visa Types

There are three main types of visas issued by the South African government:

Visitor visa or Tourist Visa

If you are interested in exciting wildlife and nature, you must apply for a South African visitor or tourist visa and visit this country. In addition, foreign nationals wishing to travel to South Africa for the reasons below must obtain a tourist or visitors’ visa. South African government issues visitors’ visas for various types of situations like:

  • Medical treatment
  • Working in the entertainment industry
  • Attending a conference
  • Consent of an agreement conditions
  • Maritime crew
  • Exchange programs
  • Transit visas


A South African visitors’ or tourist visa is valid for 90 days or less.

Temporary Residence Visa

A South Africa temporary residence visa is issued for foreign nationals who wish to stay for longer than 90 days. These foreigners can be international students, foreign workers, and tourists. However, for a stay shorter than 90 days, you had better apply for a visitors’ visa. The South African government issues temporary residence visas for the following reasons:

  • To promote economic growth. When foreign investors and skilled and qualified foreigners are drawn, this is possible.
  • To promote tourism to South Africa.


Depending on your travel purpose (which can be one of the purposes below), you can obtain a South African temporary residence visa.

  • Business Visa
  • Work Visa
  • General work Visa
  • Critical skills work Visa
  • Intra-company Transfer Work Visa
  • Corporate Visas
  • Study Visas
  • Exchange Visas
  • Retired Persons’ Visa
  • Relative’s Visa
  • Medical Treatment Visa


Permanent Residence Visa

The economic base of South Africa is always in need of foreigners who can make a significant change in the country and broaden its economic base. Therefore, the South African government is welcoming foreigners who can match themselves with their standards.

Applicants must ensure they have the proper criteria before they start their application process. The South African government does not allow a foreigner who is declared a prohibited person or undesirable to obtain a permanent residency.

The South African Minister of Home Affairs must be contacted before submitting an application for a permanent residency visa. This representation helps them avoid being declared a prohibited person or an undesirable person.

Here are the categories of permanent residency visas:

  • Direct Residency Permit
  • Residency-on-Other-Grounds Permit.


There are 11 different types of permanent visas that fall into the categories above. These permanent visa types are:

  • 26(A) Worker
  • 26(B) Spouse
  • 26 (C) Dependent (under 18)
  • 26(D) Dependent(above 21)
  • 27(A) Worker
  • 27(B) Extraordinary skills
  • 27(C) Business
  • 27(D) Refugee
  • 27(E) Retired
  • 27(F) Financially independent
  • 27(G) Relative


What are South African Visa Requirements?

Each South African visa type has a list of different required documents. Here there is a list of some general documents for all types:

  • The applicant’s passport (It must have validity for at least 30 days)
  • Applicants’ passports must have at least two blank page
  • A paid visa fee
  • Passport size photo (one colored photo)
  • Evidence of a yellow-fever vaccination (if applicants are about to travel through the yellow fever belt)
  • Police clearance certificates (from countries that the applicant has stayed in for 12 months or more)
  • Evidence to show sufficient financial assets, such as a bank statement, a salary advance, a pledge by the applicant’s host, a scholarship, medical cover, or cash.
  • A round-trip ticket for air travelers
  • A statement verifying the purpose and duration of the visit


How to Apply for a South Africa Visas?

Applicants who need a South African temporary visa must go through several steps. Here are those mentioned steps:

  • Apply for a visa online on the VFS website (this website is an associate of the Department of Home Affairs of South Africa). You have to do the following:
    • Fill out the online form
    • Pay the required fees
    • Set an appointment at the embassy.
  • Visit the South African embassy. Applicants need to take:
    • The printed online application form
    • A valid passport
    • Other required documents with them. (At the end of the appointment, applicants will receive an acknowledgment receipt. This receipt must be kept safe)
  • Wait for the embassy to contact you.
  • Revisit the embassy to enroll your fingerprints and photograph at the embassy.
  • Give your receipt and collect your documents in person at the embassy. (applicants must have their original passport to collect the final verdict.)


Let’s Sum Up …

South Africa provides several types of visas for applicants wishing to travel to this fantastic country. Applicants can travel to South Africa for tourism, business, transit, medical-related, etc. In this article, we explained some general aspects of South African visas and the process of applying for them.

If you are interested in learning more about South African visas, check the sidebar on the left.

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