What papers are needed to enter South Africa?


Not every foreign national needs a visa to travel to South Africa; outlined below is those who are exempt, and what those who are not exempt need to bring with them.

Holders of passports from the following countries can visit South Africa for a holiday or business trip (or for transits) for up to 30 days without a visa:

  • Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas (only ordinary passport holders), Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Gabon, Guyana, Hong Kong (only with regard to holders of Hong Kong British National Overseas passports and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports), Hungary, Jordan, Lesotho, Macau (only with regard to holders of Macau Special Administrative Region passports), Malaysia, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Peru, Poland, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, South Korea (Democratic Republic), Swaziland, Thailand and Turkey.

Holders of passports from the following countries can visit South Africa for a holiday or business trip (or for transits) for up to 90 days without a visa:

  • African Union Laissez Passer, Andorra, Argentina, Australia , Austria, Belgium, Botswana , Brazil, Canada, Chile (only ordinary passport holders), Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Namibia (90 days per annum, only ordinary passport holders), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania (90 days per year), Trinidad & Tobago (only ordinary passport holders), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (only ordinary passport holders).
  • British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man. British Oversees Territories namely: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island, Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha), Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the Turks and Caicos Island.
  • United States of America (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of the USA in SA).
  • Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia (90 days per annum), and Zimbabwe.

Holders of diplomatic, official and service passports of the following countries do not require visas for the indicated duration:

Albania (120 days), Algeria (30 days), Angola (90 days), Belarus (90 days), Benelux states (90 days), Bulgaria (90 days), China (PROC) (30 days), Cyprus (90 days), Comoros (90 days), Croatia (90 days), Cuba (90 days), Egypt (30 days), Ghana (90 days), Guinea (90 days), Hungary (120 days), India (90 days), Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire)(30 days), Kenya (30 days), Mexico (90 days), Madagascar (30 days), Morocco (30 days), Mozambique (90 days), Namibia (30 days), Nigeria (90 days), Paraguay (120 days), Poland (90 days), Romania (90 days), Russian Federation (90 days), Rwanda (30 days), Senegal (90 days), Slovak (90 days), Thailand (90 days), Tunisia (90 days) and Vietnam (90 days).

Who needs a visa?

You require a visa if any of the following applies:

  • You are not a national of one of the above-mentioned countries;
  • You intend to stay in South Africa longer than the permitted exemption period;
  • You intend to work or study in South Africa;
  • You intend to take part in a sports event;
  • Your visit is related to the pursuit of your career;
  • You intend to take up permanent residence in South Africa.

The possession of a visa does not guarantee your entry into South Africa. It entitles you only to proceed to a South African port of entry, where an immigration officer will check that you satisfy the basic requirements for entry into the country. Whether or not you need a visa, you require the following in order to be granted entry into South Africa:

  • A passport (or travel document) valid long enough to cover the intended period of stay, with at least two blank pages;
  • Enough money to support yourself during your stay;
  • An onward or return ticket.

If you come from, journeyed through or disembarked at a country in the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America, you must also have proof of inoculation against the disease. The inoculation only becomes valid ten days after the inoculation, and remains valid for ten years.

Further reading

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