Immigration to South Africa

Updated 2010-10-07 09:27

To compliment the information on immigration to South Africa, here are a few pointers on getting your VISA. Immigration is for those coming to South Africa on a temporary or permanent permit or even going on to citizenship, whereas a VISA is for tourists and holidaymakers coming for a holiday.

South Africa boasts amazing figures in terms of its tourism industry, and in the FIFA World Cup 2010 over a million visitors were recorded.

To apply for a VISA, you'll need to go to your nearest South African consular representative within your own country or area. Your country means the country in which you normally reside and hold a passport in, or have permanent residence in. No VISAs can be applied for when entering South Africa, so if you do require one, make sure you have a VISA beforehand.

The cost currently for VISAs is R425.00, and the Department of Home Affairs quotes a 10-day waiting period.

What does one submit? Well, VISA requirements include the following:

-Your passport must be valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of the intended visit
-Passports must contain at least one unused page for entry/departure endorsements (sometimes referred to as a visa page). This has been known in the past to be so strongly enforced that you are turned away at the airport!)
-Payment of the prescribed fee, if applicable (see Countries exempt from visa control)
-A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act.
-Statement and/or documentation confirming purpose and duration of visit
-Two identity photographs (see the specifications for these below)
-Proof of financial means in the form of:
obank statements;
osalary advices;
owritten and signed undertaking(s) by the host(s) in the Republic;
omedical cover;
oor cash available, including credit cards or travellers' cheques
oto cover the living expenses during the sojourn in the Republic.
-Applicants traveling by air must be in possession of:
oa return or onward ticket; or
oproof of sufficient funds; or
olodge a cash deposit of equivalent value of your ticket (called a repatriation deposit ' this is used if you are to be deported!)

A good thing is that you don't necessarily have to submit your application for a VISA in person. Your photographs, however, do have to meet these stringent specifications, or your entire application might be unsuccessful.

-Two identical colour photos which are not more than one month old
-Photo dimensions: 35mm in width and 45mm in height
-The photo should depict a close-up of your head and the top of your shoulders, so that your face takes up about 70% ' 80% of the photo
-The photo must be high quality ' no ink marks, creases or damaged
-It must show you looking directly at the camera
-It must show your natural skin colour
-Your eyes must be open and clearly visible ' no hair across your face
-Be on a white background with nothing else in the background

If you are applying for For VISA details from the Home Affairs website, and information about other types of VISAs, such as Transit VISAs, please visit the South African Home Affairs site and their Frequently Asked Questions page.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.