Visa policy of South Africa
The visa policy of South Africa is how the South African government determines who may and may not enter their country. Visitors to South Africa must obtain a visa from one of the South African diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries, in which case they get what is called a "Port of Entry Visa". Visitors who require a visa must apply in person and provide biometric data.
All visitors must hold a passport valid for 1 month after departure and with one blank page (two if a visa is required).
In December 2016, it was announced that South Africa will review its visa policy in accordance with the principle of reciprocity.
In March 2018, it was announced that South Africa will pilot the first phase of the e-visa system by 31 March 2019.
In September 2018, it was announced that citizens of Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iran, Lebanon, the State of Palestine, Belarus, Georgia and Cuba will be able to visit South Africa visa-free. An e-visa pilot programme will begin in New Zealand by April 2019. Furthermore, nationals of São Tomé and Príncipe, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Tunisia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will also be able to travel visa-free to South Africa for short stays, after visa waiver agreements are finalised. 
Visa policy map
Nationals of the following countries can enter South Africa without a visa:
Nationals of the following 48 countries/territories who hold valid national passports are not required to obtain South African visas for visits of up to 90 days:
Citizens of the following 28 countries/territories who hold valid national passports are not required to obtain South African visas for visits of up to 30 days:
1 – for ordinary passport holders only.
|Date of visa changes|
Diplomatic, service and official passports
Citizens who are holders of diplomatic, official or service passports of the following countries do not require visas for visits of the indicated period and transit for up to 90 days (unless otherwise noted):
1 – 120 days
2 – 30 days
Eligible international organizations
Individuals holding the following travel documents are not required to obtain South African visas for visits of 90 days or less:
- Staff members of SADC who travel on SADC laissez-passer are exempt from visa requirements for bona fide official business visits of 90 days or less and transit.
Visas issued by South Africa are for:
- Tourism or visits to family or friends
- Medical treatment
- Working in the entertainment industry
- Attending a conference
- Treaty conditions compliance
- Maritime crew
- Cultural, economic and social exchange programmes
Temporary residence visas issued by South Africa are:
- Business visas
- Work visas
- Quota work visas
- General work visas
- Critical skills work visa
- Intra-company Transfer Work visa
- Corporate visas
- Study visas
- Exchange visas
- Retired persons’ visa
- Relatives’ visa
- Medical Treatment visa
According to the amended South African Immigration Act 13 of 2002, foreign nationals overstaying the expiry of their South African visas will be determined “undesirable” and, consequently, face being banned from the Republic for a period of up to 5 years.
From 1 June 2015, all minors under the age of 18 travelling in and out of South Africa must hold, in addition to their passport, an unabridged birth certificate with particulars of both parents. The requirement applies to both domestic and foreign citizens. If the child is travelling with only one parent, an affidavit with the absent parent's consent is required. If the child is travelling with another adult and without both parents, an affidavit with consent of both parents must be produced. An unaccompanied minor, in addition to holding an affidavit and birth certificate, must provide the requisite information of the local South African host. The rule has been widely criticized by the tourism industry, but officials claimed that the rule was implemented to fight widespread human trafficking and unilateral child custody abuse in South Africa. By October 2016 over 13,000 tourists had been prevented from entering the country due to the unabridged birth certificate requirement, thus having a negative impact on the economy.
In September 2018 the Cabinet announced that they intend on scrapping this controversial requirement for children travelling.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for South Africa.|
- Visa requirements for South African citizens
- List of ports of entry in South Africa
- List of diplomatic missions of South Africa
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