South Africa Student Visa Requirements & Process

South Africa Student Visa

Looking for South Africa Student Visa? then you have landed on right article. South Africa is one of the most well-known travel destinations because of its wonderful beaches, wildlife, delicious cuisine, and affordable exotic lodging. However, a South African visa would be required for any passenger before making travel plans.

To comprehend the South African Visa process, it is necessary to be aware of the many kinds of visas. The majority of foreigners who intend to reside in South Africa will need a South African visa or permit to work, study, or reside legally in the country. 

A variety of visas and immigration permits are available in South Africa; selecting the appropriate one is crucial and contingent upon your intended activities within the nation.

Some of the most famous colleges and educational institutions in the world are located in the nation and provide affordable course options. 

The number of foreign students choosing to enroll in undergraduate or graduate programs there is steadily increasing as a result of this issue. All students who want to enroll in a course that lasts longer than three months or pursue a university degree in South Africa must have a valid student visa.

Key Takeaways:

  • Students hailing from certain countries and territories do not require a South African student visa.
  • The various types of South African student visas are tourist visas, business visas, student visas, and work visas among many others.
  • The documents required for a South African student visa include a valid passport, an acceptance letter from the university, medical certificates, relevant vaccination certificates, etc.
  • The process of a South African Student visa is simple and requires the student to primarily fill out the BI-1738 form.
  • The application cost of a South African student visa is about R425 or USD 24.
  • The South African student visa is valid for as long as the duration of the course.
  • International students can work part-time on a South Africa student visa for 20 hours a week.
  • The South Africa student visa takes about 4 to 8 weeks to get approved.
  • Some of the top universities of South Africa are the University of Cape Town, the University of Witwatersrand, and Stellenbosch University. 

Who does not require a student visa?

Citizens who are holders of national passports of foreign countries, territories, and international organizations given below are not required to submit a visa when reporting to the immigration officer for an examination at a South African port of entry. The exceptions are catered to:

  1. Holder of a South African passport.
  2. Citizens who have a valid passport from the following countries, territories, and international organizations. However, the intended stay should be for 90 days or less:
  • African Union Laissez Passer 
  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Australia 
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic 

What Is South African Student Visa?

A student who wishes to pursue study in South Africa must have a student visa, also known as a Student’s Pass. With the help of these visas, you can go to another nation for the length of your course and enroll in a college, university, or academic program. 

The candidate must fill out Form BI-1738 to apply for a study visa. The VFS Center is where you must apply for a study visa. To apply for a student visa, applicants should cater to the standards of IELTS scores for international students set by the universities. 

What are the documents required for a South African student visa?

  • Once the student receives an acceptance letter from a South African educational institution, they can apply for a student visa accompanied by the following documents:
  • A valid passport which should be valid for 30 days more than the application date.
  • Proof of fee payment
  • Proof of financial stability to pay the tuition fees which could be around ZAR 3,000 every month. 
  • Proof of medical or health insurance coverage which is registered or recognized at South Africa.
  • An assurance of repatriation. If you don’t have a documented guarantee of support from a South African sponsoring organization, citizen, or permanent residence, you will have to deposit money equal to the cost of a return ticket.  
  • A medical certificate and a skin TB test or radiological report (chest X-ray).
  • Certificate of vaccination, if necessary.
  • For students who are under 18, they will have to write permission from both parents or sole custody parents along with proof of sole custody. 
  • An official letter is given by an institution in South Africa that confirms the acceptance and details the duration of the course. 
  • A police clearance certificate for students older than 18 years.
  • Copies of application forms and supporting documents.
  • Statement of purpose
  • Flight details of arrival and departure
  • Detailed information about the student’s stay in South Africa
  • Marriage/divorced/widowed certificate if applicable
  • Permit application forms.

What is the procedure for applying for a South Africa student visa?

The application process for a South Africa student visa is quite simple. It involves the following steps:

  • Get a confirmation from a university in South Africa registered with the Department of Higher Education.
  • Download the BI-1738 form and complete it properly.
  • Schedule an appointment with your local South African embassy, mission, or consulate in your home country.
  • Submit the enlisted documents and pay the required application fee.
  • Attend the interview and wait for the decision on the application. 

What is the cost of a South Africa student visa?

A study visa to South Africa requires an application fee of R425, or about USD 24. Keep in mind that, depending on the nation from which you are applying, you must pay the cost in the local currency. 

Please keep in mind that this rate does not account for additional service charges and is subject to change at any time without notice.

How much bank balance is required for a South Africa student visa?

According to the High Commission, the current balance needs to be at least R3000,00 in euros at the current exchange rate. Additionally, you have to substantiate the following:

  • Three months’ worth of bank statements
  • The bank statements must show every transaction made during the previous three (3) months and up to the week the visa application is filed;
  • The bank must print, certify, and stamp bank statements.
  • The student’s available funds, such as money in a savings account.

What is the duration of a South Africa student visa?

The length of stay is determined by the period of your course. When determining the validity of your student visa, Home Affairs will take into account the length of your education as well as other considerations. For the duration of your course, your student visa will be valid.

How to extend a South Africa student visa?

In South Africa, you will need to explain your need for a visa extension. Supporting documentation must be turned up at VFS Offices, and all applications must be submitted online. Your application must be submitted sixty days before the expiration of your current visa.

The following supporting documentation is needed to extend a student visa:

  • Certified copy of valid passport
  • Certified copy of current study visa
  • Printed copy of the completed application form
  • Proof of payment of the submission and appointment
  • Confirmation of appointment
  • Proof of confirmation of registration from the university
  • Proof of funds
  • Medical report that must not be older than six months
  • The radiological report must not be older than six months

Part-time work in South Africa for international students:

In South Africa, you can work as a student, but only part-time. In South Africa, you are only allowed to work 20 hours a week as a student. However, if you’d like, you can work full-time over the holidays.

You need to include the following with your visa application if you wish to work:

  • An offer of employment
  • Letter of consent from the university

What is the processing time for a South African student visa?

You should anticipate a processing time of 4 to 8 weeks if you have filed for a student visa to study in South Africa. However, it can take less time or more, based on Home Affairs’ workload and other factors including incomplete applications. 

It is therefore recommended that you begin the application procedure as soon as the university to which you have applied sends you an acceptance letter.

What are the reasons for the rejection of a South Africa student visa?

Your application for a visa may be denied if you provide insufficient information, choose the incorrect type of visa, can’t provide the necessary supporting documents, or can’t provide evidence of your financial stability. 

But even if this does happen, you don’t have to give up. You still have the option to request a second review of your application. Ten days will pass before you can file an appeal. 

You must schedule an appointment and submit the online application at your closest facilitation services center to accomplish this.

Top universities in South Africa for International students:

University Global score Enrollment 
University of Cape Town68.021,069
University of Witwatersrand60.826,871
Stellenbosch University58.124,907
University of Kwazulu Natal55.333,855
University of Johannesburg53.9 29,167
University of Pretoria53.136,493
Northwest University51.7236,282

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How do I get a South African student visa?

You can apply for a study visa by filling out Form BI-1738 if you are a foreign student who wants to study in South Africa. Study visa applications must be submitted at the closest South African embassy, mission, or consulate overseas, or at any VFS Center across the nation that is close to the educational institution you plan to attend.

2. How much bank balance is needed for a South Africa student visa?

For the duration of your studies, the minimum monthly financial need for a South African student visa is usually set at R 8,500.00. This implies that for each month you will be studying in the nation, you must have at least R 8,500.00 in your account.

3. How much does a study visa for South Africa cost?

You must apply for a student visa if your goal is to study abroad in South Africa. Approximately 1,775 ($107.00) is the total cost of applying for a student visa to South Africa.

4. For how long is the student visa valid in South Africa?

Study permits are good for the length of the course for which they are awarded; if the term is longer than 24 months at another institution, they are valid for 36 months. Alternatively, you may work up to 20 hours per week of part-time employment as a foreign student at an accredited university with a valid study permit.

5. Who is eligible for a South African student visa?

The school administration should accept and approve the visa application. To go to a certain location, you must demonstrate that you have the financial means to cover your living expenses as well as the tuition for any family members traveling with you. 


Every national must first obtain the necessary visa to study in South Africa. You can live and study in South Africa as long as you have a valid student visa. Your student visa will be valid for the duration of your program after it is granted.

It is quite simple for a Zimbabwean citizen to go to South Africa. Holders of a Zimbabwean passport are permitted to travel, do business, stay with friends and relatives, and visit South Africa as tourists.

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