To find out if you need a visa to visit South Africa, visit the South African Department of Home Affairs website which provides detailed information on South Africa's visa requirements.
The website gives particulars about which nationals require visas and which are exempt. Enquiries regarding South Africa visa information can also be obtained from South African missions in your home country, or the one nearest to you.
For nationals of countries requiring visas, application of the visa must be made ahead of your departure as visas are not issued on arrival. The visas must be affixed in your passport and shown to immigration officials on landing. Applications must be made through South African diplomatic or consular representatives.
To apply for a visa you'll be required to furnish particular documentation to meet South Africa's visa requirements. These include:
- A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of the intended visit, and at least 1 unused page for entry/departure endorsements (sometimes referred to as the visa page).
- Payment of the prescribed fee, if applicable.
- A vaccination certificate, if required (travel through the yellow fever belts of Africa and South America requires inoculation)
- Statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit.
- Two identity photographs (guidelines on website).
- Proof of financial means in the form of bank statements; salary advices; undertakings by your hosts in South Africa; bursaries; medical cover; or cash available, including credit cards or travellers' cheques.
- If travelling by air, a return or onward ticket; or proof of sufficient funds; or a cash deposit of equivalent value to an air ticket must be lodged.
Take care to request the correct duration of stay and type of visa. Also check on processing time so that there is no last-minute panic.