Skip to Navigation

Applying for a Visa in South Africa


When booking a course at EC Cape Town, students will receive all the help they need to apply for the correct visa or visa extension. In the meantime, here is some basic information for entry requirements to South Africa:

A. General Visa Information:

  • Countries exempt from needing a visa are listed here: http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/index.php/countries-exempt-from-sa-visas
  • Visitors from the following countries require a visa: Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia.
  • On arrival in South Africa, Europeans (those not listed above) will be issued a visitor's visa for 90 days. Once in South Africa, this visitor's visa can be extended for a further 90 days; but it is important that this is done within the first 30 days of arrival. The extension will be for a maximum of another 90 days.
  • A 30-day visa may be extended for a further 90 days.

When students apply for their visa extension they must submit the following documents:

  • A valid passport which expires in no less than 30 days after expiry of the intended date of departure from South Africa.
  • Department of Home Affairs Medical certificate completed, stamped and signed by an authorised medical practitioner/officer or hospital in the students’ home country.
  • Department of Home Affairs Radiological report must also be completed, stamped and signed by a Radiologist or hospital in the student’s home country.
  • Proof of valid flight ticket showing provisional departure within 90 days.
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover their stay in Cape Town (minimum amount is 3500 US Dollars). If the account is not in the student’s name, a signed affidavit of support must be submitted by the account holder – the bank statement provided must show at least 3 months of transactions.

The actual extension takes around 6 to 8 weeks to get approved; and we will have school staff on hand to assist them with the application process should the student require their assistance.

  • Those needing a visa who are under 21 years of age will require guardianship. This costs €50 and is available from EC. (Not applicable for students arriving on a visitor's visa)
  • All passengers must have a valid passport with at least four blank pages for the issuing of stamps. The passport should also be valid for the duration of the stay and six months after departure.
  • If a student is subject to visa requirements, they will need to apply for their visa at least 30 days before departure. 
  • Students may visit VFS Global for detailed information on visas.

B. What can be done with different Visas:

1. NORMAL VISITOR’S/TOURIST VISA
a. LANGUAGE COURSE:

  • A student who is issued with a port-of-entry Visitor’s Visa (for 30 or 90 days), may participate in a language course with EC for the duration of their visa.
  • The visa may be extended for a further 30 or 90 days when in South Africa, but it cannot be changed into a Study Visa.
  •  A student may therefore study for a maximum of 60 or 180 days on this visa.

b. STUDY AND VOLUNTEER (OR JUST VOLUNTEER):

  • A student may participate in a volunteer programme on a Visitor’s Visa (not longer than 3 months, but the visa can be extended if required). 
  • They can combine this with a language course but this is not a requirement if their English level is high enough and they ONLY want to volunteer. However, we require at least one week’s course booked at the school in order for the student to be oriented in South Africa and prepare for the volunteer programme.

 

c. INTERNSHIPS:

  • A student wanting to participate in an internship programme may only do so for a maximum of 3 months, as this is how long a normal Visitor’s Visa is issued for.
  • However, this visa may also be extended for a further 90 days when in South Africa.
  • The same applies for a 30-days visa.

2. WORK VISA
a. INTERNSHIPS:

  • For any internship longer than 2 or 6 months (30 days or 90 days visa), the student must apply for a Work Visa in South Africa. This is MUCH more complicated and will require a strong motivation (such as a requirement for a university course) as well as a formal “job offer”/letter of acceptance from the company at which they will be doing the internship. However, due to the current high levels of unemployment in South Africa, it is very difficult to motivate why a work visa should be issued to a foreigner if a local person can fill that position, even if it’s just an internship.
  • Although the law makes no provision for the issuing of an “Internship Visa” to foreigners, it does not state that a foreigner may NOT do an internship at a South African company.

3. STUDY VISA
a. LANGUAGE COURSE:

  • A Study Visa is usually valid for 12 to 24 months and may be extended while studying in South Africa.
  • Where a country does not have a port-of-entry visa agreement with South Africa, a Study Visa must be applied for in the student’s home country before arrival.
  • If the student wishes to study for longer than 180 days (6 months), a Study Visa must be applied for prior to arrival.
  • A Visitor’s Visa cannot be changed to a Study Visa after arriving in South Africa. 
  • Although the Department of Home Affairs usually grants Visitor’s Visa extensions, there is no guarantee that they will do so. It is therefore in the best interest of the student who knows they want to study for a long time, rather to apply for a Study Visa in their home country before arrival.

b. STUDY AND WORK: 

  • A student who has a Study Visa may work for a maximum of 20 hours per week and be paid for this work.
  • The nature of the work is usually casual/temporary work, such as being a waiter, or barman, or in the service industry, or a temp receptionist, etc.
  • While EC will assist a student where we can, it is not the school’s responsibility to place the student in an appropriate workplace. This is entirely the student’s responsibility while they are in South Africa. There is, therefore, no guarantee that the student will be able to find suitable work after arrival.

c. STUDY AND VOLUNTEER (OR JUST VOLUNTEER):

  • A student may participate in a volunteer programme with a Study Visa.

NOTE: There is no such things as a “Student Visa”, an “Internship Visa” or a “Volunteer Visa”.

C. TRAVELLING WITH MINORS/CHILDREN

1. Requirements for parents travelling with a child:

  • An unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child. 
  • For adopted children, proof of adoption by means of an adoption certificate

2. Requirements for one parent travelling with a child: 

  • An unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child.
  • Consent in the form of an affidavit (not older than 3 months, dating from the date of travel) from the other parent (registered on the birth certificate of the child) authorising him or her to enter or depart from the Republic with the child OR a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child.
  • Legally separated parents should provide a court order when the other parent does not give consent.
  • Where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate.
  • Where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents, the Director-General may approve such a person to enter into or depart from the Republic with such a child if death certificates of both parents and a letter of special circumstances are provided.

 

3. Requirements for a person travelling with a child who is not his or her biological child:

  • A copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child.
  • An affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child.
  • Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child.
  • The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.
  • Where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents, the Director-General may approve such a person to enter into or depart from South Africa with such a child if death certificates of both parents and a letter of special circumstances are provided.
  •  

4.Requirements for a minor travelling unaccompanied:

  • Proof of consent from one or both parents or legal guardians, in the form of a letter or affidavit for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa. In the case where one parent provides proof of consent, a copy of a court order must also be provided, stating he or she has been granted full parental responsibilities and rights.
  • The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.
  • A guardianship letter from the person who is to receive the child in South Africa containing his or her residential address and contact details in South Africa where the child will be residing.
  • A copy of the identity document/valid passport and visa/permanent residence permit of the person receiving the child in South Africa.

5. PLEASE NOTE:

  • In South Africa, a minor is classified as a person under 18 years.
  • These regulations apply to all travellers (South African and foreign), on departure as well as arrival.
  • In the case of foreign countries that do not issue unabridged birth certificates, a letter to this effect issued by the relevant authority of the foreign country should be produced.
  • All documents must be originals, or copies certified as a true copy of the original, by a commissioner of oaths (or the equivalent commissioning authority in the country concerned).
  • For unaccompanied minors, the guardianship letter and supporting documentation is supplied by a designated member of staff at EC Cape Town.