South Africa is one of the most popular countries in Africa. As the name implies, the country is at the base of Africa. South Africa is a multilingual country having 11 official languages of which English language is one.
People who intend to travel to South Africa for one reason or the other need to obtain a South Africa visa that tallies with their purpose of travel. Foreigners who go to South Africa without a visa would be sent back to their country except they are citizens of countries that are exempted from presenting visas.
South Africa Visa Types
Entry into South Africa is only possible with a South Africa visa. There are separate categories of South African visas. These categories are based on the reason for travelling, and the duration of travel. South Africa visas are usually either for Temporary residence or for Permanent residence.
The types of South Africa include:
The study visas are issued to applicants who intend to study in South Africa. Applicants have issued this visa if they have a proof of having been offered provisional admission by an educational institution in South Africa. The duration of the visa is hinged on the duration of the registered course.
A work visa is issued to foreigners who have a job offer in South Africa. The duration of the visa is based on the type of work visa being applied for. There are a number of work visas and they include the General work Visas, with a duration that depends on the contract of employment; the Critical skill work visa, and the Intra-company Transfer Work Visa, which both do not exceed 4 years.
Medical Treatment Visa
This visa is issued to persons who intend to go to South Africa for medical related issues. The visas are usually for a maximum of 6 months at a time. The applicant would need a letter from their medical practitioner or a medical institution, indicating the reason for the treatment, the period of treatment and particulars of the treatment plans in the Republic of South Africa.
The corporate visa lets a corporate body or organisation employ a group of foreign workers whether skilled or unskilled. This visa does not exceed 3 years. The visa is usually requested for by the corporate organisation on behalf of the workers. The corporate body is supposed to provide documents stating the job description and remuneration for each foreign worker, and they are also supposed to proof that about 60% of their staff are citizens and permanent residents.
Business visas are given to investors or entrepreneurs who intend to start a business in South Africa or intend to invest in an existing business in the country. The business visa applicant has to sign an undertaking that at least 60% of the staff they would employ would be South Africans. They also need a letter of recommendation from the Department of Trade and Industry regarding the possibility of the business thriving in South Africa.
The applicant also has to show that they have the financial capacity to fund and sustain the business.
The visitor visa is available for people who want to travel to South Africa to visit relatives and friends, or just as tourists. The applicants would be issued temporary resident permits, and they have to prove that they intend to return to their home country in a short while. The Visitor visa is usually for at most 3 months.
South Africa Visa Requirements
In order to get a visa to South Africa, there are a number of documents that must be presented. Most of the documents cut across all the types of South Africa Visas and some are peculiar to the visa type needed. The main requirements for a South Africa are:
- An international passport that has at least two free pages, or a valid travel document.
- Two coloured passport-sized photographs (45mmx35mm)
- A duly completed BI-1738 application form (Applicants for Medical treatment visa, study visas and Business visas).
- A completed Form BI-84
- A receipt showing payment of the visa application fee.
- Documents supporting applicant’s reason for travelling.
- A yellow-fever vaccination certificate.
- Proof of financial stability.
Applicants must note that fake documents must not be submitted because not only will the documents be seized, but the visa application process might be abruptly stopped.
How to Apply for a South Africa Visa
The steps to apply for a South Africa visa include:
- Verify what type of visa you need
- Pay the visa fee
- Enter all the details requested for on the online application form – BI-84.
- Schedule an appointment
- Print out your appointment confirmation page
- Go for the Visa interview
Where to Get a South Africa Visa Application Form
The South Africa visa application form is available at the South Africa Embassy, Consulate or Visa Facilitation Service centre.
How to Track a South Africa Visa
When a South Africa visa application is submitted, tracking it is necessary to be abreast of the visa application process. Visa tracking is usually done with the receipt number gotten after visa application fee is paid, and the applicant’s passport number.
How and Where to Pay South Africa Visa Fees
South Africa visa application fees can be paid using Debit or Credit cards through a secure online portal, or paid in cash at the bank. Either way, a receipt should be collected. This receipt is the only proof that the visa application fee was paid.
Where to Submit South Africa Visa Application
The visa applications are to be submitted at the South Africa visa application centres. This application is to be submitted in person by the applicant. It is important to note that all necessary documents should be provided, and fees paid.
South Africa Visa Processing Time
The South Africa visa processing time depends on the type of visa being requested for. Since every visa is treated individually, the processing time would be case specific. Generally, for temporary residence permits, applications take about 8 weeks to be processed, and for permanent residence visas, it takes close to 10 months.
How to Collect Your South Africa Visa
After submitting and tracking the visa application, and the visa is approved, the applicant would have to collect the visa at the Visa application centre. The applicants need to come along with the original receipt that was received at the time when the application was submitted. If the processed passport is not collected from the Visa application centre within 30 working days, it would be returned to the High Commission.
Address and Location of South Africa Embassies in Nigeria
South African Embassy – Lagos Address
South African Consulate General in Lagos, Nigeria
24 Molade Okoya Thomas Street
Telephone: (+234) 1 461 2067
(+234) 1 461 2981
Fax: (+234) 1 461 2066
(+234) 1 461 2064
South African Embassy – Abuja Address
South African High Commission
Plot 371, Central Business District
Telephone: (+234) 9 462 4200
Further information can be found at the VSF website.