South Africa Visa Application and Requirements For US Citizens

Oct 18, 2022

7 min read

South Africa is known for their flora fauna and all the unique animals they have, including the big five. South Africa also has amazing tourist sites and a rich culture. With all the beauty this country has to offer, who wouldn’t want to visit? I know I would, this is why I’m so glad they have a South Africa tourist visa.

This visa is also known as a South African visitors visa but throughout this post I will refer to it as a tourist visa. I’ll give you all the information you’ll need to apply successfully for you tourist visa such as:


What Is A South African Tourist Visa?

Tourist Visas are for international travelers who wish to visit South Africa for a short-period for tourism. This visa is only valid for 90 days. A visa simply states that your application has been approved at a South African embassy, consulate or Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and that the consular officer has determined that you are eligible to enter the country for a specific purpose.

The tourist visa will allow you to travel to a South African port of entry where an immigration official will determine if you are allowed to enter the country and how long you can stay for your particular visit.

Remember visas are not issued at South African ports of entry and airline officials are obligated to insist on your visa before allowing you to board. If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials will ask you to get on a flight back to your home country. The tourist visa cannot grant you permanent residency in South Africa.

There are two other types of tourist visas individuals can apply for, I will discuss these tourist visas later.

Do US Citizens Need A Visa For South Africa?

No, you don't. If you're a US citizen you don't need to apply for a visa before traveling to South Africa.

Do I Need A Visa If I'm A US Green Card Holder?

It depends on your country of nationality. If your country of nationality is part of the visa exempt countries you don't need a visa. If your country of nationality is not part of the visa exempt countries you need to apply for a South African Visa.

Be sure to check the list of visa exempt countries.


What Purposes Will Allow Me To Apply For A South African Tourist Visa?

When traveling to the beautiful country of South Africa you can apply for a tourist visa under any of the purposes stated. South African Visitors visas may be granted for:

  • Visits to friends and family.
  • Tourism purposes.
  • Business purposes.
  • Spouse to join another spouse who is in South Africa on a work or study permit.
  • Children to join parents who are in the Republic of South Africa on a work or study permit.
  • Fiancée/ fiancé to join her or his partner with the intention of marrying in 90 days.
  • Study purpose, keep in mind the maximum stay is 3 months.
  • Charitable activities.
  • Research.
  • Conferences.
  • Work in the production of a show or movie.
  • Medical purposes, maximum stay is 3 months.
  • Sport events.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements For A South African Tourist Visa?

To be eligible for the South Africa visa you will have to meet the visa requirements. These requirements are there so you know whether or not you can apply for the tourist visa.

These are the following entry requirements:

  • A valid passport or document for your intended stay.
  • At least one blank visa pages in your valid passport for endorsement purposes.
  • A valid visa, if required. There are visa-waiver countries who do not require a visa to enter South Africa.
  • Enough funds to cover your day-to-day expenses during your stay.
  • A return flight ticket.
  • A yellow fever certificate. If your journey starts or passes through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South Africa, you’ll need to submit a yellow fever vaccination certificate alongside your visa application

What Documents Are Required For A Tourist Visa?

A few documents are required when you apply for your South African Visitors Visa. If these documents aren’t included in your application the application process can be slowed down or in extreme cases your application won’t be accepted.

You will need to provide the following documents:

  • A passport valid no less than 30 days after the expiry date of your visit to South Africa.
  • A completed Form BI-84. This form is the application form for your visitor's visa.
  • Documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit.
  • Two passport photographs (in color).
  • A return flight ticket.
  • If you have children traveling with you to South Africa you will need to provide proof of guardianship or custody and their birth certificates.
  • Proof of sufficient funds in the form of bank statements, medical care or salary advances.
  • Travelers Health Questionnaire.

Remember to attach all your travel documents to your application

A Valid Passport

When applying for the South African Visitors Visa, you’ll need to ensure that your passport has a validity of at least 30 days after the expiry date of your visit to South Africa . If your passport is close to its expiry date, be sure to renew your passport before applying for your visa.

Documentation Confirming The Purpose Of Your Visit

Documentation confirming the purpose of your visit is required so the South African embassy knows why you want to travel or visit South Africa. These documents will also show how long you intend to stay.

A Return Flight Ticket

The return ticket is needed to show when your visit to South Africa will come to an end. This is also to show that you intend to leave South Africa before or the day your tourist visa expires.

Proof Of Financial Means

Proof of financial means is required so the South African Embassy can ensure that you can cover the costs of your day-to-day life in South Africa. It also shows that you can afford to buy your flight tickets needed to fly to and from South Africa.

Travelers Health Questionnaire

The Travelers Health Questionnaire is required due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The online questionnaire is implemented so South African health authorities can keep in touch with travelers who may have been exposed to Covid-19. Remember to check for any other travel restrictions.


What Are The Costs For A South African Tourist Visa?

The visa fee is R 1520. This is for the application fee. Although this is the cost as it is today, it is possible that the costs can change throughout the year. Be sure to check the visa application fee before applying for your South African visa.


What Are The Different Types Of Tourist Visas?

There are two types of tourist visas apart from the normal tourist visa. These visas are the accompanying spouse visa and the accompanying child visa.

Accompanying Spouse Tourist Visa

An Accompanying Spouse Visa is a visa that allows the non-working partner to accompany their significant other on a valid visa in South Africa. As a spouse of a South African temporary residence visa holder you are required by law to apply for a Tourist Visa in terms of Section 11(1)(b)(iv) of the Immigration Act of 2002.

You need to provide proof of marriage with a South African temporary residence visa holder. The Accompanying Spouse Visa is valid for a maximum of 3 years and can be renewed in the country.

Accompanying Child Visa

the Accompanying Child Visa allows a child to go to South Africa with his/her parent while the parent is on a business visa, work visa or any other visa in South Africa. The visa is usually valid for 2-3 years or depending on how long the main applicants visa is valid for.


Which Countries Can Travel To South Africa Without A Tourist Visa?

The passport holders of the following countries do not need to apply for a visitors visa to enter South Africa. The visa exempt countries are:

Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, San Merino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (Republic of China), Uruguay, United States of America (USA), Venezuela.


That's It!

Now that you know everything about the tourist visa, go on and apply! Go and enjoy the rich culture of Durban and the amazing view of table mountain in Capetown or any of the other wonders South Africa has to offer!

Written By: Laliq Schuman
Fact Checked By: Richard Nathan

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