Who requires a visa?
Not everyone wishing to travel to South Africa needs to have a visa. Whether or not you need one depends on how long you want to spend in South Africa and for what purpose.
Listed below are countries whose passport holders are allowed to be in South Africa either for 90 days or 30 days without a visa. If you cannot find your country in the lists, you will need to apply for a visa at least four weeks BEFORE arriving in South Africa, as visas are not issued at ports of entry in South Africa. In other words, if you need to have a visa and you arrive in South Africa without one, you will be sent back to your country of origin immediately.
FINALISE YOUR VISA BEFORE YOU ARRIVE.
Passport holders of the following countries may remain in South Africa for up to 90 days without a visa.
United States of America
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
African Union Laissez Passer
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Tanzania (90 days per year)
British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man and Virgin Islands.
Republic of Ireland
British Oversees Territories who are in possession of British passports
namely: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean
Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands,
Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island,
Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha), Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and
Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus South Georgia and
South Sandwich Islands and the Turks and Caicos Island.
Passport holders of the following countries may remain in South Africa for 30 days without a visa.
Antigua and Barbuda
Hong Kong [only with regard to holders of Hong Kong British National Overseas passports and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports]
Macau [only with regard to holders of Macau Special Administrative Region passports (MSAR)]
As stated above, if you cannot find your country in these lists, you need to finalise your visa BEFORE arriving in South Africa. Click here to learn how to apply for your visa.
Passport holders of the following countries qualify for visa exemption if they are diplomatic or service passport holders. The period of days in brackets indicates how long they may remain in South Africa without a visa.
Albania (120 days)
Algeria (30 days)
Angola (90 days)
Belarus (90 days)
Bulgaria (90 days)
Cyprus (90 days)
Comoros (90 days)
China (PROC) (30 days) (only Diplomatic passport holders)
Croatia (90 days)
Egypt (30 days)
Guinea (90 days)
Hungary (120 days)
Ivory Coast (30 days)
Kenya (30 days)
Mexico (90 days)
Madagascar (30 days)
Morocco (30 days)
Mozambique (90 days)
Paraguay (120 days)
Poland (90 days)
Russian Federation (90 days)
Romania (90 days)
Rwanda (30 days)
Slovak (90 days)
Slovenia (120 days)
Tanzania (90 days)
Thailand (90 days)
Tunisia (90 days)
Vietnam (90 days)
General visa exemptions
Commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers are exempt, as long as they
- enter South Africa from Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi
- spend less than 15 days in South Africa
- are able to produce on demand a letter of employment issued by a transport company
The same principle applies to Zimbabwean commercial heavy-duty truck drivers, except that their time in South Africa may not exceed 30 days at a time. This does not apply to commercial heavy-duty truck drivers who transport goods for a South African transport company. Such drivers must be in possession of a valid South African work permit.
Staff members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are exempt if they are
- travelling on SADC laissez-passers
- travelling on bona fide official business
- staying for 90 days or less, or are in transit
Holders of United Nations (UN) laissez-passers are exempt, if they are
- visiting South Africa for 90 days or less
- visiting the country for official business purposes
- in transit
- are accredited for placement at a UN mission in South Africa for the duration of their accreditation
- are volunteers attached to UN agencies and travelling on ordinary passports, provided they are in possession of relevant letters or identification documents to identify themselves at ports of entry as personnel of an UN agency.
The exemption on UN staff therefore applies to
- Holders of UN laissez-passers
- UN volunteers
- Persons involved in any UN agency
- Persons performing services on behalf of the UN
Members of military forces attending any military related matters with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) are exempt from visa and study permit requirements, regardless of how long they are going to be in South Africa, as long as they have a letter of invitation from the SANDF, in addition to a letter of consent issued by the military force of which they are members.
For any further question/s, please use the contact form below: