How to get a student visa for South Africa
Searching for a student visa for South Africa? Source: Shutterstock

For international students everywhere, South Africa (SA) offers serene landscapes, vivacious cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg, and delicious Braai barbeques.

The launch of the Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018 programme in Soweto, has driven a sharp increase in South African tourism.

Voted one of the Top 10 countries to visit this year by Lonely Planet (2018)it’s certainly a country worth considering for your studies.

Celebration time in SA! Source: Giphy

If you’ve got your eye on one of South Africa’s many universities but are concerned about the crucial student visa process, Study International have got you covered!

According to the South African Department of Home Affairs, you can apply for a study visa by completing the BI-1738 Form.

If your chosen institution has not informed you already, the visa must be applied for at a VFS Centre near your study destination or at your nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.

What will I need to bring for my visa application?

Alongside the BI-1738 form you’ve filled out, you’ll also need to bring:

  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • Means to pay the visa application fee
  • A vaccination certificate (if required)
  • An official letter from the institution where you intend to study
  • Consent from both parents for your stay in South Africa, or from the parent who has sole custody, along with proof of sole custody
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of medical cover renewed annually for the period of study with a medical scheme registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act
  • If you’re 18 years or older, a police clearance certificate from each country in which you have lived for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years is required
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket
  • The particulars of the person in the Republic of South Africa who will act as your guardian and a letter from such person confirming guardianship
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • Proof that you can cover living expenses throughout your studies in the form of bank statements, cash available or traveller’s cheques

Also, in the case of African students, the Department of Home Affairs also requires an undertaking from the relevant government to take full responsibility of the student and pay all costs in case the student should ever need to be deported.

Is it possible to work with my study visa?

Of course, many students want to financially support their studies by taking a temporary job and earning extra cash on the side.

What’s great about studying in South Africa with this study visa is that you’re permitted to conduct part-time work, so long as it doesn’t exceed 20 hours per week.

The department expects you to have proof of sufficient funds and evidence that you can pay for your day-to-day living expenses. Without this clarification, it may not be possible to proceed with your studies in South Africa.

Start getting that extra Rand! Source: Giphy

Is there anything else I should know?

It’s wise to remember that this process could take up to eight weeks. As such, it’s wise to start your study visa application as soon as possible! The earlier, the better. Normally, students begin as soon as they gain admittance to their respective university.

Apart from that, enjoy your study adventure in the incredible country of South Africa. Check out the SA Department of Home Affairs website for more info!

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