Visa Requirements for South African Citizens
Visa requirements for South African citizens are pre-established rules and regulations that determine what documents South African citizens will need to enter a foreign country.
Most countries still require South African passport holders to receive a visa from an embassy before arrival.
This can be inconvenient because the application process can require a lot of supporting documents and the processing time can even take up to several weeks. 26 destinations offer e-visa options for South African citizens traveling.
This makes visa processing easier as it only takes a few minutes to complete the online application process at home while approved documents are sent to the traveler's email address in PDF format.
29 countries allow South African passport holders to manage their visa upon arrival at one of the border checkpoints.
This process always requires preparation before arrival and can be stressful for travelers who don't like dealing with such important documents at the last minute.
The final type of entry for South African citizens is the easiest way to travel abroad: visa-free entry.
Currently, 58 destinations welcome South African passport holders without a visa. Detailed information on each visa/entry type for South African citizens traveling internationally is available below, along with a list of countries offering each visa/entry type.
Electronic visa or eVisa is a type of online travel permit that has been introduced by many countries to speed up visa processing as well as increase security by pre-screening all arriving visitors before they arrive.
List of countries offering eVisas for South African citizens
- Ivory Coast
- Papua New Guinea
- Sao Tome and Principe
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
26 countries, all listed above, offer South African citizens the option of an eVisa to use for international travel. To obtain an eVisa, South African passport holders must complete a quick and intuitive online application process consisting of three simple steps.
Most eVisa applications are approved by the foreign country within 72 hours and are then emailed to each traveler as a PDF file.
All that remains is to print the received file before departure. The issued eVisa serves as a short-term travel authorization document allowing the holder to stay abroad for 14, 30, 90 or even 120 days.
However, the most popular option is a 30-day stay. South African citizens traveling abroad with an eVisa can enjoy all leisure, business or transit-related activities, including:
- Going on vacation,
- Making visits to one’s friends and family,
- Attending business meetings, events, conferences, trade fairs, and seminars,
- Taking a layover while reaching another final destination.
Visa on Arrival
A visa on arrival is a short-term travel permit that can be issued once the visa application process is complete upon arrival at the chosen destination.
South African passport holders should be prepared to apply for a VoA before departure.
List of countries offering Visas on Arrival for South African citizens
- Cape Verde
- The Maldives
- The Marshall Islands
- Sierra Leone
- Sri Lanka
29 countries allow South African passport holders to apply for a visa upon arrival at one of the border checkpoints. To obtain a VoA, South African citizens must first check if there are any documents that need to be prepared for the registration process to be complete.
This must be done before departure. Then, upon arriving at their chosen destination, travelers should go straight to the nearest border checkpoint and request a visa application form at the border.
The form must be filled out with all required information and thoroughly checked for typos, errors or inaccurate information.
The completed application form along with the necessary supporting documents must be submitted to the border control point.
This may involve waiting in long queues and time spent processing official documents before being allowed entry into the chosen country. Additionally, some destinations may require VoA applicants to take additional steps, such as paying visa fees, which may need to be done in cash in local currency, or providing supporting documents additional. The issued VoA allows its holder to stay abroad for a short period of time, usually up to 30 or 90 days, for any reason related to leisure, business or transit.
An embassy visa is a regular visa that can be issued after a direct application is submitted to the appropriate embassy or consulate of the selected country to be visited.
Traditional visas come in paper form and often require applicants to provide multiple supporting documents to obtain the visa.
List of countries that require South African citizens to present a valid Embassy visa upon arrival
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- The Central African Republic
- The Republic of the Congo
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo
- The Czech Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- North Korea
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia
- The Solomon Islands
- The United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Vatican City
Currently, 90 countries require South African citizens to present a valid embassy visa upon arrival. This means that visiting these destinations must be done before applying for a visa at the embassy. It should be noted that this process can take up to several weeks depending on the specific destination. It is best to start applying in advance and check all applicable requirements in advance as they may vary between different categories, depending on the applicant’s nationality, etc.
Therefore, to apply for a visa issued by the embassy, you must first collect the necessary documents and fill out the application form with the necessary data. Double check that you have complete documentation and whether all data provided is free of errors.
Then, submit your application to the appropriate embassy or consulate, follow the next steps, such as paying the visa fee or completing the visa interview (if applicable), and Wait for your visa to be approved.
A visa issued by an embassy may allow its holder to stay abroad for short or long periods of time, depending on the specific visa type. In addition, some countries also issue embassy visas for the purpose of working, studying and even reuniting relatives abroad.
There are 58 destinations that South African citizens can visit without a visa.
This gives South African passport holders great freedom to travel internationally when visiting these countries.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- South Korea
- Trinidad and Tobago
Visa-free travel is the easiest way to explore abroad because the process requires little to no preparation.
What is usually required is simply a valid passport or valid ID, depending on the country chosen. Some destinations may require additional documentation to further confirm the purpose of the visit.
These documents may include proof of booking accommodation for their stay, proof of sufficient funds (e.g.
in the form of a bank statement) or a copy of their return ticket. Once arriving at their chosen destination, South African citizens can enjoy short-term stays for leisure, business or transit-related reasons.