The purpose of a visa on the one hand is to ensure proper screening of applicants so that undesirable persons are not admitted to the Republic and on the other hand to facilitate the entry of approved applicants at South African ports of entry. Visas provide immigration officers with the necessary information to ensure that applicants are admitted for the correct purpose and period into the RSA.
Portuguese citizens, travelling with Portuguese passports do not require a visa if the intended visit to South Africa is for 90 day or less. Any queries relating to visas are handled by the Consular Section of the South African Embassy in Lisbon or either the Honorary Consulate in Funchal, Madeira or Porto, whichever is the closest one situated to you.
Documents required to apply for a visa
1. A passport or travel document valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of your intended visit
2. Your passport must have at least one unused page for entry / departure endorsements
3. A completed Form BI-84 (application for a visa)
4. Payment of the prescribed fee (cash and postal orders only - no cheques accepted)
5. A yellow-fever vaccination certificate (if required)
6. Statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit
7. Two colour passport photographs
8. A return or onward ticket if you are travelling by air
9. If you have children (minors) travelling with you or joining in South Africa, you will need to provide the following additional documents
10. Proof of guardianship or custody or
11. Consent from the guardian in the case of an unaccompanied minor
12. Proof of financial means to pay for your living expenses while in South Africa in the form of:
13. 3 months bank statements
14. Undertakings by the host(s) in South Africa
16. Medical cover or
17. Cash available (including credit cards and travellers’ cheques)
Remember, you have to submit your visa application in person at the South African Embassy in Lisbon. You cannot ask anyone else (such as a travel agent or courier services or another family member) to submit the application on your behalf.
Requirements for entering South Africa
You will need the following if you wish to visit South Africa:
1. A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for your intended stay
2. At least one blank page in your passport for endorsements
3. A valid visa, if required
4. Sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay
5. A return or onward ticket
6. Yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.
Persons in Transit
Duration and Purpose of Stay
Applicants must also ensure that they apply for the correct visa (transit or visitor's) or temporary residence permit reflecting the true purpose of the visit, as any changes in the purpose of stay will only be approved in the RSA for good cause and if the requirements of the Act are complied with.
If the purpose of the visit is in respect of sabbatical; voluntary or charitable activities; research; joining or accompanying a spouse who is on a temporary permit in the Republic; work related activities for which a permit is not prescribed or visits that are longer than three months, the requirements prescribed under visitor's permit must be met.
Any applicant allowed entry into South Africa due to any misrepresentation, or false declaration on the application form or who sojourns in the Republic in contravention of his/her visa/permit conditions shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment as an illegal foreigner.
Where to Apply for a South African Visa
Applications lodged at a place other than the above may be referred by the consular officer to the above offices which will imply a longer processing time.
Visas CANNOT be applied for at South African ports of entry.
Medical Visas (visitor's visas for medical treatment of less than three  months)
Foreigners who require medical treatment for a period exceeding three months must apply for a medical treatment permit.