How do I Apply?

Every country has the sovereign right to decide who may or may not enter its territory. Possession of a visa does not guarantee automatic admission to the Republic. It only authorizes the holder to proceed to the Republic to report to an immigration officer at a port of entry for the purpose of being examined as to his/her ability or otherwise, to comply with the (entry) requirements of the Act. 

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.
Visas are considered by the South African missions abroad and must be affixed in the applicants' passports before departing to the RSA. Visas are not issued on arrival at South African ports of entry. Applicants arriving without visas will be refused entry into the RSA and deported to their country of origin.
To find out if you require a visa and/or pay South African visa tariffs, please see the list of countries exempt from visa control

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

15. Bursary

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

Please contact the Embassy.


Duration and Purpose of Stay

The period of residence in the RSA will be determined from the applicant's date of admission to the Republic in accordance with any conditions that appear on the visa. On admission, the visa will be deemed to be a visitor's permit. Applicants must ensure that they request the full duration of their intended visits under item 28 of the application form, as renewals are subject to additional fees.

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

At the South African diplomatic or consular representative in the applicant's country of normal residence, which includes permanent residence and long-term temporary residence.
At the South African diplomatic or consular representative in the country of which the applicant validly holds a valid passport.
At the designated South African diplomatic or consular representative when a mission is not present in the applicant's country of residence.

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 [3] months)

A person wishing to receive medical treatment in the RSA must first apply for a visitor's visa at the nearest South African Mission, if he or she is subject to South African visa control. Foreigners who are exempt from South African visa control may enter for the period for which they are exempt, provided that it does not exceed three months.

Foreigners who require medical treatment for a period exceeding three months must apply for a medical treatment permit.
For more information, please check the Department of Home Affairs' Website: