After identifying the top universities in South Africa, we will talk in this article about how to get a study visa in South Africa.
All the foreign students, who have a permanent residence outside the country and are not citizens, must get a study visa after getting accepted to a South African university. Upon receiving the visa, the student will get official permission to reside in South Africa.
To start the visa process, you have, first, to submit your application to the nearest South African embassy, consulate, or high commission. Since this procedure might take up to eight weeks, it is better to start your application as soon as possible. This process should start upon gaining admittance to a university.
Check our article about the top universities in South Africa.
Qualifying for a Study Visa
To study in South Africa, the student must gain acceptance (or provisionally accepted) in a specific school.
The letter of acceptance attests the student’s acceptance. It must be on the school’s letterhead and signed by or on behalf of the registrar or principal.
The concerned educational institution will be strictly responsible for the visa holder’s compliance with the Immigration Act.
The following forms a part of the school’s responsibilities towards the Department of Home Affairs:
- The confirmation of the student’s registration must be within 60 days after the registration closing date.
- It must inform the Department of Home affairs within 7 days if the student fails to register at the registration closing date.
- The department of Home Affairs must be notified immediately if the student is deregistered or expelled.
- It must inform the Department of Home Affairs if the student completes his/her studies or wants to extend the study duration in the institution.
The applicant should have medical coverage by the medical aid in South Africa for the whole study duration. Some high commissions abroad accept foreign medical aid and travel insurance policies instead of the medical aids in South Africa. But this is the exception rather than the rule.
South Africa Study Visa Requirements
To successfully apply for a student visa in South Africa, you need to provide the following:
- Valid Passport
- Proof of application payment
- Acceptance letter from a university, with the course duration
- Confirmation of Registration
- Police clearance certificate issued by a security authority in the country from which a student is applying
- Yellow fever vaccination certificate, if the student has or intends to travel through a yellow fever endemic area
- Proof of necessary financials during the student’s stay in South Africa
- Proof of medical coverage
- Marital status documents, when applicable
There is no limit on the number of times for study visa renewal in South Africa.
Study Visa Duration
The study visa validity can last for the applicant’s whole study duration in the concerned educational institution.
If the student changes schools, he/she must apply for a new study visa. Although the study visas cover for the whole study duration, the maximum period is 8 years of primary school education and 6 years for secondary education.
Regarding higher education, the visa duration is only limited to the duration of the degree, diploma, or certificate.
How long does it take for the South African Study Visa to process ?
The processing time of the study visa application in South Africa ranges between 4 and 8 weeks. Moreover, the processing time for a study visa application submitted at a foreign mission abroad differs depending on the concerned high commission and the time of the year.
The most common reason for the delay in the visa application is incomplete or missing documents. It is not the authority of the Department of Home Affairs who processes the applications or advises on applications.
How much bank balance is required for a South Africa Study Visa?
There are no financial requirements set to get a student visa. But, the Department of Home Affairs has a policy under which the applicant must have access to R3,000 monthly during the whole study period. If the study duration is one year, the student has to have access to R36,000.
Can you work on a study visa in South Africa?
International students on a study visa can work only part-time for up to 20 hours per week in South Africa, and only at a tertiary level. That means they have to undertake the courses and degrees they applied for in a South African university as their primary activity.
If they need to work for more than the 20 hours maximum required, they have to apply for a work permit. In addition, a study visa doesn’t allow students to run a business in South Africa.
Lastly, students have to attend courses at the institution they applied for a visa for. If they want to study in another university, they have to apply for a new study visa. They can do it from within South Africa.