Immigration Requirements: Advice for Families Travelling to South Africa

March 29th, 2017 by Melissa Mbazo Posted in General Information, Official News & Updates

South Africa is an ideal destination for families that enjoy travelling and exploring landscapes from pristine beaches to vineyards nestled between blue-grey mountains. Or maybe you’re a family that gets your thrills hiking, rock climbing, bungee jumping or game viewing? If you are a parent, maybe one of your travel considerations is that your children have the opportunity to engage in fun activities or enrol into a summer programme? You’re on the right track. South Africa is a spectacular destination with a selection of activities and pursuits for families and their children. 

However, you have to  make sure you get the paperwork right before you can appreciate South Africa’s charming diversity. There are some important things you need to know about South African immigration requirements. Make your travel experience to South Africa smooth sailing by noting our checklist:

South African immigration rules:

The South African visa and health requirements are determined by which country you are from, which means that they vary. It’s your responsibility to make sure that you have the correct documents and fulfil the correct requirements. Citizens of some countries are exempt from visa protocols and do not need one to enter South Africa. Take a look at this list to see if your country is listed and if not find out what you need.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, these are the requirements for entering SA:

South African immigration requirements

  • A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for your intended stay
  • At least one blank page in your passport for endorsements
  • A valid visa, if required
  • Sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay
  • A return or onward ticket
  • Yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belts of Africa or South America.

Documents required to apply for a visa

  • A passport or travel document valid for no fewer than 30 days after the expiry of your intended visit
  • Your passport must have at least TWO unused pages for entry/departure endorsements
  • A completed Form BI-84 (application for a visa)
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A yellow-fever vaccination certificate (if required)
  • Statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit
  • Two colour passport photographs
  • A return or onward ticket if you are travelling by air

If you have children (minors) travelling with you

  • Proof of guardianship or custody or
  • Consent from the guardian in the case of an unaccompanied minor
  • Proof of financial means to pay for your living expenses while in South Africa in the form of:
  • Bank statements
  • Salary advances/pay slips
  • Undertakings by the host(s) in South Africa
  • Bursary/education entry letter
  • Medical cover or
  •  Cash available (including credit cards and traveller’s cheques)

We hope this helps you with your plan to make the next summer holiday experience a South African adventure for you and your family. If you are sending your children to South Africa unaccompanied please check back here for our South African immigration checklist especially designed for minors travelling alone.

Summer programmes for teens: Children always want to have their own fun things to do outside of collective family activities, especially teenagers. If you are planning to travel to South Africa in the summer, you can sign up your teen for exciting summer programmes such as the African Leadership Academy summer camp. Attending a summer programme is a fantastic way for your teen to pursue new interests, learn new skills, improve existing skills, and make new friends. Find out more here.