Applying for a Study Visa in South Africa


A South African study visa allows a non-South African to reside in South Africa whilst studying at a South African institution of primary, secondary or tertiary education. A study visa can cover a range of educational disciplines and even include practical training as well as internships pertaining to the field of study in some cases.

What you need to know:

Study permits are valid for the duration of the course for which they are issued, alternatively 36 months for school and 24 months for other institutions. There have been instances where University honour students have been issued with a 48 month visa. 

As a non-South African studying at a higher educational institution with a valid study permit, you may work part-time for no more than 20 hours per week. However, you may not work during academic vacations.

The overriding consideration in processing applications for study permits are that:

  • No foreigner may displace a South African citizen/resident at a local educational institution
  • The student must have proof of sufficient funds to pay for day-to-day living expenses, accommodation as well as tuition fees during his/her stay in South Africa
  • The student must have adequate medical cover with a registered South African medical scheme and proof thereof

 What you need to have:

The following documents must be submitted with the BI-1738 application form:

  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover planned living expenses during the sojourn in the Republic and to also pay for the tuition fees. This should be in the form of bank statements, cash available, or travellers’ cheques
  • Proof of medical cover
  • In case of a foreign state accepting responsibility for the applicant in terms of a bilateral agreement, a written undertaking from such foreign state to pay for the departure of the applicant
  • Medical report
  • Radiology report
  • Unabridged birth certificate (in the case of a minor)
  • In the case of a minor, the particulars of the person in the Republic of South Africa who will act as the learner’s guardian and a letter from such person confirming guardianship
  • Consent from both parents for your stay in South Africa, or from the parent who has sole custody, along with proof of sole custody if the applicant is under 18.
  • An official letter from the educational institution, where you intend to study, confirming provisional acceptance and the duration of the course
  • Proof of medical cover renewed annually for the period of study with a medical scheme registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act
  • If you are 18 years and older, a police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years is required. This should be submitted with the application.