How to Apply for a South African Visa in Nigeria

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Nigerians require a visa to visit South Africa (except in cases of dual nationality from visa-exempt countries). For a successful application, your international passport and other travel documents should cover the period you intend to stay in the country. You have to get the yellow fever certificate, have sufficient funds for your upkeep and set aside a reasonable amount for booking a return flight ticket.

No matter how familiar visa applications get, it’s quite difficult to wash, rinse, repeat. You have to put in some effort. Know the requirement unique to the country. Be aware of the steps to take to justify your purpose to the embassy. Be desirous, optimistic and, as well, willing to endure the anxiety of possible rejection.

A visa shows that the embassy or consular office decided that your purpose for visiting the country is justified (it serves as a permit). So how do you go about procuring one?

how to apply for a South African visa
Different nationalities at a roadside shop in Cape Town

What type of visa do I require to visit South Africa?

You have to be sure you’re applying for the right visa with regards to your travel needs. It’s important you pay attention to details as your requirements may be different from mine.

A visitors visa would do if you’re visiting South Africa for short-term purposes. This includes, but not limited to, visiting family or friends, touring the Wineland, short business trips, joining a spouse, who may possibly be an expatriate, for short study purposes (not longer than the visa grants), attending a conference, shooting a music video, movie or attending a show, for medical purposes or sporting events.

Otherwise, you need a long-term visa (this could be Work or Study Visas). Holders of the student visa, unlike the visit visa, can get a job. This blog post; however, covers how to apply for a visit, business and work visa.

The e-Visa: The Department of Home Affairs has begun testing the e-Visa. South Africa plans to introduce electronic visas later this year (where you apply online and it’s mailed to successful applicants to be presented at the POE). This visa category is expected to serve “companies sponsoring employees with critical skills, as well as for tourist visitors”. Remember to join our mailing list to know about the modalities when it’s fully rolled out.

 

The Visitors’ Visa

South Africa visitors’ and tourism visas allow a maximum of 90 days (3 months) stay and can only be issued by the country’s embassy or consular office. It also covers people visiting for medical treatment and entertainment purposes but with additional requirements (such as a letter from a medical practitioner and a request for authorisation to work on the visitor’s visa respectively).

Non-South African citizens carrying the visitors’ visa may not switch to a temporary residence permit. Applications for temporary residence permits are done separately.

Step by Step Application Process

NB

    : Applicants are required to submit their applications (and collect visa, where successful) personally at the VFS South Africa Visa Application centres

  • Print out BI-84 application form on the website
  • Fill the Application form in block letters (Use a black ink with no alteration)
  • Pay your visa application fee and services fee with POS at the bank teller counter at the Visa Application Centre
South Africa visitor visa general requirement
  • A valid passport (validity of at least 30 days after the intended stay)
  • Colour copy of passport data page as well as copies of existing visas and previously issued visas
  • Self – introduction letter with a physical address and phone number
  • Introduction/Recommendation letter from an employer, where applicable, signed with contact details
  • Verifiable hotel reservation/bookings – must be done directly with the hotels and not through third parties
  • Copy of an international vaccination card (yellow fever card), fully completed by a health practitioner
  • Proof of financial status (six months recent bank statements) or financial support letter from employer with six months bank statements in a case where the employer is sponsoring the trip
  • Applicants travelling on official business should attach a letter of invitation/confirmation of training/conference, etc. from the relevant South African company with full details of the company’s authorised representative, physical address and phone numbers (landline number compulsory) must be included
  • Birth certificate for minors/children travelling with parents. Where applicable, a consent letter with copies of the parents’ identification card/passport data page, which should be attached to the application
  • Marriage certificate
  • Verifiable Flight Booking
  • Certificate of Incorporation (Company owners)
  • Six months’ payslip (if applicable)
  • Visa Fee is payable at the Embassy
Processing Time: The Department of Home Affairs announced in July that it’s doubling the number of staff who process visas for Nigerians in 2019. Hopefully, processing time for SA visitors’ visa should be earlier than the current 6 working days by the end of 2020.

 

Visitors’ visa for medical purpose

The visitors’ visa could also be issued for people visiting SA for medical purposes not expected to extend beyond 90 days. There’s no deying entry into the country (even without a visa) where an emergency patient is flown on an emergency flight into South Africa. Immigration officers will facilitate such entry without appying clearance procedures.

However, the airline or whoever is in charge of the personal emergency flight (the pilot) must report the entry and the patient asap to the office of the Department of Home Affairs.
An immigration officer will visit the patient and issue the necessary medical permit (where appropriate). Where the patient doesn’t have a valid international passport, he/she would get a permit that approves of his or her stay throughout 
hospitalisation.

Visitors’ visa for medical purposes requirement

NB

    : Apply for a temporary residence permit if you require medical treatment for a period of 90 days and beyond.

  • Include a letter from a medical practitioner or medical institution, indicating the nature of the ailment, the reason/ necessity for treatment, the period of treatment and particulars of the appointment(s) made in South Africa
  • Include full details of the person or institution covering the medical expenses and hospital fees. Where a medical scheme or your employer will be responsible, proof of medical cover must be submitted

Do you know how to book cheap flight tickets?

Visitors’ visa for entertainers
how to apply for a South African visa
How to apply for a South African Visa: Kitcheners, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Nigerians visiting South Africa with the intention to work briefly – for not longer than six months – can submit an application for the visitors’ visa and request for permission to work on the visitor’s visa at the nearest South African embassy or consular office. Entertainers (movie producers) looking to visit South Africa for film production may – at some point – require such authorisation from the embassy. Such visa – if approved – will be endorsed to allow you to stay and work for between 30 and 
90 days.

Temporary Residence Permit

Long Term Visas for Academics, Business Travellers from African Countries (such as intra-company transfer), medical treatments (that should last beyond 6 months) would normally carry a temporary residence permit.

Application Process
  • Print out BI-1738 application form here
  • Fill the Application form in block letters (Use a black ink with no alteration)
  • Pay your visa application fee and services fee with POS at the bank teller counter at the Visa Application Centre
Business Visa
how to apply for a South African visa
Sleeping on duty: Typical roadside arts & Crafts in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa

Nigerians planning on establishing a business or investing in an existing business in South Africa are expected to apply for a business visa. Applicants are expected to have invested a certain amount of money in an identified business. You’re expected to submit a duly completed copy of the long-term visa form (above), along with a certificate issued by a chartered accountant registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants as long as you meet the following requirements:

South Africa business visa requirement
    • At least an amount in cash to be invested in South Africa as determined from time to time by the Minister, after consultation with the Minister of Trade and Industry or
    • At least an amount in cash and a capital contribution as determined from time to time by the Minister, is available
    • An undertaking by the applicant that at least 60% of the total staff complement to be employed in the operations shall be South African Citizens or permanent residents, permanently employed in various positions
    • An undertaking to register with:
      • The South African Revenue Service
      • Unemployment Insurance Fund
      • Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries
      • Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission, where legally required and
      • Relevant professional body, board or council recognized by SAQA, where applicable
    • A police clearance certificate from each country where you resided since the age of 18 years, including the Republic of South Africa 
A letter of recommendation from the Department of Trade and Industry regarding:
      • the feasibility of the business
      • and the contribution to the national interest of the country.
      • A yellow fever vaccination certificate. Medical and radiology reports
Business visa application for existing businesses require
      • Financial statements for the preceding financial year
      • The contribution to the national interest of South Africa

 

Work visa

South Africa only issue work visas to foreigners in rare cases where there are no available nationals to take up an available vacancy. The duration of this sort of visa depends on the nature of the contract with your employer (which mustn’t exceed 5 years).

Duration of SA Work visas depends on the type applied for: Critcal skills, Intra-company transfer or Corporate Visas. Work visa applications are lodged through Visa Facilitation Services Centres(VFS) in Nigeria or nearest South African embassy or consulate.

South Africa general work visa requirement
      • A duly completed application form signed by yourself, the applicant
      • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
      • Payment of the prescribed fee
      • A vaccination certificate (if required by the Act)
      • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses in South Africa until the applicant receives a salary. This should be in the form of:
        • bank statements
        • cash available,
        • or travellers’ cheques
      • Medical and radiology reports
      • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the aHow to Apply for a Canadian Visage of 18 years
      • A written undertaking by the employer accepting responsibility for the costs related to the deportation of the applicant and his/ her dependent family members, should it become necessary
      • An application for a general work visa shall be accompanied by:
      • A certificate from the Department of Labour
      • Proof of qualifications evaluated by SAQA and translated by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of South Africa
      • A contract of employment signed by both yourself and the employer
      • Full particulars of the employer including proof of registration with the Registrar of Companies
      • An undertaking by the employer to inform the Director- General upon the employee no longer being in the employ of such employer or when employed in a different capacity or role
      • All required documentation for a spouse and/or children if they intend to accompany you

 

Critcal skills work Visa

This is the very rare work visa type earlier discussed. Where it’s been determined that in the whole of South Africa, there’s noone suitable for an opening but a foreigner.

South Africa critcal skills work visa requirements
      • A duly completed application form signed by yourself, the applicant.
      • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of 
Payment of the prescribed fee
      • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
      • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses in South Africa until you receive a salary. This should be in the form of:
        • bank statements
        • cash available,
        • or travellers’ cheques
      • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return or an undertaking from the employer
      • Medical and radiology reports
      • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
      • Proof of application for a certificate of registration with the accredited professional body, council or board recognized by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)
      • Proof of evaluation of the foreign qualification(s) by SAQA translated by a sworn translator into one of the official South African languages
      • Proof of employment within 12 months after obtaining a Critical skills work visa in the form of an employment contract specifying the occupation and capacity in which the foreigner shall be employed

 

Intra-company Transfer Work Visa
how to apply for a South African visa
How to apply for South African Visa: Satellite dish on every window in a storied-building housing estate in Angola.
    • When multi-national companies choose to ‘whisk’ a hard-working staff from one country to another, the loyal employee could request for this type of visa. Where successful, the visa cannot be issued for periods beyond 4 years. No proof of steps taken to obtain the services of a South African citizen/permanent residence will be required in this case.
South Africa intra-company transfer work visa requirements
  • A duly completed application form signed by yourself, the applicant
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses in South Africa until you receive a salary. This should be in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available,
    • or travellers’ cheques
  • A cash deposit of equivalent value to a return ticket
  • An employment contract with the company abroad
  • A letter from the employer/company abroad confirming that you will be transferred to a branch/affiliate company in South Africa
  • A letter from the South African company where you will work, confirming the transfer from the parent/affiliated company abroad. This letter should specify the occupation and capacity in which you will be employed and should also confirm that the maximum duration of employment will not exceed 4 years
  • An undertaking by the employer:
    • that you will leave South Africa once the 4-year period comes to an end confirming that your passport is valid
    • that you will be employed in the position for which the permit is issued
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • All required documentation for a spouse and/or children if they intend to accompany you
Corporate Visas

This type of visa allows a corporate body to employ a certain number of skilled/semi-skilled/unskilled workers.

South Africa corporate visa requirements
  • Submit duly completed application forms signed by the applicants
  • Provide a corroborated statement demonstrating the need to employ foreign workers and the number of foreigners to be employed
  • A certificate by the Department of Labour
  • Proof of registration of the corporation with the:
  • The South African Revenue Service
  • Unemployment Insurance Fund
  • Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries
  • Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission, where legally required
  • The applicant for a corporate visa must provide proof that at least 60% of the total staff complement that is employed are citizens and permanent residents employed permanently in various positions.
  • Provide a job description and remuneration for each foreign worker
  • An undertaking to ensure that:
  • the foreigner workers have valid passports 
the foreign workers will be employed only in the specific positions for which the visa are issued 
the foreign workers will leave South Africa on completion of their duties
  • A cash deposit or guarantee for the foreign workers may be payable by the corporate entity or by the workers in the case of skilled workers

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