In order to enter the borders of South Africa, foreigners who are neither South African citizens nor permanent residents, must be in possession of a visa enabling them to enter South Africa.
Certain countries are visa restricted while others are visa exempt.
Visa exempt countries are issued pot of entry (or short term visitor visas) upon entry into South Africa valid for 30 – 90 days at a time. These visas are issued free of charge and may as a general rule, subject to certain requirements, be extended for a further 30 – 90 days while in South Africa.
Visa restricted countries are required to apply for these short term entry/visitor visas at the South African Embassy, Consulate or High Commission operating in their country of origin or place of ordinary residence. These visas may also be issued for a period of up to 90 days and valid for multiple entries. A non-refundable fee is payable to the South African mission for this visa. If a VFS (Visa Facilitation) Centre operates in the relevant country, the visa application is submitted to this VFS office and an addition service fee is charged by the VFS office in addition to the prescribed application fee.
As a general rule, and subject to certain conditions, visitor visas issued in respect of visa restricted countries may also be renewed for a further 30 – 90 days while in South Africa.
Each entry visa may only be extended once while in South Africa.
The general rule is that the holder of a visitor visa (or medical treatment visa) may not change status and/or conditions while in South Africa.