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Study Visas 

If you are a foreign student and wish to study in South Africa you can apply for a study visa by completing Form BI-1738. Study visas must be applied for at VFS Centre across the country near the educational institution you will be studying at or at the nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad. Study visas for studies at a learning institution shall be issued other than a school shall be issued for the duration of course registered for. Study visas for learning institutions defined as a school shall be valid for the duration of the study: provided the duration shall not exceed eight years at a primary school and 6 years at a secondary school.

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 vaccination certificate, if required by the Act

  • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged 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 

  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket.

  • In the case of African students, an undertaking from the relevant government to take full responsibility of the student and to pay all costs, should it become necessary to deport the student 

  • Medical and radiology reports 

  • An unabridged birth certificate in the case of minors. 

  • 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

  • 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 

The holder of a study visa may conduct part-time work for a period not exceeding 20 hours per week. 

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 


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