South Africa is probably on everyone’s bucket list. They have a rich and dynamic culture, friendly people and picturesque landscapes. Who wouldn’t want to see the massive houses standing on a towering cliff in Knysna or see the Big 5: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalos including hundred of mammals and bird species in Kruger National Park?
Well I have a good news: Getting a visa can be done in 3 easy steps! Bad news is: Visa approval isn’t guaranteed (as usual)-- so you better be meticulous in completing your requirements.
WHEN AND WHERE TO GET THE TOURIST VISA FOR SOUTH AFRICA
Within 5 business days, you can already get your visa for South Africa. But as always, it is not recommended. I suggest you get it at least 3 weeks before your flight. (You cannot apply earlier than 4 weeks prior to your intended flight). Visa Application is coursed through VFS Global, South Africa Visa Application Centre, Ground Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg., Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati City. (Not the embassy anymore!)
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS IN APPLYING FOR SOUTH AFRICAN TOURIST VISA
Please do note that I used the word ‘REQUIRED’ here. This means that if you can’t furnish all of these (unless not applicable to you), your visa application won’t be processed by VFS Global.
A. Passport. Valid for at least 30 days after the intended stay/departure date from South Africa with at least two unused/blank visa pages. Copies of the bio-data page shall also be provided;
B. 2 Passport Size Photos. Taken within the last 30 days;
C. Duly Filled Out Application Form (DHA-84). Use black ink and block letters. It must be signed by the applicant and the signature should match the signature on the passport;
D. Vaccination certificate for yellow fever;
E. Proof of financial capability. Bank statement within the last 3 months, certified by the bank and not older than 7 days from the time of application; (Always keep the receipt as they might ask for it). It is also suggested that you provide copies of your Employment Certificate and ITR (If employed), Business Permits (If you own a business), School Records (If a student), Copies of your Land/Condominium/Car Title/s or Registration (if any);
F. Travel details. Provide them with your flight reservation details, hotel reservations, and suggested day-to-day itinerary. (These documents were asked before but it’s not clear if they are still requiring it. Just prepare it nevertheless. DO NOT PAY FOR THE BOOKINGS YET. A MERE RESERVATION WILL DO)
G. Cover Letter. State the name, passport number, duration of visit, and the name of the person who will bear the expenses of the trip (if not the applicant himself). It must contain the physical address and applicant’s signature. If you have a representative, put his/her contact details and the designation.
H. Invitation Letter. Only if invited by a South African national. It must be duly signed by him/her; and
I. Copy of Marriage Certificate. If married. You should also bring the original copy for verification purposes.
STEP-BY-STEP PROCEDURE ON HOW TO APPLY FOR A SOUTH AFRICAN TOURIST VISA
STEP 1: Complete the documents. Make sure everything is in order and fill out the application form truthfully and legibly.
STEP 2: Submit it to VFS Global, South Africa Visa Application Centre, Ground Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg., Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati City. It shall be submitted by individual applicants from Monday-Friday from 7-11:30 AM and 1-4:30PM, while those done by authorized representatives are from 7-11AM and 1-4PM.
STEP 3: Pay the visa processing fees (free if you’re staying for less than 30 days and Php 2,525 for 30 days and beyond), VFS Service Fee (Php 2,000), Courier (Php 370 but optional) and wait for the release.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT APPLYING FOR SOUTH AFRICA TOURIST VISA
1) Do I need to have a ‘show money’?
Definitely as one of the requirements is a bank certificate. However, it is not clear how much should be in your account. Make sure you have enough to cover your accommodation, flight and day-to-day expenses.
2) What if my visa gets denied?
You can always re-apply although it is not clear if they have a limit. But this time, make sure to determine all the red flags which caused the denial and do not make the same things again. (I’m not sure if appeal is possible. Please confirm with VFS Global)
3) Can a representative pick-up my passport?
Yes! But he has to have the Official receipt, Copy of your valid ID, Signed authorization letter with complete details, and his Original valid ID.
4) I have a valid U.S. Visa. Do I still need to apply for a Visit Visa to South Africa?
5) I forgot to attach a document in my application. Is there a way that I can send them after I have already submitted my application?
No, unless they specifically ask for it (which I think is unlikely!). This is the reason why you have to go through your documents and make sure you don’t leave anything behind.
6) Can I apply for a Multiple Entry Visa?
Yes. But you must provide a motivational letter stating the reasons/justification for your request. Please also provide flight/travel reser
vation documentation, hotel reservations (need not be paid) and details of full travel itinerary. You must also provide visas to all countries of intended visit for the current trip, original and copies. (i.e. If you’re traveling to Botswana, you must show your visa or the proof that you have applied for that visa). Alternatively, if you do not require a visa to any of the neighboring countries, please provide proof of exemption.
7) Is the grant of a Multiple Entry Visa guaranteed?
No. Although applicants may request a multiple entry visa, the decision to grant the same is not guaranteed and is at the sole discretion of the Embassy of South Africa. (You may still be given a Single Entry Visa or none at all)
8) Is there any other case where I can apply for a Multiple Entry Visa?
Yes. Applicants travelling more than once a year to South Africa may apply for a Multiple Entry Visa which is valid for up to 3 Years.
9) How much do you think should I have for my trip around South Africa?
Around 60 USD/day will be enough. You can get a pretty decent meal for 10 USD. But this budget is only for your daily expenses and it excludes your flight, hotels, and tours.
10) Do I need to have a travel insurance?
It is not mandatory but I always recommend getting one. You’ll never know what will happen along the road so getting one is a MUST for me. Mabuti na ang sigurado! I highly recommend the insurance offered by World Nomads :)
11) Is it advisable to avail of the services of a tour agency?
For me, it doesn’t make any difference if you avail of their services. I got ALL my visas without their assistance. I did it all by myself! Aside from being very expensive, it doesn’t guarantee the approval. It’s always up to you and the documents you have submitted that matters.
Please do note that the Visa Application Tips that I am posting are all for free. But if you need a little more assistance, I can give you a one-on-one travel coaching for a minimal fee-- it’s a lot cheaper than getting it through a travel agency. Together, we can go through your documents, fill in what’s missing, practice for the interview, and work together for you to get that visa!
Despite all the visa application challenges with my Philippines Passport, I did everything on my own, and I’m now on the way to my 100th country-- so I’m sure you can trust me with this one!
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