Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Visa?

    A Visa is an authorization issued by the representative of the Government of a country permitting a person, not resident in that country, to enter its boundaries.

  • How do I know if I need a visa?

    Depending on your purpose of travel, you should log on to the website of the South African High Commission to check whether you are eligible or require a visa. Please visit http://www.southafricahouseuk.com/index.html

  • How can I contact the South Africa Visa Application Centre?

    You can contact the South Africa Visa Application Centre via the helpline, by email or in person (Please note it is not necessary to book an appointment to come to the visa centre to make an enquiry). Please see our contact information section for details. Kindly note that the helpline is meant for general enquiries – for more specialized questions, please email us using the address on our contact information page.

  • How soon/early can I apply for my visa?

    For Short-Stay visas (less than 3 months) you should apply no more than 4 weeks in advance of your intended travel date. For Long-Stay visas (more than 3 months) you should apply no more than 9 weeks in advance of your intended travel date. For more information please check the processing time section of your chosen category of visa.

  • Can the South Africa Visa Application Centre prepare my application for me?

    The South Africa Visa Application Centre does not prepare visa applications, but accepts and processes complete applications in accordance with the South African High Commission’s instructions.

  • I do not live in the UK and Northern Ireland; can I apply for my South Africa visa from the South Africa Visa Application Centre in London?

    The South Africa Visa Application Centres in London, Manchester and Edinburgh are available only for applicants who are officially resident in the UK and Northern Ireland.

  • How do I submit my application at the Application Centre?

    Applicants must book an appointment to submit your application — please go to the How To Apply page for details.

  • Do I have to come in person or can I send the application to the South Africa Visa Application Centre?

    You must come in person to submit your visa application. For passport collection, you can send an immediate member of your family if you are unable to collect in person. A letter of authorization by you and proof of relationship will be required to allow your relative to collect on your behalf.

  • What is the application procedure at the South Africa Visa Application Centre?

    Please go to the How To Apply page for details. When arriving at the visa application centre, you will need to show your appointment confirmation letter at reception. You will then be issued a token and directed to the waiting area. You will next be called to our submission counter where your application and supporting documents will be scrutinized, and your photograph and passport checked for validity.

    Finally, you will be issued a receipt for the fees and service charge paid as an acknowledgement of the transaction.

    Applicants requiring special physical assistance are requested to contact our helpline prior to visiting our centre so that appropriate support can be offered. Please note that only applicants and carers/assistants will be permitted to enter the Visa Application Centre.

  • We strongly recommend that you pay careful attention to the Overview, Documents Required and Processing Time sections of your chosen visa category, before proceeding with your application.
  • Please be aware that all decisions regarding the issuance of, number of entries and duration of a visa are at the sole discretion of the embassy, and it is not guaranteed that the embassy will grant your request.
  • Please note applicants should be aware of the processing time for their chosen category of visa and apply accordingly. Please also note that all processing times are minimum as stated, and in some cases may take longer.
  • Which visa [category] should I apply for?

    The South Africa Visa Application Centre is an acceptance centre and, as such is not authorized to advise/recommend any visa type to a prospective applicant. The Applicant will need to ascertain the visa category he/she is eligible for based on the purpose of travel. He/she can do so by checking our website under the “Visa Type” tab.

  • What are the documents required for a South Africa Visa?

    After ascertaining the eligible visa category, applicants should go the ‘documents required’ tab of the relevant visa category chosen, to check the documents required... Certified photocopies are recommended (for bank statements, stamp or verification letter from the bank), as submitted documents will not be returned. Submit originals only where specified.

  • When should I apply for my visa? What is the earliest date?

    For Short-Stay visas (less than 3 months) you should apply no more than 4 weeks in advance of your intended travel date. For Long-Stay visas (more than 3 months) you should apply no more than 9 weeks in advance of your intended travel date.

  • I have a passport that was issued more than 10 years ago; can I still apply for my visa?

    A visa cannot be issued on a passport that was issued more than 10 years ago. This also applies to passports issued more than 10 years ago that have been extended. If you have a passport that is more than 10 years old at the time of your intended visa application date, you must renew your passport before making your application.

  • How do I apply for permanent residency in South Africa?

    To apply for permanent residency, please send a mail to info.sauk@vfshelpline.com

  • Can I request a multiple entry visa?

    You can request a multiple entry visa, however you must provide a motivational letter stating the reasons/justification for your request. Please also provide flight/travel reservation documentation, hotel reservations and details of full travel itinerary. Please note that travel/hotel bookings should be provisional only and not confirmed.

    Please also provide visas to all countries of intended visit for the current trip, original and copies. For example, if you are travelling to South Africa and intend on visiting a neighbouring country such as Botswana within the same trip, you must provide your visa for Botswana or documented proof that you have applied for this visa. If visas have been applied for, please provide the relevant documentation as proof.

    Alternatively, if you do not require a visa to any of the neighbouring countries, please provide proof of exemption.

    Please note that though 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.

  • What proof will I have that South Africa Visa Application Centre has my visa application?

    When your application is registered in our system, you will be issued a receipt for the fees you have paid.

  • Will the application centre give me acknowledgement of the documents that I have submitted?

    The South Africa Visa Application Centre will not issue any documents other than the receipts for fees collected.

  • What are the applicable fees?

    Please see Visa Fees At A Glance. Every visa application needs to be accompanied by a visa fee for the amount applicable to your chosen visa category, plus a service charge of £40.00 which must be paid online only and cannot be paid at the visa application centre. You will be prompted to pay this fee when scheduling your appointment. Please ensure that you bring the email confirmation of proof of payment when attending for your appointment.

    The visa fee can be paid at the visa application centre by Debit/Credit card (except American Express), or cash (please note change may not be available at the time of the application).

  • What is procedure to get my passport back?

    You will need to track the status of your application via track my application , or you may call our helpline When your passport is ready, please bring your receipt with you to the Visa Application Centre between 16:00 -17:00 - Monday to Friday, except on declared holidays.

  • What if I cannot return to collect my passport in person?

    If you cannot attend the centre to collect your passport in person, you can send an immediate member of your family. The original or a copy of the receipt, a letter of authorization from you and proof of relationship will be required to allow your relative to collect on your behalf.

    We can post the application to you by DX Securemail courier at an additional cost of £14.95 per application. However, this request needs to be made at the time of submitting your application and cannot be requested at a later date. This service is restricted to DX Securemail coverage in the UK and Northern Ireland only.

    Kindly note, however, that being outside the UK and Northern Ireland at the time of the issuance of the visa may cause a conflict at the port of entry once in RSA, and is therefore not advised.

  • What should I provide as proof of relationship or my spouse's nationality?

    Certified photocopies of your Marriage Certificate or Birth Certificate are the only documents that will be accepted as proof of relationship. Certified photocopies of your spouse's national Passport can be accepted as proof of nationality.

  • Can the South Africa Visa Application Centre post my passport back?

    The South Africa Visa Application Centre can post your application as long as the address is provided at the time your application is being registered. Applications will be returned via DX Securemail courier at an additional cost of £14.95 per application. You must make your preferred delivery mode known at the time of submission, as once your receipt is issued we cannot change the mode of return of your application. This service is restricted to DX Securemail coverage in the UK and Northern Ireland only.

  • Will I get my visa at the end of the process?

    The South Africa Visa Application Centre will not be able to guarantee the issuance of a visa. The issuance or refusal of a visa is at the sole discretion of The South African High Commission. The South Africa Visa Application Centre cannot influence this decision in any way.

  • Is there a possibility I may be required to attend for an interview at the South African High Commission whilst my application is in process?

    Any visa applicant may be requested to be interviewed at the relevant South African mission, whenever it appears to any official processing his or her application that it is necessary to do so.

  • If I have to travel elsewhere and my passport is still with the South African High Commission, is it possible for me to have only my passport back for travel? What if I decide to withdraw or cancel my application?

    Please be advised it may be possible to temporarily withdraw your passport in cases of genuine emergency, and at the discretion of the South African Embassy. Please visit the South African Visa Application Centre and provide a covering letter stating the reason for the emergency, and also any relevant documentation to confirm the reasons for the withdrawal request.

    Please note that it will take a minimum of 3 working days for the passport to be returned, and please also note that for the duration in which the passport is in your possession, this will increase the processing time of your application. The visa application process will resume only when the passport is returned to us.

    If you wish to cancel your visa application and have your passport returned, please visit the South African Visa Application Centre and provide a covering letter stating the reason for the request, and provide any relevant supporting documentation.

    It will take a minimum of 3 working days for the return of the passport, and no fees will be refunded. Please note that the decision to return the passport and the time taken will be at the sole discretion of the South African Embassy.

    Important – please ensure you make it clear when making your request whether you wish to withdraw your passport temporarily, or if you wish to cancel your application completely and return your passport.

  • Will my fees be refunded if my visa is refused?

    No visa fees will be refunded should your visa application be refused.

  • Will my fees be refunded if I cancel my appointment?

    If cancelling more than 48 hours before the scheduled date - Kindly email to: info.sauk@vfshelpline.com quoting your web reference number, state the reasons for cancellation and the date the appointment was initially scheduled for.

    If cancelling less than 48 hours before the scheduled date - The service fee will not be refunded, kindly schedule a new appointment if required.

    If rescheduling more than 48 hours before the scheduled date - The service fee paid is still valid, and appointments can be rescheduled based on availability.

    If rescheduling less than 48 hours before the scheduled date - This service fee paid is still valid, and appointments can be rescheduled based on availability.

    Please allow a minimum of 10 working days for the refund to be processed.

    Important – please do not book an appointment to visit the visa centre for enquiries, an appointment is not required for this purpose. Please be advised that in such cases it will not be possible to refund any online fees paid.

  • How do I obtain a refund of my Repatriation Refund/Security Deposit?

    To obtain the refund of your Repatriation Refund/Security Deposit, you should make your request by post directly to the South African High Commission in London. Please click here for details.

  • When can I reapply; is there a timeframe after the refusal that I must wait before re-applying?

    You are free to re-apply at any time if your application has been refused earlier. There is no time gap to be observed after a refusal to make a fresh application. However, it is recommended that you note the reasons for the earlier refusal before submitting a new application, and make amendments where applicable.

  • Can my application be processed on the same day that I submit it at the South Africa Visa Application Centre?

    Applications cannot be processed on the same day unless authorized by the South African High Commission.

  • How long will it take to process my visa application?

    You should check the Processing Time section of your chosen category of visa for information on processing times. Please note that all processing times as stated are minimum, and may take longer in some cases.

  • What if I am not happy with the response I receive from the person on the helpline?

    You can ask for the Manager on duty at any time during your enquiry if you are unhappy with the response you have received from the helpline.
    You may also share any feedback about your VFS Global experience (appreciation or complaint) by visiting our Customer Services page on this website.

  • Where can I find information on Yellow Fever?

    Please go Here for important information regarding Yellow Fever.