Student Visas South Africa

Studying in South Africa at primary, secondary or tertiary level requires a South African study visa application to be submitted. Student visa are issued as temporary residence permits and are designed to allow overseas nationals to relocate to South Africa temporarily in order to undertake a course of study.

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You can begin your South Africa visa application today by using the Global visas online assessment tool. Just take a moment to complete one of our assessment forms and one of our South Africa immigration lawyers will respond to your enquiry.

Applying for a South African Study Permit

One of the key considerations when students apply for a South Africa visa is that all applicants must have a sponsor in place. Like South African work permits which require a job offer to be secured before an overseas national can live and work in South Africa, study visas require an offer of a place on a course of study. The course of study must be carried out at a recognised bona fide educational institution and candidates are advised to submit their application as soon as they receive their letter of acceptance. It should be noted that obtaining a place on a course of study does not necessarily guarantee that a study visa will be granted, however, since the process can take up to 8 weeks applications should be submitted as soon as possible. The visa must be granted before the educational institution can officially register the student so it is wise to give the process as much time as possible.

South African Study visa – Benefits

South African study visas are issued as a temporary immigration solution and student visa holders may not extend their visa beyond the end of their studies. Study visas do not lead to the opportunity to apply for South African permanent residency or citizenship and applicants will be obliged to return at the end of their grant of leave. However, one of the key benefits of a student visa is that applicants may engage in limited employment in order to supplement their income during their time in South Africa. Students may work for up to 20 hours per week during term time and may work full time, subject to obtaining permission, in holiday periods.


In South Africa, study visas are normally issued for one year, which can be extended as required to allow the candidate to complete their studies. As a temporary residency permit based upon a sponsoring institution, a study visa holder may only study at the sponsoring institution and may only participate in the course for which they have an offer. Candidates wishing to either change their course or switch to a different institution would need to submit a new study visa application.

South African Study Visas – Eligibility Requirements

Besides the fundamental requirements that all overseas nationals studying in South Africa have a guaranteed offer of a place on a course of study, several other requirements must also be satisfied. South Africa welcomes students from overseas, however, close attention is also paid to whether or not the student’s presence in South Africa will displace an existing South African citizen or permanent resident.

Another key consideration for candidates is that all applicants must be able to show that they can fund their time in South Africa. Applicants must be able to provide evidence of their ability to financially support themselves during their time in South Africa. A range of supporting documentation will be need to provided as part of the application and in some case, police checks from countries where the candidate has lived previously may be required. Your Global Visas consultant will discuss the exact requirements of your application with you in your initial consultation.

Family Immigration

The immediate family members of a South African student visa application i.e. the candidate’s spouse and/or dependent children will be permitted to reside in South Africa while the main candidate completes his or her studies. Although the student visa is issued as a temporary visa, a student may be following a degree course which will result in their presence in South Africa for several years. As such any dependents will be permitted to remain in South Africa for the same duration granted to the main applicant.

At Global Visas our specialist South African immigration consultants are committed to obtaining the right visa service for your needs. Just visit the online assessment area today to begin. Find out further information on our Tourist Visas South Africa page.

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