Are you considering studying in South Africa? There are important things you need to note The Department of Home Affairs is the first port of call for students wishing to study in South Africa. The department has information on applying for temporary residency.
To apply, note the following:
- Apply for a study permit: if you are an international student intending to study in South Africa – whether at a primary, secondary, or tertiary educational institution – you must first apply for and be granted a study permit. A South African educational institution cannot register an international student until a valid study permit has been issued.If someone in your family is taking up a job in South Africa and you plan to attend school or another educational institution, you also need to apply for a study permit.
- Apply before you leave: Apply for your study permit, and await the outcome of your application, before leaving for South Africa. The fact that you have been accepted by a South African educational institution does not guarantee that you will be issued with a study permit. And you cannot enter South Africa on a visitor’s visa and then apply for a study permit.
How to apply for your study permit
Once you have received acceptance from the South African educational institution you want to attend, complete a study permit application and submit it to your nearest South African office abroad (see link below).
Your application must be accompanied by:
- Your passport, which should be valid for at least 30 days more than the application period.
- The relevant permit fee (cash or bank-guaranteed cheque). Contact Home Affairs for the latest fee.
- Proof that you are financially able to pay your tuition fees and have adequate means of support. You will need to submit three months’ worth of bank statements.
- Proof of medical or health insurance cover that is registered or recognised in South Africa.
- A repatriation guarantee. Unless you have a written undertaking of support from a South African, you will need to lodge a cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket. In the case of African students, proof that your country has signed a written undertaking to pay costs for deportation should it become necessary. However, if your course is less than a year, or you will be attending a religious institution, you will be exempt from this requirement, and you only need a valid return/onward ticket.
- A medical certificate and a radiological report (chest X-ray) or skin TB test.
- If you a minor – that is, under 18 – you will need written permission from both parents or sole custody parent, along with proof of sole custody.
- If you are a minor, you must supply particulars of the person in South Africa who will act as your guardian and a letter of confirmation from the intended guardian.
- An official letter from the institution in South Africa confirming your acceptance and detailing the duration of the course.
- If you are older than 18, a police clearance certificate.
Make sure you’ve got copies of your application forms and all the supporting documents.
Permit application forms: You’ll need to complete BI-1738. Only original forms will be accepted. It usually takes around six weeks for a study permit to be processed. It’s a good idea to make your application as early as possible. If you are applying for a renewal, you should do so at least 30 days before the expiry date of your original visa.
Renewal of permits: Study permits are generally valid for the duration of the course for which they were granted, or for three years for school and two years for other institutions. Depending on what your original visa stipulates, you may have to apply for a new permit if you plan to change your course of study or institution.
Work/study: If you have a valid study permit, you are allowed to work part-time for no more than 20 hours a week (although not during academic vacations).If you plan to work as part of your studies or to get work experience, you will need to apply for permission from Home Affairs and include:
- A formal offer to do practical training.
- Consent from the educational institution.
- Proof that you are still a registered student.