South Africa is a sovereign country with country borders and power to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies.This sovereignty therefore means there are requirements and procedures one needs to follow for entering and staying in South Africa whether its for residence, study, work or even visiting purposes.The subject of Visas and immigration has become even more important with the introduction of new Visa regulations by the government.
It must be stated from the onset that Visa requirements may vary depending on your purpose of visit, duration of your visit and country of origin. While a Visa is not a guarantee that you will enter South Africa, it grants you access to the port of entry where trained immigration officers facilitate your entry. If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials will refuse you entry to South Africa and place you on a return flight to your country.
Some of the basic requirements for entering South Africa include a valid passport or travel document that will be valid for the length of your intended stay. Your passport should have at least two blank facing pages in it, a valid visa if required, sufficient funds, a return or inward ticket and yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or passes through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.
If you are considering visiting South Africa, the first step is to consult the Department of Home Affairs or the nearest embassy.You will then be advised on visa costs, processing time, where to apply, what to submit, requirements for people in transit, as well as information relating to your duration and purpose of stay, medical visas and photographs.
For those who are subject to visa requirements, it is advisable to apply for a visa at least four weeks before your departure for South Africa. Visas are not issued at South African ports of entry and airline officials are obliged to insist on visas before allowing passengers to board.
According to the new immigration guidelines, you can not change the status of your Visa once you are in South Africa.This therefore means should you wish to pursue any voluntary or paid employment or even studies, you should go back to your country of origin and apply for a work or study permit from there.These applications in the new dispensation can also not be done by a travel agent, courier or another family member but in person by the applicant only.
The above information should put you in good standing with regards to immigration and Visa matters.