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South Africa Visa Requirements

South Africa Visa RequirementsSouth African study visas are necessary for all LLM students who are not South African citizens or permanent
residents that wish to study at a South African law school. Study visas are issued to overseas LLM students on the basis that no foreign student is displacing a South African student. South African visa requirements also dictate that the overseas students have adequate funding in place, as well as the necessary medical coverage. 

How to apply

Applications for South African student visas are made in a variety of ways depending on the country you are applying from. In most countries, students must complete the BI-1738 form and submit it to their local South African Embassy, Consulate or High Commission. In the UK and some other nations, students apply through companies like VFS Global, who process visas on behalf of a number of countries. This is done partly online and then the final form is printed and brought along to an interview. In some countries the local Embassy or Consulate don’t require study visa applicants to make an appointment in advance. 

When to apply 

All international students wishing to study an LLM in South Africa must apply well in advance of their arrival in South Africa. Once an offer on an LLM program has been received from a law school, it is then time to apply for a student visa. Since the application is not online, students should give as long as possible to apply for a student visa and should expect it to take at least six weeks. However, applicants in the UK are advised by VFS Global that they should apply no more than nine weeks prior to travelling, and that processing time takes around 34 days. 

Application procedure 

The application procedure for a South African student visa is fairly straightforward as most students can either request or download an application form from their local South African Embassy. Students from the UK or a nation that uses a private company start their application with VFS Global and make an appointment for an interview, all online. Students also need to have a medical and radiological report made in the last six months from their doctor, and this should be done before making the application. 

Necessary documentation 

South African visa requirements include quite a few necessary documents depending on the country that you are coming from. For example, if you are applying from a country with yellow fever, then you need to bring a certificate of vaccinations. No matter where you are applying from you will also need official medical and radiological reports and if you don't want to send in the originals, you will need to have the copies officiated by a South African Embassy or Consulate. Students require proof of funds and this is around R3,000 per month for the duration of your stay, along with proof of the financial means to cover the tuition fees. You will also need to provide certificates proving that you have the qualifications you say you do. Students also must have an acceptance letter from their South African law school included in their visa application. You'll need to provide information on where you will be living while you are in South Africa and provide police clearance certificates from every country you have lived in for more than 12 months since you were 18 years old. You will need your current passport in your application, along with two passport-sized photographs. Finally students must have proof of medical insurance from a registered medical provider to cover them during their stay. 

Potential restrictions 

International LLM students in South Africa must not work for more than 20 hours per week during term-time and can work on a full-time basis during the holidays. However, as you will have already proven that you have the necessary funds for your day-to-day spending and to cover your LLM tuition fees, working full time during your time out should be unnecessary. Fees for applying for South African study visas vary, but cost around £35 in the United Kingdom.


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