Entry requirements

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 30 days from the date of exit from South Africa.

Your passport should have at least 2 blank pages when you present it at immigration to enter or leave South Africa.

Visas

If you’re visiting South Africa on holiday for up to 90 days, you don’t need a visa.

For more information on visas contact the South African High Commission or the South African Department of Home Affairs.

The South African government doesn’t accept British passports that have been extended by 12 months by British Embassies and Consulates under exceptional measures put in place in mid-2014. You won’t be able to enter or exit South Africa on an expired British passport with an extension stamp.

Travelling with children (under 18)

New rules apply from 1 June 2015. If you’re travelling to South Africa or transiting through a South African airport with a child you must be able to produce the child’s full unabridged birth certificate. The full unabridged birth certificate should list the child’s details and both parents’ details. The abridged (or short) birth certificate which only lists the child’s details won’t be accepted.

The South African Department of Home Affairs have confirmed that no supporting documents will be required by people in direct transit through a South African International Airport. Check with your airline to see whether you need to go through immigration on arrival in South Africa, collect luggage and check in again. If you do go through immigration you’ll need to provide the correct documentation.

There are additional requirements if the child is travelling with only one parent, with neither biological parent, or unaccompanied. See this information sheet, this statement by the South African Department of Home Affairs and this leaflet produced by the South African Department of Home Affairs. Contact your nearest South African High Commission if you have any specific questions about your trip.

You can get a full unabridged birth certificate from the General Registry Office if your child was born in the UK, or the South African Department of Home Affairs website if your child was born in South Africa.

If you’re travelling with copies of documents, make sure you get them certified. The South African Department of Home Affairs won’t accept photocopies of birth certificates or passports.

Residence permits

New rules apply from 26 May 2014. If you live in South Africa, you must have valid residence permit in your passport when entering and leaving the country. Receipts issued by the Department of Home Affairs for applications to renew a permit will not be accepted by the immigration authorities. Instead of fining individuals whose permits have expired, you may be blacklisted and prevented from applying for a visa to re-enter South Africa for a period from 12 months to 5 years. For more information, contact the South African High Commission or the South African Department of Home Affairs.

If you’re issued a Form 19 ‘declaration of undesirability’ at the port of entry/exit and you wish to appeal against the decision you should email overstayappeals@dha.gov.za and include a copy of your current passport, copy of your last valid visa, copy of the Form 19 and proof of application for a residence permit.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry into, transit and exit from South Africa but should have a minimum of 6 months validity.

Yellow fever

You must have a yellow fever certificate issued at least 10 days before arrival in South Africa if you have travelled from a  country with yellow fever, or if you have transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. This includes when entry is solely to transit through a South African airport. If you don’t have a valid certificate, you’ll be denied entry to South Africa.

In January 2015, the South African authorities removed the requirement for proof of yellow fever vaccination for travellers arriving from Zambia, Tanzania, Eritrea, Somalia and Sao Tome & Principe.