Visa Requirements for Citizens of South Africa

Discover visa requirements for citizens of South Africa for all the countries across the world.

Visa Requirements for South African Citizens

Visa requirements for South African nationals are administrative entry restrictions placed on nationals of South Africa by the authorities of other states around the world.

The Henley Passport Index currently ranks the South African passport 53rd in terms of travel freedom among the countries of the world. South Africans are currently able to travel to around 100 different territories visa-free or with a visa on arrival.

Visa requirements for South African passport holders depend on the country of destination, the period of time the traveler wishes to spend in the chosen territory, and the purpose of the trip.

It may be necessary to obtain either an embassy visa, an electronic travel visa authorization, or a visa on arrival to travel to a foreign country from South Africa. However, a visa may not be required, and some countries may not have a visa available for South African citizens.

It is not necessary to obtain authorization to travel to a number of visa-exempt countries for South Africans for short stays (between 30 and 180 days depending on the destination). However, some of these same countries may require travelers from South Africa to pre-register for an electronic travel authorization before arriving in the territory.

Citizens of South Africa who wish to visit a territory other than a visa not required country need to obtain a visa to do so. This may be either an electronic visa through an online application, an embassy visa from a diplomatic office of their destination, or a visa on arrival from a border entry point.

List of Visa Countries for South African Passport Holders in 2020

While it is possible for travelers from South Africa to visit a number of countries without a visa, it is necessary to meet the visa requirements for South African citizens to travel to others. At the moment, it is necessary to obtain a visa to travel to around 160 countries around the world from South Africa.

No matter the destination, South African citizens are required to obtain the correct type of required visa depending on the duration and purpose of the intended stay, whether a tourist visa, business visa, study visa, work visa, or transit visa.

To travel to around 140 of the visa-required countries for South African nationals, it is necessary to obtain a visa before departure from South Africa, either in person from an embassy or consulate, or through an online electronic visa application.

Some of the visa-required countries for South Africa have a visa on arrival option available for South African citizens, although this often involves waiting in long lines at border control to submit an application.

Below you can find a full list of visa-required countries for South African passport holders in 2020.

Electronic Travel Visa Authorization

An Electronic Travel Visa Authorization system allows South African nationals to obtain either an online eVisa or an electronic visa waiver to travel to the country of their destination, and eliminates the need to submit a visa application at an embassy or consulate.

In order to visit some visa-exempt countries for South African passport holders, it is necessary to pre-register for an electronic visa waiver online and receive approval before arrival, in order to pre-screen travelers for any potential security risks.

Some other visa-required countries have implemented an electronic visa for South African citizens, available through a simple online application, in order to expedite the process of applying for a visa.

The electronic travel authorizations and eVisas for South African nationals currently available may be issued as either a single or multiple entry travel authorization, and permit travelers to spend between 14 days up to 3 months in the country of destination.

Most approved electronic travel visa authorizations for South Africans are sent to the applicant via email or electronically linked to the passport, and traveler is often able to print a paper copy to present upon arrival and gain access to their destination country.

Below you can find a complete list of the countries you can visit with an electronic travel visa authorization for citizens of South Africa.

Countries for nationality

Visa on arrival

A visa on arrival for South African passport holders is a kind of travel authorization which citizens of South Africa are able to obtain upon arrival at a border checkpoint in over 20 countries around the world.

To obtain a visa on arrival in an issuing country, it is normally necessary for the traveler to go directly to a border entry checkpoint upon arrival, and wait in line to complete and submit a visa on arrival application for South African citizens.

Most visas on arrival for citizens of South Africa permit the traveler a stay of between 30 days and 3 months in their country of destination. This type of travel authorization may be issued as either a single or multiple entry visa depending on the issuing country.

Many visa on arrival countries for South African nationals also allow travelers to obtain an electronic visa (eVisa) through a simple online application before departure from South Africa. This eliminates the need to wait in border queues and greatly expedites the visa application process.

Find below a full list of the main visa on arrival countries for South Africans that allow travelers to obtain a travel authorization at the border.

Embassy Visa Required

Embassy visas for citizens of South Africa are travel authorizations which must be obtained in advance from a diplomatic office of the country of destination before departure from South Africa.

There are currently around 140 countries for which an embassy visa for South Africans is required to travel.

It is normally necessary to make a visa appointment at the nearest embassy or consulate of the destination country in order to apply for an embassy visa for South African passport holders.

Applicants are usually required to bring a completed embassy visa application for South African nationals to the consular appointment, alongside a range of supporting documents depending on the type of embassy visa the traveler requires.

An embassy visa for South Africans may be granted as either a single or multiple entry travel authorization and for a variety of periods of permitted stay, depending on the purpose of the intended stay in the country of destination.
Embassy visa requirements for South Africans normally require travelers to submit an application in person at least 2 weeks before the intended arrival date in the destination, in order to ensure sufficient processing time. In some cases, it may take longer to process an embassy visa.

Find below a list of the main destinations which South African citizens can visit by first applying for an embassy visa.

Embassy Visa Required: Country list

Click on the links below to find out more about each country

Visa Not Required

There are currently around 60 countries for which a travel authorization or a visa is not required for South African passport holders for short stays.

South Africans are able to visit the visa not required countries for citizens of South Africa for varying periods of permitted stays, from between 30 days up to 1 year , depending on the territory of destination.

Visa not required countries for South Africans include a number of territories around the world, including many South American, African, and Southeast Asian nations.

Travelers from South Africa are simply able to present a valid South African passport upon arrival to gain entry to any of the visa-free countries for South Africans for the length of permitted stay.

Visa-exempt countries for South African nationals normally permit the traveler to visit visa-free for short stays for purposes of business, tourism, or to transit to an onward destination.

To visit these same territories for other purposes or longer periods, it is normally necessary for South Africans to apply for an embassy visa for South African from the nearest consular office of the country of destination.

Below you can find a full list of the main visa not required countries from South Africa.

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