South Africa Student Visas
In South Africa, study visa applications are grouped alongside South African work permits in the category of temporary residence permits. Student visas apply to primary, secondary, and tertiary education and allow foreign nationals to immigrate to South Africa for the express purpose of undertaking a course of study.
Find out whether you qualify to study in South Africa today by visiting the Global Visas online assessment area. Just take a moment to complete one of our assessment forms and one of our specialist immigration consultants will respond to your enquiry.
Like a South African work permit, the key requirement of a study permit is that a definite offer of sponsorship is obtained. In the same way that a work permit for South Africa requires a firm offer of employment from a South African company, Student visa applications must be able to demonstrate confirmation of an offer of a place on a course of study at a recognised South African educational institution. The offer of a place does not in itself guarantee that a visa application will be accepted, however, it is a prerequisite and must be obtained before the application can be submitted. It is worth noting that the process of applying for a South African study visa can take up to 8 weeks and that since South African educational institutions cannot register foreign students until their visas are granted, it is wise to apply as soon as your letter of confirmation is received.
South African Study visa Benefits
South African study permits are not intended as a route to permanent settlement and will not lead to permanent residency or the right to apply for South African citizenship. However, unlike a visit visa, which only allows study for the visa’s 90-day duration, a study visa, granted for the duration of the applicant's course, makes studying in South Africa a practical proposition. A successful candidate may study full time in South Africa for as long as they need to and in addition, whilst it is not permitted to work in South Africa in a full time position, a student visa holder may work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours per week. In vacation periods, if a letter of permission is obtained from the institution, no working restrictions will be imposed at all and an applicant may supplement their income whilst in South Africa.
Initially a study visa will be granted for a period of 1 year. However, this can be extended as required to allow the applicant to complete their course. Applicants may only use their permit to study at the named institution and to follow the specified course. Any change in either the place of study or the course undertaken will require a separate application to be submitted.
As outlined above, the key requirement for applying for a South African student visa is that the applicant has a firm offer in place. However, it is also important to note that like work permits for South Africa, attention is also paid to making sure that foreign students do not displace existing South African citizens and permanent residents. The Department of Home Affairs welcomes foreign students who wish to live and study in South Africa, however, foreign students must not deprive someone already resident in South Africa from studying by doing so.
Applicants must be able to show that they can financially support themselves throughout their time in South Africa including paying their tuition fees and must have medical insurance arranged. Police clearance from any other countries of former residence may also be required and for applicants under the age of 18 a letter of consent from the parents must be submitted. A range of other documentary evidence will be required to support applications. A Global Visas immigration consultant will be able to advise you of the specific requirements for your student visa application.
Spouse Immigration and Dependent Immigration
Although South African study permits are issued as a temporary immigration service, they may nonetheless result in a candidate being resident in South Africa for a period of some years. With this in mind, close family dependents may enter South Africa with the principle applicant. Any such dependents will be granted leave to remain in South Africa for the same period as that issued to the main applicant.
Global Visas specialise in helping you to obtain the right immigration service for you. Visit our online assessment area today to find out whether you qualify and to get your application moving.