How to Apply for a Student Visa in South Africa: Requirements, Cost, Eligibility, & Process

The country, officially known as the Republic of South Africa, is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho. If they are enrolled full-time at an approved institution, international students may apply for a student visa. Holders of student visas are permitted to work part-time and can extend their visas as long as they are still enrolled in classes.

For international students, South Africa is a popular destination. The nation has world-class universities, ideal weather, and a favorable exchange rate that makes living costs for students inexpensive.

This is a temporary residency visa and does not lead to Permanent Residency.

Contact New World Immigration for guidance on obtaining the proper visa if your child will be attending school in South Africa.

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7 Reasons to Study Abroad in South Africa 

Finding the ideal location for your study abroad program can be difficult. There are many things to think about, especially since choosing where you’ll spend a semester or an entire academic year is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a different culture, practice a foreign language, and broaden your perspective on the world.

1. Great academic programs and cultural diversity

There are paths that lead to their destination as well as dreams of a stunning South Africa. According to Nelson Mandela, a former president of South Africa and a driving force behind the nation’s revolutionary movement to end apartheid, two of these roads could be called Goodness and Forgiveness.

You will be immersed in the South African nation’s rich history and cultural variety as an international student there. There are 11 official languages in South Africa, among them English (which is commonly spoken), Ndebele, Afrikaans, and Zulu. 

Studying South Africa’s history of segregation and apartheid, as well as the struggle that ended them, is crucial for developing your awareness of this intriguing nation.

2. A growing economy

2019 data demonstrate that the bulk of the nation’s industries, from agriculture to business services and community industries, have experienced growth.

You’ll most likely be able to find an engaging internship or part-time work in any field of your choice in South Africa as a potential study abroad student.

One of the best-positioned nations on the African continent, according to economists, is South Africa, which will “rise from the coronavirus-induced recession’s ashes and create a brighter future, [where the] economic downturn can be transformed into the next hotbed of innovation,” according to Sibongiseni Mbatha for News24.

3. Spectacular weather

Sometimes the weather is the only important factor. With 300 days of sunshine annually in many regions, South Africa excels in this category. Everyone enjoys South Africa’s weather for a variety of reasons, including the sunshine, beaches, crowd-pleasing temperatures, and more.

According to Climates to Travel, “the average temperature ranges from 12°C (53.5°F) in July to 21°C (70°F) in January and February if you’re thinking about studying in Cape Town.

Because of the ocean’s cooling effect, summer temperatures are not very high, however occasionally a hot, dry breeze from the mountains called a Berg can elevate the temperature to about 35 °C (95 °F).

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4. Affordable

You’ll probably discover that South Africa’s programs are comparably extremely reasonable if you compare the costs of study abroad programs.

This is partly because the cost of living is far lower than it is in most of Europe or the US, allowing students to save more of their hard-earned money.

South Africa is one of the nations with the lowest cost of living, according to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey. Furthermore, official agencies in the US and Canada continue to offer financial aid to students in those countries.

5. The highest educational standard in Africa

South African institutions are the gold standard for academic excellence and opportunities on the continent of Africa. There are 26 public universities in South Africa that you can choose from if you’re interested in studying abroad there. These universities offer some of the best degree programs in Africa.

Universities around the country place a high emphasis on development studies. According to Prospects, several of South Africa’s institutions excel in different subjects, but development studies is a particular strength for the country — the University of Cape Town ranks 9th for the subject, while the University of Witwatersrand comes in at number 18.

6. Easy transition into the workforce

There are numerous options to quickly enter the workforce if you’re interested in extending your stay in South Africa by obtaining employment once your studies are over.

There are around 35,000 jobs in 53 distinct categories of shortage vocations, according to the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA), for which you can apply for a critical skills visa, according to Expatica.

South Africa is a global leader in mining and mineral processing and has the second-largest economy on the African continent.

7. Networking and Building Relationships with fellow students.

You will interact with a wide range of individuals from cultures you may not be familiar with. They will undoubtedly become some of your closest friends, but they might also support you professionally.

Your former university classmate can provide you advice on professions you may not have known existed while you are looking for a new job.

One day they might be aware of a job that would be ideal for you. One day when you become their source for fantastic work chances, the same might be true for them. You can create and grow a vast worldwide network by studying abroad.

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What Are The Best Places To Study Abroad In South Africa in 2024?

Therefore, you may have wondered, “What are the greatest cities for students?” before deciding where to relocate. Your future may be determined by the response to this question.

What, however, distinguishes a city as an excellent environment for students? That is a valid query. It consists of a variety of factors, including respectable colleges, promising job prospects, a high standard of living, an active student population, and affordability.

We have evaluated the top student cities in South Africa based on these metrics. We have utilized the following metrics to rank them: over 250,000 residents, reputable higher education institutions, a reasonable cost of living, a pleasant atmosphere, and good work opportunities

  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Pretoria, South Africa

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What are the Requirements to Study Abroad in South Africa in 2024?

The qualifications to enroll in studies in South Africa beginning in 2023 are listed below:

  • A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for your intended stay 
  • At least one blank page in your passport for endorsements 
  • A valid visa, if required 
  • Sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay 
  • A return or onward ticket 
  • Yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.
  • DLI’s letter of acceptance (Designated Learning Institute)
  • Letter of Explanation acceptance certificate
  • Permit to Study in South Africa 
  • English proficiency certification
  • Evidence of Funds
  • Immigration Medical Exam 
  • Police Certificate
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate
  • Eligibility requirements for bachelor’s degrees 
  • Eligibility requirements for master’s degrees 
  • COVID requirements for an MBA and entry requirements for Canada

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Do I Need A Visa To Study Abroad In South Africa? in 2024

You will require a visa to study in South Africa if you are not a citizen of the country. Find out more about the application procedure for student visas and the requirements for entry into the nation based on your citizenship.

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A visa only signifies that a South African embassy, mission, or consulate has examined your application and determined that you are qualified to enter the nation for a particular purpose.

Fill out Form BI-1738 to apply for a study visa if you are a foreign student who wants to study in South Africa.

Study visas must be requested at a VFS Center across the nation close to the institution of higher learning you want to attend, or at the closest South Africa Embassy mission or consulate abroad.

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Do You Have To Speak Zulu, Afrikaans, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Swati, etc, To Study Abroad in South Africa?

It is not surprising that South African culture is known as the “Rainbow Nation” or the nation of diversity; this is demonstrated by the country’s 11 official languages.

There isn’t a single language spoken in South Africa. English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Pedi, Swati, Sotho, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu are the nation’s official tongues instead. No worries, you don’t need any of them to study at any level in South African universities (except for English!).

Zulu, Xhosa, and Afrikaans, a language related to Dutch, are the most widely spoken languages after English, which is used as a major language.

It is not necessary to know all these languages before you can Study in South Africa; you can learn while you study there, even with your foreign language. South Africans are accommodating. They will help you in every area of speaking and understanding too.

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How Much Does It Cost To Study Abroad In South Africa in 2024?

The South African Rand is the currency of the country, and the cost of tuition is significantly cheaper than it is in the UK. However, fees vary between institutions, courses,, and modules, and also depend on a student’s nationality, so it’s advisable to check what you could be charged before applying.

Students from the South African Development Community (SADC), which include those from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo etc., pay the same tuition fees as local South African students. Those from elsewhere in the world will pay more.

Public universities tend to cost less than private ones and more advanced or prestigious degrees, such as the MBA, will cost more than Bachelors or Masters programmes.

As a rough guide, you’ll usually pay between R35,000 and R110,000 for an undergraduate course, £1,730 to £5,440 respectively. Masters cost between R20,000 to R75000 (£989-£3,708). 

International students will likely have to pay an additional fee per semester. You’ll also have to pay a non-refundable international application fee of around R300 (£15), and in many cases an annual administration fee of R3,750 (just under £200). These figures vary between institutions.

You’ll also need to consider the cost of books and equipment and joining teams and societies.

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What Are Scholarships To Study Abroad In South Africa?

These are some scholarships Southeast Africans offer to their international students to make them school freely in  the country.

Below are the scholarships 

1. ETH Zurich Excellence Masters Scholarships

ETH Zurich’s Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Program assists outstanding candidates who want to pursue a Master’s degree at ETH (ESOP).

The Excellence Scholarship/ESOP comprises a stipend covering tuition fees as well as housing and study expenses (CHF 12,000 per semester).

The scholarship is given for the master’s program’s normal term (three or four semesters). This holds true for the tuition fee waiver as well.

Excellent students from the ETH and from other universities (national and international) who intend to pursue their Master’s degree at the ETH Zurich are eligible for the scholarship programs.

You must have received an excellent mark in your bachelor’s program (top 10% of all programs = grade A). Additionally, you must confirm that you can be reached at the phone number listed in your CV because the selection process may involve a phone/VC interview in February.

2. Emile Boutmy Scholarships for Non-EU Students at Sciences Po

In order to draw the top international students from outside the European Union who are first-time candidates and who have been admitted to an Undergraduate or Master’s degree offered at the University, Sciences Po established the Emile Boutmy Scholarships in honor of the university’s founder.

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Students who have been accepted to the Undergraduate or Master’s program and are first-time applicants from a non-European Union state whose household does not file taxes within the European Union are eligible.

This scholarship is given out in accordance with the program’s desired profile and excellence-related criteria. Social factors are also taken into consideration.

3. University of Twente Scholarships (UTS)

Excellent students from both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA nations who wish to enroll in a graduate program (MSc) at the University of Twente may apply for University Twente Scholarships (UTS).

For one year, the scholarship might cost between €3,000 and €22,000 in total. When students satisfy the procedural requirements for the UTS in the case of a two-year study program, they are eligible to receive an additional UTS in an amount equal to that in the first year.

4. Utrecht Excellence Scholarships for International Students

A number of international students from outside the European Economic Area are given the chance to study a Master’s degree at Utrecht University through the Utrecht Excellence Scholarship (UES).

The University’s eligible international master’s degree programs. Not all programs take part; to see if the Utrecht Excellence Scholarship is listed as a scholarship opportunity.

5. Maastricht University Holland High Potential Scholarships for International Students

24 full scholarships worth €30.000 (including tuition fee waiver and monthly stipend) are available each academic year through the Maastricht University (UM) Holland-High Potential Scholarship program to exceptionally talented students from outside the European Union (EU) who have been admitted to a Master’s program at UM.

A Holland Scholarship and a High Potential Scholarship are combined to become the Holland High Potential Scholarship.

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What Are The Best Programs To Study Abroad In South Africa?

Students are choosing to study overseas more frequently than in India thanks to South Africa’s growing popularity among them.

The job options for students have expanded along with the introduction of more courses. There are a few courses among the many options available that are particularly well-liked by the students.

  • Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Information Technology
  • Business Administration
  • Medicine
  • Law
  • Social Sciences
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Accounting
  • Fashion Design

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How To Pack For Study Abroad In South Africa?

I am aware that students desire a thorough list of things to bring when studying abroad, and that we all find it irritating when someone responds, “It’s common sense.”

Perhaps you’re making a packing list for Europe or Southeast Asia. So, keeping both males and girls in mind, I’ve put together everything I thought you could want or need when you study or vacation abroad.

Use your judgment; we don’t expect you to bring everything we’ve specified. Check out my post with the apt title, “How to Fit Your Life Into Two Suitcases,” if you’re wondering how to do it.

  • Underwear (two weeks’ worth)
  • Socks (two weeks’ worth plus a pair or two of wool socks)
  • Undershirts
  • Thermal underwear
  • Long sleeve shirtsShort sleeve shirtsSweatshirt/ hoodie (2-3)
  • Sweaters
  • Jeans/ Khakis (2-3 pair)
  • Shorts
  • A belt or two
  • Skirts (for the girls)
  • A set or two of workout clothes
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit (for those going to warmer climates)
  • Coat/Jacket (I recommend at least 2 – one for cold weather, and one that is water resistant)
  • At least one nice outfit for formal occasions*
  • Flip flops/ sandals of some sort (good if you’re going to a warm climate, but also good for hostel showers)
  • Sneakers/ dress shoes/ boots/ rain boots*Cold weather gear (i.e. gloves/ mittens, hat, scarf)

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Steps To Prepare You For Study Abroad In South Africa

We know most students will be curious on how to adapt in a foreign land is not usually a normal thing for anyone.

Below are some steps you can follow if you want to adapt easily in South Africa as you study.

1: Explore your options

2: Investigate if you need a bridging course

3: Speak to a study advisor

4: Apply to your selected universities

5: Be careful with taxis in South Africa

6: Find a university mate

7: Adhere or stick to your budget

8: Take appropriate precautions against diseases in South Africa

9: Acclimatize to time in South Africa

10: Knock on your neighbors’ doors

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Where do South Africans study Abroad?

South Africans often choose to go to the UK to study, which is expected to increase with the introduction of the new graduate visa route, said Sable International.

Can I get a student loan in South Africa to study abroad?

Nedbank Student Loans are offered to full and part-time students


There is no doubt that South Africa is an excellent place to study; they have all the favorable conditions that a student needs to be comfortable.

If you are thinking of enrolling your child in a school abroad, you might as well consider South Africa, be rest assured.


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