Study permit is required for international students who are willing to study in South Africa, whether at a primary, secondary or tertiary educational institution. You can enquire about the study permit at your nearest South African office abroad or at the Home Affairs office closest to the institution where you will be studying. An application needs to be sent at the office. The application must be accompanied by:
- Your passport, which should be valid for at least more than 30 days of the application period.
- The required permit fee (cash or bank-guaranteed cheque). The latest fees can be known by contacting Home Affairs.
- Proof showing that you are financially capable of paying your tuition fees and have adequate means of support. You will need to submit three months’ worth of bank statements.
- Medical proof or health insurance cover that is recognized in South Africa.
- A repatriation guarantee. A written undertaking of support from a South African or a cash deposit equivalent to the value of return ticket. If you are an African student, a proof is required showing that your country has signed a written undertaking to pay costs for deportation if it becomes necessary. However, if your course is less than one year, or you are going to attend a religious institution, you will be excused from this requirement and you will only need a valid return/onward ticket.
- A medical certificate and a radiological report (x-ray chest) or skin TB test.
- Particulars of the person acting as guardian in case you are a minor (under 18 years of age) along with a letter of confirmation from the intended guardian.
- An official letter from the institution of study in South Africa confirming you’re your admission and detailing about the duration of the course.
- A police clearance certificate, if you are older than 18 years of age.
It is also very important that you have the copies of the application and all the supporting certificates.
You will need to fill up BI-1738. Only the original forms are accepted.
The whole procedure takes around six weeks. This may seem like an extremely long period of time. So, one should make the application as early as possible. If you are applying for renewal of your visa, you should do so atleast 30 days before the expiry date.
Study permits are generally valid for the duration of the course taken up, three years for school and two years for other institutions. Only if you wish to change your course of study or institution, a new work permit can be applied for depending upon what your original visa stipulates.
If you are on a study permit and you leave the country temporarily, you will need a re-entry visa, provided your permit doesn’t expire while you are out of the country. This is valid even though your permit might have “single entry” endorsed on it. With the aforementioned requirements, you should find the process quite easy to undertake.