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South Africa Visa Guide

International Working Holidays is here to help you - our amazing NZ volunteers - get through the visa application as painlessly as possible. 

tracking Claire Welgevonden Big 5 Volunteer.jpg

Important things to note first

  • NZ Passport holders must obtain a VISITOR visa for South Africa for stays less than three months
  • NZ Passport holders must obtain a VOLUNTEER VISITOR visa for stays more than three months
  • TRANSIT - check with our Travel Guru Dale at IWH Travel if you need a transit visa  - she knows which flights do or don't - she will try and book you only on flights that do not need a transit visa
  • The South African High Commission has only two South African Visa Application Centres in Auckland and Wellington.
  • The centres, are run by VFS Global. They have an appointment-based system, secure dispatch system, and walk-ins can also be accommodated.
  • Both the above Visas cost $181 (including VFS service fees).
  • New Zealand passport holders in Australia can apply for visas at the South African High Commission in Canberra, and must bring proof of residence. 
  • Those in other countries can also submit their applications at the nearest South African Embassy, High Commission or local VFS.
  • The centres are open 0830-1500 Monday - Friday. 

Documents required

  1. Completed Application form DHA-84.
  2. Original valid machine readable Passport / Travel Document valid for no less than (30) days after the expiry of the intended visit with three (3) completely blank pages.
  3. One (1) passport size photo.
  4. Travel itinerary showing onward or return flight details (PRELIMINARY BOOKING ONLY, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE FIRM TRAVEL BOOKING). In the case of transit purposes, proof of onward passage. Our travel team will provide this for you. 
  5. Proof of sufficient funds to cover the living expenses in the form of: Recent bank statement for 3 months, or Cash available / traveller's cheques. $1100NZ per month. 
  6. The Visa letter (we have provided you already), signed and dated. This doubles as your proof of accommodation and food provided. Email us if you need this again. 
  7. A recent certified copy of our South Africa partners ID (your host) which we have provided you.  Scanned copy is acceptable. Email us if you need this again. 
  8. Leave letter from the employer if you have ongoing employment in New Zealand. If you are self employed or not taking leave, please add that detail to your cover letter. They want to ensure you have ties to home and won't overstay.
  9. A cover letter from you confirming the purpose and duration of the visit signed and dated. Please include the visa type you are applying for. (Visitor Visa in most cases unless you are staying more than three months)
  10. Visa fee. 
  11. Yellow fever certificates only are required if the journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.

Notes for ALL applicants applying for the volunteer visa (3+ months):

  • You will also need copies of bank statements for last three months showing at least $1100NZ of savings per month of your visa. The bank statements must be provided in your name and must be sufficient to cover the full duration of your volunteer period in South Africa. They need to be stamped by the bank to prove authenticity. 
  • If the amount is being transferred to the your account from your parent’s / spouse account, a letter must be written by you stating that the funds transferred will be used for the sole purpose of their visit in South Africa.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted. 

Failing to meet any of the following requirements will also render the application incomplete

  • All copies of ID/Passport/Residence permit of host in South Africa must be certified copies – that is, certified by the Police in South Africa or a Commissioner of Oaths; #7 above
  • Invitation letter from host in South Africa must be signed; #6 above
  • All bank statements must be stamped by the bank, or accompanied by a separate letter from the bank verifying the account, name and address of the client. #5 above
  • To apply for your visa from NZ go to: Start the Visa application here
  • The required documents are listed here: Required Documents for the South Africa Volunteer Visa

These details are correct at time of publishing but please check the VFS Site for up to date info. 

Processing Times

  • Processing time is 5 to 7 working days from receipt of application if application is complete.
  • Applicants can only lodge their applications if the intended travel date to RSA is within next 90 days.
  • Applicants should also note that processing times are minimum as stated, and in some cases may take longer.

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