My responsibilities at work require that I travel to South Africa this year and next year. I’ve been to Johannesburg twice now and I will be there again next year. As a Filipino residing in the USA, I need to apply for a visa. I’m writing about my experience in applying for a visa to help anyone who needs to.
Who need a visa to go to South Africa?
If you are a US citizen, you don’t need a visa to go to South Africa. The South African Government has established some relationships with other countries, which led to visa-free arrangements.
TO check if you require a visa, please visit the following link: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries. This list may change, so better check the website of the South African embassy you are applying at or visit the South Africa Department of Home Affairs website. If you did not see your country in the list, it means you need to apply for a visa.
There are also countries that do not require to pay the visa fee. It so happened that Philippine passport holders do not need to pay for the visa fee.
South African embassies and state jurisdictions
If you are in the United States, make sure to check which embassy covers your state of residence. You can just apply at any embassy. Check the jurisdiction where you can file your visa application. This information is taken from the South African Consulate General in New York.
You can give them a call or send them an email. In my experience, they do not always answer calls. But they usually answer emails within 24-48 hours.
Before going to the embassy, take note of the days when they are open for visa applications.
For residents of Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia:
The South African Consulate General in New York City
Attention: Home Affairs Section
333 East 38th Street, 9th Floor
New York NY 10016
Tel: (212) 213-4880
Fax: (212) 856-1575
Visa, Immigration and Passport Sections are open for applications and inquiries from Monday to Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 pm only.
For residents of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin:
The South African Consulate General in Chicago
Attention: Home Affairs Section
200 South Michigan Avenue, 6th Floor
Chicago IL 60604
Tel. (312) 939-7929
Fax: (312) 939-2588
For residents of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming:
The South African Consulate General in Los Angeles
Attention: Home Affairs Section
6300 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Tel. (323) 651-0902
Fax: (323) 651-5969
For residents of Alabama, District of Colombia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands:
Tourist Visa Requirements
Do check the website of the South African consulate or embassy you are applying at for the latest and most updated information. For the South African Consulate General in New York, all visa-related information can be found on this link: http://www.southafrica-newyork.net/homeaffairs/visitorsvisa.htm
Please pay attention to the text in blue below for my comments and additional tips.
- Machine readable valid passport with at least two (2) unused (blank) pages labeled Visa when presented at the Embassy or Consulate; one page for affixing the visa or permit by the embassy/consulate and the other page for endorsement of entry/departure stamp by the South African Immigration Services. Passport must be valid for 30 more days after the intended return date from South Africa. [Make sure that your passport really has two (2) blank pages. They take that seriously and you may be refused boarding by the airline if you don’t have this.]
- A duly completed Visa application form DHA-84 signed by applicant
Note: Under Permanent Residential Address, please state the address in the United States where you reside.
- Two (2) passport photos with white or light background
- A valid return/round trip air flight or proof of reservation. [Don’t ever buy your ticket before your visa is approved. You may end up wasting money and time.]
- Certified/notarized copy of birth certificate in case of children below 18 years
- Consent letter from parent(s) in case of child/children traveling alone or with other parent
- Proof of sufficient funds (recent three months bank statement stamped by bank, etc.) [If you have online banking, download your statements from the past three months and print them.]
- Proof of legal status for non-U.S. citizens (Certified/notarized copy of greencard, H1B, F1, J1, etc.). [This is very important! If you don’t know a notary public, go to a UPS store, they usually have one.]
- Certified/notarized copy of bio page of the applicant’s passport
- A statement or documentation detailing the purpose and duration of the visit
- Proof of hotel accommodation (confirmed hotel reservation or a letter of invitation from the host (relative or friend) in South Africa
- Proof of host’s legal status in South Africa (copy of I.D. Book/ passport if South African citizen,) or copy of passport and a copy of visa or residence status in South Africa, certified by the South African Police Service.
- Non-refundable fee of $36.00 money order [Make this payable to the South African Consulate General (SACG). Go to the post office to get a money order. They will NOT accept cash, personal check or credit card.]
- Yellow fever certificate is required if applicant is passing through yellow fever belt area before entering South Africa.
- Attention New York Applicants: The South African Consulate General in New York will no longer accept prepaid envelope/labels from FedEx and UPS with immediate effect. Applicants are welcome to enclose only US Postal Service self-addressed, pre-paid courier envelope for this office to facilitate return services.
I have applied twice for a visa at the South African Consulate General in New York City. I’ve been impressed by their turn around time. In April 2017, I flew there from Nashville in the morning; arrived in New York City at about 10 am, rode the bus and the Metro, and by 11:30 am, I was at the consulate.
Exactly five business days later, I received my passport back with the South African visa stamped on it.
Apply for your South African visa as early as possible. You may apply for one as early as 3 months before your trip.
I have found it easy to apply for my South African visa. There wasn’t any hassle at all.
The employees at the Consulate in New York are courteous and professional. The building is easy to find and navigate to.
Take the Metro if you are comfortable. Otherwise, take an Uber from the airport. It is a bit expensive, yes, but it is definitely convenient.
Prepare ALL the documents to make sure that you get your visa in time for your departure.