In order to study in South Africa, you will need to apply for a Study Permit (visa). This process may seem daunting but don’t worry – your program manager will walk you through every step, and send you details of everything you will need, including some of the documentation materials required for your Study Permit application. If you are traveling internationally in the months leading up to your program start date, please let your program manager know.

  • U.S. citizens short-term (summer) programs do not require a study permit and are eligible to enter South Africa on a visas waiver that is granted at the airport upon arrival. No prior clearance is necessary. This waiver is valid for 90 days.
  • All students must have three blank pages in their passport upon entry into South Africa (thus all students should have at least four blank pages when leaving the U.S.). This is an immigration requirement and anyone who does not have three blank pages will be denied entry. Check your passport for these extra pages and make sure to request new pages if you do not have a sufficient amount. Your passport must also remain valid for at least six months upon completion of studies.
  • Please review the requirements for securing your Study Permit.
  • Check out our South Africa Visa Checklist 

Important Notes:

  • The proof of medical report form is Form BI-811
  • You must either get a radiological report/chest x-ray and complete Form BI-806.
  • The Consulate requires an FBI Certificate (full criminal background report); however, due to delays in regular FBI processing (which can take over 12 weeks), it is highly recommended that you utilize an FBI-Approved Channeler. See the list of FBI-Approved Channelers.
    • These FBI Channelers process your background check and typically return a hard copy tamper-resistant document and/or electronic PDF.  Most South African Consular offices accept the electronic version, but can require a hardcopy version – The South African Embassy in Washington DC requires the hard copy, which can be obtained through National Background Check, Inc.
  • Arcadia will provide:
    • Proof of health coverage,
    • Official letter from your host institution in South Africa,
    • and the letter of enrollment from the U.S. institution (Arcadia).

These three documents will be emailed to you by your Program Manager, as soon as they become available.

  • For the Notarized Birth Certificate, please use this form as a template which you can ask a local notary to complete, along with attaching a copy of your birth certificate. A notary will require that the original is present to finalize the notarized copy form and that you personally copy the document.
  • For the Notarized copy of bio page of the passport, please use this form as a template which you can ask a local notary to complete, along with attaching a copy of the bio page of your passport. A notary typically requires that the original is present to finalize the notarized copy form and that you personally copy the document.
  • The Proof of Financial Means in the form of a bank statement does not require a specific minimum amount. Please use the this template as the notarized letter from parents stating their financial responsibility.
  • You will need to pay an application fee.
  • In addition to the items listed online, you should be prepared to include a yellow fever vaccination certificate only if you are traveling through a country where yellow fever is present before entering South Africa.

Submission of Study Permit Application

All applicants are required to apply in person at the South African mission. Mailed applications will no longer be accepted.

Please refer to your jurisdiction below and be sure to call to make an appointment at your respective Consulate. Walk-ins may be available, though please check with your Consulate directly. If you would like your Passport/Visa mailed back to you, you will need to provide a prepaid, self-addressed USPS Express envelope. Please be sure to keep a record of the tracking number. Average processing time is 10-15 business days, though we recommend that you apply as early as possible.


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

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:

The South African Embassy in Washington, DC
3051 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 232-4400
Fax: (202) 244-9417

Be sure to make copies of everything for your records.

If you have any questions regarding the visa process, contact your program manager or call 1-866-927-2234.