The United States is one of the biggest sources of tourists for Africa’s most advanced country, South Africa.
Every year, nearly half a million Americans visit South Africa, and the number is only going up. The allure of a quality and authentic safari, or a digital detox continues to grow, and South Africa is a big contender.
South Africa has made deals with several countries, which have eliminated the visa requirement for its citizens all together, in certain instances.
Do US citizens require a visa to visit South Africa?
Well, for the most part, no.
If you are a US citizen traveling to South Africa for 90 days or less, for either business or tourism, you are exempt from the visa requirement.
For you to be admitted into the country however, your passport needs to be valid for at least 30 days after your intended date of departure.
For example if you are planning to stay for 14 days, your passport needs to have an expiry time later than 34 days.
If you’re staying for the maximum 90 days, you should be looking at 120 days on the passport. Further, your passport must contain at least 2 unused visa pages.
Traveling for more than 90 days to South Africa
In a case where an American citizen plans to stay in South Africa for more than 90 days, he/she will be required to apply for a visa. Applications can only be made in person at a South African embassy or consulate, and no appointment is required… simply walk in.
South Africa has spread out its missions in the US to allow ease of service delivery. Their main embassy is in Washington DC, but they have consular services in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
South Africa US consular contacts
South Africa embassy Washington DC.
3400 International Drive, NW
District of Columbia
South Africa Consulate, New York
South Africa Consulate, Chicago
South Africa Consulate, Los Angeles
Do US green card holders require a visa to visit South Africa?
US green card holders may or may not be required to apply for a visa to South Africa. It all depends on your country of origin.
If your original country is visa-exempt, you are not required to apply for a visa. Some of the visa exempt countries include: Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Japan, United Kingdom etc. You can find the full list of visa exempt countries HERE.
For citizens of other countries holding US green cards, eg. India, Colombia and Mexico, they will be required to apply for a visa, but are exempt from paying visa fees.
Do US citizens Require Yellow Fever Vaccination When Visiting South Africa?
For a direct flight between the US and South Africa, yellow fever vaccination is not mandatory.
However, if a traveler will pass through a country prone to yellow fever, he/she is required to have vaccination administered within 10 days before departure to South Africa.
This will not often be a problem if your transit flight is through Europe, Asia or the Middle East.
However, most of Africa, Central and South America fall within this belt.
See a list of all countries in the yellow fever belt here.
Do US Citizens Require a Work Visa in South Africa?
If the intended reason for the visit is to conduct short term or urgent work, authorization must first be sought at a South African mission.
These include but not limited to: film crews, trainers, instructors etc.
Short term is defined as not exceeding 3 months.
However, visas cannot be issued for internships.
Do You Need Travel Insurance To Visit South Africa?
While this is not mandated by the government, many travel agencies will require you to have a travel insurance. Please check with yours before leaving.
For those traveling without an agency, there are many options for cheap one-off insurance packages both in the US and in South Africa.
Do South African Citizens Require a Visa to Visit the United States?
Despite the lenient visa requirements for US citizens in South Africa, it is a one way street.
South Africa is not among countries where the visa requirement has been waived by the United States.
Citizens of South Africa need a visa to visit the US, but the application process is relatively easy.
For a visit of up to 90 days (Non-immigrant Visa), here’s what you need.
– A South African passport
– Complete the DS-160 form.. Found here.
– Create a user account here, with the DS-160 confirmation number.
– Pay the visa application fee ($160).
– Schedule and attend your appointment at the consulate.
For visa renewals, a consular appointment may not be necessary.
The application fee is non-refundable, whether you get the visa or are refused.
Now Read: Does it Snow in South Africa?