All full degree and Semester Study Abroad international students who received an offer to study at UCT are required to apply for a study visa endorsed for studies at UCT.
Study Visa application processing times can take up to three months or longer particularly at busy times when many students are applying or at the end of the year when the consulates and embassies are closed for the holiday period. We recommend you apply for your visa as soon as you accept your study offer.
Full degree and SSA students travelling on a tourist visa are not able to register for study at UCT. Where an international student fails to take up a study offer, the offer is revoked and the University is obliged to inform the immigration authorities. Ensure you apply well in advance for your study visa covering the full duration of your programme of study.
You must apply for your study visa from the South Africa embassy, high commission or consulate in your home country or normal country of residence. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation lists the South African missions by country.
Applications can be made to the nearest South African embassy, consulate or high commission; or through the Visa Facilitation Service Office (VFS).
You require medical aid cover from a medical aid scheme registered with the South African Council of Medical Aid Schemes before submitting your visa application. The cover must be for one year (renewable annually) or for the full duration of the study programme and intended stay in South Africa where this is shorter than one year.
We recommend two schemes are providing good medical cover and value for money:
If you are officially recognised by the South African Department of Home Affairs as a refugee or asylum seeker, you do not need a study visa. You will need to provide an original or certified copy of your official refugee or asylum seeker permit at registration for your programme of study.
We recommend that you check the requirements for the embassy or consulate of the country in which you are applying as they may vary or change.
You must apply for your study visa from the South Africa embassy, high commission or consulate in your home country or normal country of residence. You cannot apply for a study visa after travelling to South Africa on a different visa.
All documents should be original. Where the requirements allow for copies, these must be certified copies of the original.
A certified copy is a photocopy of the original document with an original certified stamp indicating that the authorised person has verified the original document against the photocopy. An authorised person is a Commissioner of Oaths.
When applying for your study visa, you’ll need a number of documents, including your passport, evidence of finances and letters from UCT.
The visa issuing authorities will take your biometric data (fingerprints and ID photographs) when you submit your application.
Minors (under 18 at the time of the visa application)
In addition to the documents all applicants require, you will need
Additional documents you may be asked for, in the event of travelling through a yellow fever high risk area or if travelling with a spouse or children
When the embassy or consulate returns your passport, we recommend that you carefully check your study visa to ensure
If any details in the visa are incorrect, immediately notify the embassy/ consulate/ high commission/ VFS of the error, before travelling to South Africa.
On arrival in South Africa, we recommend that you carefully check the entry stamp in your passport to ensure
International students in South Africa on a study visa can work for up to 20 hours per week for paid employment. The conditions of employment must be ‘part-time’.
International students and researchers at the University of Cape Town (UCT) who are making an application to renew their current visa to undertake continued study and/or research at UCT need to adhere to the following process.
To request a Letter of Undertaking for a visa renewal, complete this online form.
To request a letter in support of an application for a visitors’ visa endorsed for research or study, complete this online form.
To request letters in support of accommodation confirmation for a study visa OR to open a bank account in South Africa, complete this online form.