How To Apply For South African Study Visa

Nigerian students received 28.3% of the total South African study visa issued across non-SADC African countries in 2019. This was according to StatsSA. The report further states that a total of 2,306 Nigerians came to South Africa in 2019 to study. This figure shows that Nigeria is the leading country in Africa, among the 10 African nations that mostly adopt South Africa as a country of choice for study. And there are indications that the influx of Nigerian students to South Africa will increase over the years due to the high demand for highly skilled immigrants across the South African economy.

Nigerian students received 28.3% of the total South African study visa issued across non-SADC African countries in 2019 which accounted for 2,306 Nigerians coming to South Africa in 2019 for the purpose of studying.
Table showing the number of Nigerians that arrived in South Africa in 2019 and their purpose of visit

If you are a Nigerian planning to apply for a South African study visa, this article has been prepared with you in mind. The post will cover study visa requirements and specifically how to go about your South African study visa application from Nigeria.

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Notes on SAQA, Study Grants & Visa

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs is the government agency responsible for monitoring immigration into South Africa. This agency has guidelines for the issuance of visas to foreign nationals such as Nigerians who wish to study in South Africa. To study at any of the South African universities, you will need a valid study visa. Your visa will usually last for the years you will spend on your course of study. It goes without saying that, before applying for a study visa, you need to evaluate your qualifications with SAQA before you can secure admission at any South African University. Moreover, before you can also apply for a scholarship or study grant, you will also first apply for a study visa. Read this post on how to apply for evaluation of your academic qualifications with SAQA.

Requirements For South African Study Visa

  • Form BI-1738. You are expected to fill all spaces and sign with a black pen.
  • Payment of the prescribed Visa fee.
  • A Nigeria International Passport is required. Your passport must still be valid for three months in South Africa after completing your course of study. Two blank visa endorsement pages are also required.
  • Passport photographs. You need 2, and they must be recent and with a plain or white background.
  • Letter from your institution confirming provisional admission and the duration of your course of study in South Africa.
  • Proof of Accommodation. If your prospective school is not providing you with accommodation, you need to prove that you have secured alternative accommodation. A lease agreement and or proof of payment for your accommodation will be sufficient.
  • Educational certificates. Academic records such as your WAEC result slip or certificates from tertiary school degrees you have completed.
  • Bank statement. It should show that you can support yourself for the period of studying.
  • Yellow Fever vaccination. You will also need the Yellow Fever Vaccination, preferably from a public health department. The certificate should include your age, name, gender, date of vaccination, etc. After the yellow fever vaccination, you will be handed a vaccination certificate. In Nigeria, it is called the e-Yellow Fever Card.
  • Medical and radiology report. It must be signed by a medical practitioner indicating that you are free from any serious or contagious disease.
  • Medical cover
  • Also, a police report if you are over 18, stating that you have no criminal records.
  • Birth certificate (for underage applicants).
Visa stamp

Other information you might need as circumstances may differ:

  • If you are underage, aside from your birth certificate, you will need a guardian who will provide proof of address and contact address, a confirmatory letter to be your guardian, and proof of consent from your real or legal parents/guardian.
  • Undertaking: This is a letter from the principal or registrar of the school you are applying to. The letter will provide proof of your registration between the 60 days after you register.
  • Foreign support. This applies to people who are being supported or sponsored by a foreign state. The supporter will provide an undertaking indicating to sponsor your departure away from South Africa.
  • A medical cover that is renewable annually during your stay in South Africa.
  • Another undertaking from your legal guardian. This should express that you will maintain the same medical cover during the entire duration of your course.
  • Finally, they might ask for proof of financial means. You don’t need to worry if you are being sponsored. The undertaking of your sponsor will do. Most times, your bank statement showing you are financially buoyant for the next three months would be enough.

South African Study Visa Appointment Booking

All visa applications must be made through the Visa Facilitation Services centre (VFS). Study visa applications can be made at any of the three VFS visa application centres in Nigeria. See below the physical addresses and contact numbers for VFS in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt.

Abuja VFS;

address; Wuse 2, Lobito Crescent, Abuja. You can call them: 01 46 28 098.

The office opens on Mondays – Fridays, 8:00 am to 3: 00 pm

Lagos VFS;

Ground floor, the Manor Plot 110, Admiral Ayinla Way, Lekki Phase 1. Lagos.

Port Harcourt VFS;

88 Woji Road, Elechi 500271, Port Harcourt

South African Study Visa Fee

Visa fees are subject to change without notice. The fees usually change every year, and the foreign exchange rate is also one of the biggest factors influencing the fees. Moreover, there are three fees that you are expected to pay; visa fee, service fee, and courier fee.

Payment for South African study visa fees are made via POS only

The current cost estimates for these fees are as below;

Visa fee: N8,600

Service fee: N25,470

Courier Service: N4,500 per passport

Note that all visa fees payment are made via POS only.

Student Visa Processing Time

The processing time for your South Africa study visa is about 2 – 3 months (8 – 12 weeks). The time estimate will depend on the circumstances surrounding your application.

Tracking Your Study Visa Application

To check the status of your application, visit the VFS tracking page here. Once the page loads, provide the needed information, starting with your AURN number and your last name. The AURN on the VFS visa tracking page refers to the Reference Number on your visa application receipt from VFS.

To check the status of your South African study visa application, visit the VFS track and trace page

Study Visa Collection

To collect your visa, you will need to visit your nearest VFS centre with your visa application’s payment receipt and ID.

Study Visa Extension In South Africa

Before you go down this lane, let’s differentiate between visas and permits based on South Africa’s Home Affairs Department’s definitions. Home Affairs used to refer to them as the same thing in the past, but now the difference is clearer:

  • People who are applying for temporary residence are issued visas
  • People who are applying for residence permanently are given permits

To apply for a Study Visa Extension while in South Africa, follow the visa application tips below;

  • You need to apply 60 days before the expiry date of your study visa.
  • You must submit your study visa extension application at the nearest VFS office. See a complete list of VFS offices across South Africa here.
  • You will need all the previous requirements you used for applying for the study visa. Check the list mentioned above if you are not sure.
  • Check out the link for an online application to renew an existing visa, such as a study visa. Read carefully and provide all the needed information.
In the past, visas and permits used to mean the same thing, but now the difference is clearer. Visas are issued for temporary residents such as the South African study visa, while permits are for permanent residents

Other Information That May Help:

Accommodation in South Africa

Accommodation in South Africa for a room apartment may range from N40,000 to N120,000 per month. The accommodation cost is further influenced by location and whether you will be sharing your space with others.

Working in South Africa

There are opportunities for jobs in South Africa. This will depend on your area of discipline and your qualification. However, your level of skills is a strong determining factor.

Cost of flight to South Africa

Budget a minimum of N150,000. The cost might be lower than you expect if you book your flight earlier than scheduled. Search for flights, compare their prices and instantly book your plane ticket here.

Organizations you need to know about as an aspiring student in South Africa

SAQA – stands for the South African Qualification Authority. It is a body given the legal power to maintain quality in the training and educational sector in South Africa. You need a SAQA evaluation certificate before you can get university admission in South Africa. Read this article on how to apply for your SAQA evaluation certificate. Best wishes and, please share your experience if this post as being of help.


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