Basic entry requirements

Do you want to travel to South Africa and spend a holiday in Gauteng? There are basic entry and territory requirements, including new legal requirements for children under the age of 18 entering the country (see below).

Please note that the information provided here is to be used as a guide only.

Please consult with the relevant embassy or your travel agency before you travel.

Requirements for entry into South Africa

You will need the following before travelling to South Africa:

  • A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for your intended stay
  • At least one blank page in your passport for endorsements
  • A valid visa, if required
  • Sufficient funds to pay for day-to-day expenses during your stay
  • A return or onward ticket
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificates are required if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America

Requirements for children travelling to and from South Africa

If you have children (minors: under 18 years of age) travelling with you or joining you in South Africa, you are now required by law to provide the following additional documents:

  • Proof of guardianship or custody of said child/ren
  • Written consent from the guardian in the case of an unaccompanied minor

When an adult travels with a child to or from South Africa, he or she has to produce, among other documents, an unabridged birth certificate in respect of that child at any port of entry. This applies to:

  • South African travellers travelling internationally and returning to the country from another country
  • Foregin nationals travelling to and from the country who require a visa to visit South Africa
  • Foreign nationals travelling to and from South Africa who do not require a visa to visit the country

A parent is defined as biological or adoptive parents or a court-appointed legal guardian and must be in possession of:

  • An unabridged birth certificate for the child that reflects the identities and vital particulars of the parents (an equivalent document in lieu of an unabridged birth certificate is available from the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa)

Where both parents are travelling together accompanied by one or more children, parents have to produce:

  • A passport and/or visa for each traveller, including every child
  • An unabridged birth certificate of each child

Where only one parent is travelling with a child, he or she has to produce:

  • A passport and/or visa for each traveller, including every child
  • An unabridged birth certificate of every child
  • A recently dated affidavit from the other parent registered on the birth certificate of the child authorising him or her to enter into or depart from South Africa with the child, or a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of any child to the travelling parent
  •  Alternatively, a death certificate of the other parent

Where a person is travelling with a child who is not his or her biological child, he or she has to produce:

  • A passport and/or visa for each traveller, including every child
  • An unabridged birth certificate of the child
  • An affidavit from both parents giving permission to travel with the child; alternatively an affidavit from one parent and death certificate of the other, or court order reflecting full parental rights having been conferred on the single parent
  • Copies of the identities or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child
  • The telephonic contact numbers of the parents of the child

An unaccompanied child has to produce:

  • A passport and/or visa
  • A letter or affidavit of consent from one or both of his or her parents or legal guardian granting permission to the child to travel into or depart from South Africa
  • Where only one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must also provide:
    • A copy of a court order in terms of which he or she has full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child
  • A letter from the person who is to receive her or him in South Africa containing that person's residential address and contact details in South Africa where the child will be staying
  • A copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child
  • The contact numbers of the parents or legal guardian of the child

Click here to read more.

Vaccination requirements

Currently the only mandatory vaccine for visitors coming to South Africa is for yellow fever – if they are coming from countries at risk of yellow fever, or transiting such countries.

These travellers should show proof of a yellow fever vaccination by means of a yellow fever certificate, which is valid for 10 years. These certificates must be approved by the World Health organisation.

These vaccinations should be done at least 10 days before departure to South Africa.

  • Click here for more on vaccines
  • Click here for a list of countries for which a yellow fever vaccination is required before entry into South Africa
This detail of an International Certificate of Vaccination shows a vaccination against yellow fever

This detail of an International Certificate of Vaccination shows a vaccination against yellow fever

Financial information

As a foreign visitor, you can bring in up to R25 000 in South African currency (rands), plus an unlimited amount in foreign currencies and traveller’s cheques, provided you declare this on arrival.

On departure, you can also take out R25 000 in South African currency (rands), and up to the amount in foreign currencies and traveller's cheques that you declared when you arrived (provided you didn't stay for more than 12 months).

Vat refunds for tourists

Value-added tax (VAT) at a rate of 14% is levied on the purchase of most goods in South Africa.

Non-resident foreign passport holders, older than seven years of age and on a temporary visit to South Africa, are able to claim a VAT refund, provided that VAT was levied by the supplier, and the supplier is a VAT-registered vendor, who issued you with a tax invoice.