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South Africa

Country info

Capital Pretoria
Population 49,000,000
Area 1,221,037
Currency South African Rand (R)
Spoken languages Afrikaans

Au pair in South Africa

South Africa does not have an official au pair program, but offers cultural/economic/social exchange programs. Students may apply for a Student Permit in South Africa.

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If you are a foreign student and wish to study in South Africa you can apply for a Student Permit by completing Form BI-1738. Study permits must be applied for at any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs near the educational institution you will be studying at or at the nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.

Study permits are valid for the duration of the course for which they are issued, alternatively 36 months for school and 24 months for other institutions.

The following documents must be submitted with the BI-1738 application form:

  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses during the sojourn in the Republic and to also pay for the tuition fees. This should be in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available, or
    • travellers’ cheques
  • Proof of medical cover
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket. In the case of African students, an undertaking from the relevant government to take full responsibility of the student and to pay all costs, should it become necessary to deport the student
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • In the case of a minor, the particulars of the person in the Republic of South Africa who will act as the learner’s guardian and a letter from such person confirming guardianship
  • Consent from both parents for your stay in South Africa, or from the parent who has sole custody, along with proof of sole custody
  • An official letter from the educational institution, where you intend to study, confirming provisional acceptance and the duration of the course.
  • If you are 18 years and older, a police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years is required. This should be submitted with the application or within three months of submission 

As a holder of a study permit you may also apply for permission to work for the purposes of getting work experience, as part of your studies to obtain a diploma or degree by submitting:

  • an offer to do practical training
  • consent from the educational institution
  • proof that your are still a registered student

The Department’s consent to get practical training as part of your studies is issued free of charge provided that you are a registered student and that your study permit remains valid for the entire duration of the training period.

Alternatively, as a foreigner studying at a higher educational institution with a valid study permit, you may work part-time for no more than 20 hours per week. However, you may not work during academic vacations.

The overriding consideration in processing applications for study permits are that:

  • No foreigner may displace a South African citizen/resident at a local educational institution
  • The student must have proof of sufficient funds to pay for day-to-day living expenses, accommodation as well as tuition fees during his/her stay in South Africa
  • The student must have adequate medical cover with a registered South African medical scheme and proof thereof

Visas for cultural / economic / social exchange programmes

An exchange visa may be issued to you if you are participating in a programme of cultural, economic or social exchange that is organised or administered by an organ of state, or a public higher education institution in conjunction with an organ of a foreign state.

You can apply for your exchange visa at any South Africa embassy or mission abroad.

You will also need to provide the following documentation:

  • Application Form BI-1738 (application for a temporary residency permit)
  • A valid passport
  • A letter from the entity, organisation or family where you intend to conduct your programme in South Africa, confirming the status or existence of the exchange programme. The letter should prove that you qualify to register or participate and the entity, organisation or family will be responsible for you during your stay
  • A letter from an organ of state or a sponsoring body of your home country, confirming the status or the existence of the exchange programme, and that you have been accepted to register for the programme.

Requirements for extending your visa

  • Once a person arrives at a South African port of entry, the visa is then regarded as a visitor’s permit. Most visas or visitor’s permits are issued for a maximum period of 90 days.
  • If your visit exceeds 90 days, you will need to apply for temporary residence permit instead of a visitor’s visa.
  • Remember that the requirements for a temporary residence permit is not the same as a visitor’s visa.
  • If the need arises to have your visa extended, you will need to contact any office of the Department of Home Affairs and apply for the extension of the visitor’s permit
  • You will need to complete the temporary residency Form BI-1738 and pay additional fees as prescribed.
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