South African Visa Requirements

Since the introduction of volunteers needing unabridged birth certificates and various other documentation should they be Under 18 years of age, and traveling alone, the tourism industry including the volunteer industry, have been tearing their hair out.

To put matters into perspective, it is good that visa rules apply as you would have any Tom, Dick or Harry (apologies to any volunteer with those names) crossing borders and staying put because, seemingly, the grass is greener on the other side.

I am here to warn you what you would need if you are wanting to volunteer for longer than 90 days and perhaps to take your entire Gap Year in beautiful Cape Town and are 18 years and older.

  • Plan to take time to travel to your nearest South African Embassy and prepare yourself for a head-ache, you have to apply in person!
  • Check for an interview date which is convenient for you and book it well in advance before it gets snapped up by someone other eager beaver wanting to come to South Africa.
  • Budget for the visa costs (and travel costs to get there) and budget for additional costs if at first you do not succeed!
  • Prepare for a return trip to South Africa as we will guarantee you will come back within the next 2 years after you leave here.  Check if they have visa’s which will last 5 or 10 years.

VIsa application form with pen,closeup,for immigration,travel,social issues themes

The Visa requirements for volunteers who are volunteering in South Africa for longer than 90 days are hectic and it is always best to get all the paperwork done and out of the way, than leaving it for the last minute. Especially as you need to go to the South African Embassy in person and for some people, this means having to travel quite a distance.

We have uploaded an updated Visa form which is available on your MyTrip for download. You will also need:

  • Passport
  • 2 Passport photographs
  • AVIVA will provide you with Certified Copies of our Volunteer Coordinators, ID or passport, proof of accommodation at the AVIVA House plus a support letter.
  • 3 Months bank statements which are to be stamped by your bank, verifying your account, name and address and confirming you have enough funds to stay in the country for the length of time you are volunteering.
  • Radiology report confirming you are clear for TB (tuberculosis)
  • A medical report from your doctor confirming you are in good health and have no infectious illness.
  • Police Clearance


To apply for your visa:

  • All applicants must apply in person.
  • No fixed flight arrangements have to be made until the visa has been attained. Provisional flight tickets are required only if the stay is under 12 months.
  • Payment can be made by credit card, debit card, postal order or cash (change may not be available at the time of the application).
  • Documents issued in a foreign language must be officially translated to English by a sworn translator.

And for your information ….. you now need a Visa to enter Kenya but the good news is you are allowed to apply using a mobile phone and they accept photos taken by and uploaded with a mobile phone.