Nigeria to South Africa: Step-by-Step Checklist for your Study Visa

Are you a Nigerian looking to study in South Africa? Feeling unsure about the Visa process? We’ve created this step-by-step guide to help you get your visa as easily as possible.

The first step to studying in South Africa is getting your study Visa in order. It’s a long-term Visa, meaning it will take some time and effort to get it together. This guide will help you make the whole process as easy as possible.

First things first. The South African High Commission has created a Visa requirement checklist, specifically for Nigerian students. Check it out here. We know it looks like a lot, but take it step-by-step.  This way, you can be confident that you will have everything you need. Let’s get started.

General Requirements

1. Application form

This form is called a DHA 1738 and includes information like your personal details and health stuff. You can find the form here.

2. Two identical passport photographs

Pretty standard.

3. Your passport

It is kind of important NOT to forget this!

4. Copies of your passport data page

This is the part of your passport with your picture and personal information on it. You should also attach copies of previous visas that you’ve been issued.

5. A self-introduction letter

This letter should explain a little about who you are, your qualifications and anything else that may make you look respectable. Be brief. This letter is just to show the South African government that they shouldn’t be worried about you entering the country.

6. A letter from an employer

This is a letter from a previous employer in which they give a short recommendation of you. This letter will have to have your employer’s full name, signature, physical address and phone number.

7. Proof of your accommodation bookings

Make sure you get this directly from the place you are staying at and not from who you booked with.

8. International travelling certificate

This is a vaccination certificate given to you after receiving your yellow fever vaccination. There are many agencies selling fake certificates, so it is a good idea to get yours at the department of public health at an international airport.

9. Bank statement

You will need a bank statement for the last three months. If someone is sponsoring your trip, you will need a financial support letter from them. This must include their name, address, phone number, a copy of their ID data page and a three month bank statement.

10. Birth Certificate

You are probably not under-age, but if you are, or if you are bringing a minor into SA you will need a copy of their birth certificate.

11. A marriage certificate

This will only be needed if you are married.  Obviously.

12. Money

You will need N8 600 for your visa fee. There is also a service charge levied per application, in addition to the visa fees. When we checked, this was N22 770 in Lagos and Abuja.  In Port Harcourt, it will cost N42 770.

13. Flight Booking

You don’t have to pay for your flight beforehand to get your flight booking. Your airport should allow you to reserve a flight for a week or two without paying which you can use as your flight booking.

14. Police Clearance

You can get a police clearance from the Central Criminal Registry. Remember to bring a valid passport, two passport-size photographs and enough money to pay for it. The cost varies, depending where you are.  The best strategy is to phone ahead and find out how much to take.

15. Medical and Radiological Report

The medical report can be found here and the radiological report can be found here. You’re welcome.

Additional Supporting Documents

Some of these documents may not apply to you. If they do, make sure you have them. They are just as important as the previous ones.

  1. Acceptance letter. You will need an acceptance letter, or evidence of being provisionally accepted, from the university or college you plan to study at.
  2. Undertaking. Say what now?!  Basically, you will need a letter from the Registrar or Principal of the university/college. In this letter, they must undertake to do a few things. These things include providing proof of your registration (within 60 days of your registration).  Or, if you fail to register by the closing date, the fact that they will notify the Director-General of this within 7 days of the closing date. It should also include the fact that they will notify the Director General when you finish your degree or, for some other reasons, you are no longer registered with the university or college. This has to happen within 30 days.
  3. If you are under 18. You will need to provide your birth certificate, passport, proof of address and contact number of the person who is acting as your guardian. You will also need a confirmatory letter from that person. Finally, you will need proof of consent from your legal guardian.
  4. Foreign support. If a foreign state is accepting responsibility for you, you will need a written undertaking from that state to pay for your departure from South Africa.
  5. Medical cover. You will need proof of medical cover, and that it will be renewed annually for the time that you are studying.
  6. Undertaking #2. Seriously?! Another undertaking?  Chill, you will also just need an undertaking from your legal guardian.  This needs to state that you will have the same kind of medical cover for the time that you are studying.
  7. Proof of financial means. You will need proof of having sufficient financial means. Your 3-month bank statement, mentioned earlier, will be fine.

And that’s it. We know.  It is a lot, but you need to make sure you check everything on this list before sending in your application. Remember, step two is to go to a VFS Application Centre in Lagos or Abuja and submit your visa application. The timelines given by the South African High Commission in Nigeria for the processing of each application is a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks. After that, you just need to wait it out.

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South Africa has a number of great universities. Nine South African universities were included in the QS World University Rankings of 2018. The University of Cape Town received the highest international ranking position at 191st this year. The next highest ranked is Stellenbosch University (361st in the world), followed by the University of Witwatersrand, which was ranked 364th. Find out more about these universities on our institutions directory.  

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