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Visas for entry to South Africa

Passport holders from most “western” countries e.g. the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and most (but not all) European EU countries (considered to be exempt) will be given a 90 day tourist visa on arrival in South Africa. Other nationalities formerly had to apply for a visa in their home country before arrival but this has now been changed by the introduction of the E-Visa scheme. This currently only applies to passport holders from the following countries: 

Albania, Algeria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iran, Kenya, Liberia, Lithuania, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Philippines, Republic of Guinea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Uganda.

In order to check whether or not you require a visa, please proceed as follows:

1. check on the link below to view the table – scroll down to Visa Exemption List. Check your passport nationality in the left hand column and scroll across to the column headed “Ordinary” (most cruisers will have an ordinary passport). This column will show if you are exempt from obtaining a visa prior to arrival and will show the duration of the visa which will be issued on arrival. If the column is blank then you are NOT exempt and must obtain a visa prior to arrival, or an E-visa if applicable.

2. If you are not exempt and a passport holder from one of the countries listed above then you should apply for an E-visa as follows:


3. If you are not exempt and are not on one of the countries listed above you must apply for a visa in your home country before arrival.


If not exempt it is vitally important to obtain a visa prior to arrival. If you do arrive without a visa you will not be “cleared in” and will not be permitted to leave your boat whilst in South Africa. You may be refused entry and be deported.

A Seaman’s Book is only eligible for bona-fide crew on a merchant vessel as a supporting document to prove crew status. It is not a visa, and cannot be used instead of a visa to enter the country.


If the person wishing to visit South Africa is from a visa restricted country, he/she can apply for a visa to enter South Africa from a South African Embassy or Consulate in the country he/she is currently in.

OSASA/20 September 2023

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