Non-South African citizens must obtain temporary residence permits before embarking to South Africa, if you visit before you’ve received your study permit.


Non-South African citizens must obtain temporary residence permits before embarking to South Africa, if you visit before you’ve received your study permit. Please ensure that you are in possession of all the documentation required when applying for any of the temporary residence permits. Visit the website to ascertain where the closest South African Mission is and what will be required of you.

Study permits

Every international student is required to have a valid passport and temporary residence permit / study permit, endorsed for study at the Vaal University of Technology. International students wishing to enter South Africa should only apply for study permits once an official letter of admission has been received. Applications for a study permit can be made to the official representative of South Africa (Embassy, High Commission or Consular Office) nearest to the student’s home in his/her country or in a neighbouring country.

Study permit – How to apply

You are required to apply for a study permit at the South African High Commission, Embassy, Consulate or Trade Mission in your country of residence or nearest South African High Commission, Embassy, Consulate or Trade Mission.

Current requirements to be submitted to the South African Embassy/Consulate in order to obtain your study permit are:

A passport valid for not less than 30 days after intended studies

Administrative fee (as required at the time by the Department of Home Affairs of South Africa)

Confirmation and proof of payment of a South African Medical Aid Cover with a Medical Scheme registered with the Council for Medical Schemes in South Africa. Cover must be valid for the duration of one academic year (January – December)

Admission letter from the University stating :

The duration of the degree

Confirmation that the admitted student is not taking the place of a local student

Undertaking to inform the Department of Home Affairs when the student de-registers

Medical report by a registered medical practitioner (less than six months old)

Radiological report (less than six months old)

Proof of funds to cover tuition fees and self-maintenance for the duration of studies in South Africa

A Police Clearance Certificate for the past 12 months or longer if the applicant is older than 18 years.

Details regarding accommodation while in South Africa.

Other documents that may be required

Yellow Fever vaccination certificate

Relevant certificates if married, widowed, divorced or separated.

Funds that may be required

A cash deposit or a return ticket to country of origin (repatriation guarantee)

Extension of study permit.

The following must be submitted to the Department of Home Affairs:

• BI1739 form (R425.00 application fee) subject to change

Passport (original)

Apply 3 months before permit expires

Police clearance

Radiological report

Medical certificates

Spouse ID and marriage certificate (if applicable)

Institution’s proof of registration

An accompanying letter from the International Relations and Advancement Department (VUT) advising of extension period required.

Proof of payment of tuition fees

Proof of funds available

Proof of a South African-based Medical Aid Cover

Proof of repatriation deposit paid

Proof of guardianship for minor (if applicable)

Your application for extension of a study permit needs to be signed by the Executive Director: International Relations and Advancement, before it is submitted to the Department of Home Affairs. It is advised that you retain copies of all documents for your own records.

Endorsements to study permits (part-time studies)

New interpretations of the regulations have been issued relating to the conditions of part-time studies on a work permit. If you are a holder of a work or business permit you may apply for a secondary endorsement to study part-time. The endorsement will only be valid for the period of the holder’s prospective business or work permit.

To apply for the endorsement you will complete form Bl1739 and submit the following:

Original passport and work permit

Letter of acceptance/form or an offer letter from the University

Proof of medical aid

Proof of finance

Proof of employment

Change of institution (study permit holders)

The University is not permitted to register you until you have produced your VALID study permit. It usually takes at least 6 weeks for your application to be processed. It is also important for you to note that your study permit is issued to study at a specific institution and you would have to apply for a change of conditions should you want to change institutions. This can be done in South Africa in the city applicable to the new institution of study.

Before you apply for this permit, you must obtain a “release letter” from your current institution, stating that they have no objections to the transfer.

Change of conditions (study permit holders)

A change of conditions of a study permit refers to a situation where you hold a valid study permit with a condition to study at another institution in the Republic other than the one you are applying to. This is usually the case of learners and students studying at South African high schools, colleges and other academic institutions and their permits would therefore be endorsed with a condition to study at institutions in any of the categories above. In order to register at the Vaal University of Technology, the permit will need to be endorsed for the applicant to study at the Vaal University of Technology.

An application for a change of conditions of a study permit constitutes a new application of a study permit. Though the applicant will need to complete a separate form, the requirements are the same as that for the initial application of a study permit.

Please note

These forms are available on the internet ( They can also be collected at any of the South African Visa Issuing Authorities (Home Affairs Offices, Consulates or Embassies).

This information is meant to serve as a guide only. Requirements for studying in South Africa are subject to change and each application is treated as an individual case. Always make enquiries before travelling to South Africa.

The holder of a study permit for studies at a higher education institution may work part-time for a period not exceeding 20 hours per week for as long as the study permit is valid.

Important information for study permit holders

International students who are holders of study permits, or wish to apply for a study permit, must, in terms of South Africa’s Immigration Act, have sufficient medical aid coverage for the duration of their stay in South Africa.


Yellow fever certificates are required if the journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.


A refugee is a foreign national who has refugee status accorded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has a South African identity book which is stamped as refugee status, and is normally valid for two years until permanent status is awarded. If not, accorded status reverts to ‘asylum seeker’. The Refugee Act, Act No. 130 of 1998 (Section 27), provides refugee students the right to study without a study permit.

Asylum seekers

An asylum seeker is a person who comes to South Africa and applies to the government for protection as a refugee. An asylum seeker should have a valid permit issued under the Immigration Act, Act No. 13 of 2002 (Section 13), Department of Home Affairs. Tuition fees are similar to those of local South African students and they pay local application fees. No medical aid cover is legally required; however, it is highly recommended.

Please note: Registered students are required to update their VUT records with the International Relations and Advancement Department: Admissions Division, each time they renew their permit.


Children of diplomats under the age of 23 years are exempt from a study permit and they pay local tuition and related international levies. Spouses of diplomats do not automatically qualify for exemptions from a study permit. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation will consider each application on merit. These concessions are only valid for the period that the diplomat is in office in the Republic of South Africa. These benefits are not transferable. Once the diplomat service ends in South Africa, the student automatically reverts to regular international student status as per his/her citizenship for which all relevant international fees will be applicable.

Practical training permit

This is a permit issued with a study permit enabling a student to work towards the completion of his/her programme (qualification). This work must be study-related. No other work is allowed. A student on a practical training permit may be paid. The permit is obtainable when or after applying for the initial study permit. The faculty needs to provide the student with a letter indicating that students will be required to do practical work towards the completion of the programme (qualification) in order for the student to be issued with this permit.