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International students

Immigration information

Non-South African citizens must obtain temporary residence permits before embarking to South Africa. 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 such as a study permit, endorsed for study at the University of Pretoria. 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 at 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 of 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 deregisters
    - Medial 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
      age 18 years 
    - Details regarding arranged 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 30 days before permit expires
    - Police clearance
    - Radiological report
    - Medical certificates
    - Spouse ID and Marriage certificate (if applicable)
    - Institution proof of registration
    - An accompanying letter from the Faculty/School/Department advising of extension period
    - 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 a consultant in the International Students Division, Client Service Centre, Hatfield Campus, 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 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 one 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 University of Pretoria the permit will need to be endorsed for the applicant to study at the University of Pretoria. 
    Application for 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 inquiries before travelling to South Africa.
  • The holder of a study permit for studies at a higher education institution may conduct part- time work 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.
International students wishing to study at the University of Pretoria, can join one of the medical schemes stated below:
Momentum Health (Ingwe option)
Membership fees are payable in advance from January to December annually.
Tel: +27 (0)12 671 8511
To apply online:  
BestMed Medical Scheme (Blueprint student option)
Membership fees are payable in advance from January to December annually.
Tel: +27 (0)12 339 9800 or 086000 2378 or 086000BEST
Fax: +27 (0)12 323 4106 or 339 9900
To print application form:   
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 UP records with the International Students Division (ISD) in the CSC 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, (degree/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 work towards the completion of his/her programme (degree) in order for the student to be issued with this permit.
Block students
These are students who attend university for a period of less than three months per academic year. These students may enter South Africa on a visitor’s visa and are therefore not required to obtain a study permit. Block students are also exempted from the requirement of medical aid cover.