International students (including students from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries) are required to have study visas to study in the Republic of South Africa.  The DUT is not permitted to register a student unless they have a valid study visa.  Your study permit needs to be valid at all times, and is issued for the duration of your study period (ie. the minimum time it takes to qualify for the diploma/degree you are taking).  If you are currently studying at a South African high school, or at another tertiary education institution in South African, please note that you will need to apply for a new study visa valid for DUT.


Who is exempt from this requirement?

The following persons do not need a study permit, but must submit other documents to the university to register:

  • Political asylum seekers or refugees: An asylum seeker must have an asylum seeker temporary permit that entitles the holder to work and study.  A refugee document for two years automatically grants the right to study.
  • Diplomatic representatives and their families: A letter is needed from the Protocol Section at the Department of Foreign Affairs, confirming diplomatic status in South Africa.
  • Persons with permanent residence of South Africa: A Permanent Residence Permit document proving status must be submitted.


Visa application process

Study visas must be applied for at a South African embassy, mission or consulate in your country of origin, or at Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) Global Centres across the country.  There are eleven (11) VFS centres in the Republic of South Africa, with the Durban centre for KZN within walking distance of the Durban University of Technology:

Visa Facilitation Services Global Office 311, Third Floor, 91 – 123 Cowey Road, Essenwood, Durban Cowey Park, KwaZulu-Natal.

Study visa requirements for first-time applicants

You will need:

  1. A Department of Home Affairs application form (BI-I738).
  2. A valid passport, which must be valid for at least 30 days after the end of your proposed stay in South Africa (otherwise your permit will only be granted for a period up to 30 days before the expiry date). It should also have at least one unused page when arriving in South Africa.
  3. The application fee for the visa. This is non-refundable even if your visa is refused.
  4. An official letter from the DUT confirming provisional acceptance and the duration of the course, together with proof of your acceptance of the offer.
  5. A Letter of Undertaking from the International Office at DUT.
  6. Medical and radiological reports (less than six months old).
  7. Yellow fever vaccination certificate, if relevant.
  8. The relevant certificate if married, widowed, divorced or separated.
  9. Proof of medical insurance cover registered in South Africa.
  10. Details regarding arranged accommodation.
  11. Proof of sufficient funds to cover tuition fees, subsistence and incidental costs.
  12. A police clearance certificate (less than six months old).


The VFS global helpline is +27 12 425 3000.  Should you wish to make or renew an application, visit:

Please note that the documents must be originals or certified copies.  A certified copy is a photocopy of the original document with an original certified stamp indicating that the authorised person, eg. a Commissioner of Oaths or police officer, has seen the original documents.  As it takes time to process these applications it is advisable that applications for new study visas should be submitted at least six to eight weeks before the intended departure date for the DUT.


Renewing an existing visa

All applications for an extension of a study visa should be submitted to the Department of Home Affairs at least 60 days before the expiry date.  Failure to do so will mean that you will have to satisfy the Director General that there was good cause for the delay.  In order to extend your study visa you will need to take the following to the Visa Facilitation Office:

  1. A valid passport (valid for at least 30 days more than the required extension period).
  2. Completed Home Affairs application form (BI-I739).
  3. Application fee of R425 and a handling fee of R1350 (to be paid to the Visa Facilitation Services).
  4. Proof of sufficient financial means to cover tuition fees, subsistence and incidental costs (in the form of a bursary or bank statement)
  5. A police clearance certificate less than six months old (for anyone aged 18 years or older).
  6. Medical and radiological reports less than six months old.
  7. An official letter from your faculty/department administrator/supervisor confirming that you will be continuing your studies at DUT, which includes the duration for which an extension is required.
  8. Proof of South African medical cover.
  9. A Letter of Undertaking from the International Office.
  10. Proof of accommodation (eg. copy of lease arrangement, letter from landlord, etc.).


Visas for postdoctoral studies

The visa renewal requirements above are also applicable to postdoctoral students who wish to extend their visas. Postdoctoral students require an official letter from the research office at DUT confirming the continuance of research at DUT; the terms of the studies; the amount of any award; and the duration for which an extension is required.  Please note that it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete and has all the accompanying documentation that is required.  The International Office does not accept liability for applications that are incomplete, returned, invalid, or refused.

Should you have originally applied for a study visa in Durban for the first time, or you are extending a visa that was previously extended in Durban, you do not need to re-submit medical and radiological reports.  The Department of Home Affairs requires that you provide a handwritten and signed undertaking confirming that you previously lodged those reports, and that the Department has copies of the reports on record.

In case you applied for your study permit for the first time in your home country and are now applying for renewal in Durban, the Home Affairs office will not have copies of your medical and radiological reports on record. You are therefore required to provide a medical report from a general practitioner with regard to your general state of health, and a radiological report certifying that you do not have active signs of pulmonary tuberculosis.


Students coming into South Africa for 90 days or less

Students from countries exempt from South African visas for visits to South African for 30-90 days or less are NOT required to apply for a study visa.  In such cases, students will be issued with a temporary residence permit (TRP) or a stamp on arrival at the port of entry into South Africa.  For a list of visa-exempt countries according to the intended duration of stay (30-90 days) please access the following website:

Students who are not from visa-exempt countries, and who will be in the country for 90 days or less, must apply for a visitor’s visa at the South African Embassy in their home country.


Holders of temporary residence visas

A holder of a valid temporary residence visa issued for the categories mentioned below will be allowed to register and undertake part-time studies with institutions of higher learning, as defined by the Immigration Regulations of the Immigration Act (Act No. 13 of 2002), during the validity period of their respective visas:

  • General Work Visa
  • Critical Skills Work Visa
  • Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa
  • Business Visa

This provision allows for part-time study only.  The duration of the course/qualification must not exceed the period of validity of the primary visa.

Working on a study visa

The holder of a study visa may conduct part-time work, provided that they do not exceed 20 hours of work per week.