Last Updated: 7/22/22 – South Africa Entrance Requirements
If you are traveling to South Africa from outside of the country, you should be aware of the South Africa entrance requirements for visitors before you start planning your travel. If you do not meet the passport, VISA, or immunization requirements, you could be denied entry into South Africa. This is not something that I would wait until the last minute to take care of as you might not have enough time to sort out any issues at the last minute should you run into them.
To assist you in making sure you meet the necessary requirements to visit South Africa, I have outlined all of the requirements you need to be concerned about in this article. Furthermore, I have also created the handy checklist I linked below for you to use as a point of reference and to track all of the requirements as you meet them.
South Africa Passport Requirements
One of the most important of the South Africa entrance requirements that you will need to consider when planning your trip is the country’s passport requirements. In order to be allowed into South Africa, not only will your passport need to be valid, but it will need to be valid for at least 30-days after your date of arrival. So, if your passport is set to expire within 30-days of your arrival date, you will need to renew your passport before you travel to South Africa.
|Passport Validity||Blank Pages Required|
|At least 30-days beyond arrival date.||2 consecutive empty visa pages per entry.|
South Africa VISA Requirements
In addition to the passport requirements, you need to be aware of the South Africa entrance requirements regarding travel visas before planning your travel to South Africa. The good news is that if you are a resident of the United States and Canada or the Schengen Area of the European Union, you will not need to obtain a tourist visa if you plan on staying in South Africa for less than 90-days. If you are traveling to South Africa from outside the United States, Canada, the Schengen Area, or plan to stay in South Africa for more than 90-days, you will need to obtain a VISA. I recommend the visahq.com website for all your VISA needs as it is very convenient and reliable.
South Africa Immunization Requirements
Routine Travel Vaccinations for South Africa
Important Note: I am not a medical doctor and do not have any medical experience. The information provided in this section is a summary of information that I got from the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States for travel to South Africa. I am providing you this information to help bring awareness of the necessary vaccinations to you, but consultation of my guide should not replace a discussion about your travels with your doctor or a travel medical clinic.
One of the most important, and yet most often overlooked, aspects of travel is the necessary vaccinations that are required or recommended to keep you safe and healthy when you travel. Before you depart for South Africa, you are going to want to make sure that you have all of the proper vaccinations. Some of these vaccinations, like the Yellow Fever vaccination, are included in the South Africa entrance requirements if you are travelling to South Africa from certain high-risk locations. Other vaccinations, such as a flu shot and the Rabies vaccine, are recommended, but not required. For your convenience, I have summarized the CDC’s recommendations on vaccines and healthcare for travelers visiting South Africa for you to review below.
Recommended Travel Vaccinations for South Africa
There are a number of vaccinations that the CDC recommends that you get before traveling to South Africa, which I have outlined for you below. If you are traveling to South Africa from a destination where Yellow Fever is common, even if it is only a long layover, then you will be required to show proof of vaccination before you will be allowed into the country. The other vaccinations on this list are not in the South Africa entrance requirements, but they are strongly recommended.
|Vaccine||How Disease Spreads||Details|
|Hepatitis A||Food & Water||Recommended for most travelers|
|Hepatitis B||Blood & Body Fluids||Accelerated schedule available|
|Yellow Fever||Thru the bite of infected mosquitoes.||If you are going to be traveling from a country where Yellow Fever is endemic, even if it is only for a layover twelve hours or more, you will need to receive a Yellow Fever vaccination and have certification of that vaccination before you will be allowed into South Africa.|
|Rabies||The saliva of infected animals. Bites or licks on open wounds are the most common vector.||Requires three shots over 21-28 days|
|Typhoid||From food and water you handle or ingest.||Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.|
|COVID-19||From being around or coming into contact with someone who is sick.||Depending on Vaccine brand, will require one or two shots over multiple weeks. Everyone 16 years of age and older should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before travel.|
|Measles||Various vectors.||Infants 6 to 11 months old traveling internationally should get 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.|
|Malaria||Contracted from mosquito bites.||CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of South Africa take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.|
|Rabies Vaccination for Travel – Why I think All Travelers Should Consider It|
Routine Vaccinations for South Africa
In addition, the vaccinations that are recommended for travel to South Africa specifically, there are other routine vaccinations that you should make sure that you are current on before traveling anywhere in this world. For an overview of the routine vaccinations recommended by the CDC, please review the chart that I have included below.
|Disease Name||How Disease Spreads||Advice|
|Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR)||Various Vectors||Given to anyone unvaccinated and/or born after 1957. One time adult booster recommended|
|TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis)||Thru open wounds & airborne transmission||Only one adult booster of pertussis required|
|Chickenpox||Direct contact with infected individuals & airborne transmission||Given to those unvaccinated that did not have chickenpox|
|Shingles||Direct contact with infected individuals||Vaccine can still be given if you have had shingles.|
|Pneumonia||Airborne transmission||Two vaccines given separately. All 65+ or immunocompromised should receive both|
|Influenza||airborne transmission||Vaccine components change annually|
|Meningitis||Direct contact with infected individuals & airborne transmission||Given to anyone unvaccinated or at an increased risk, especially students|
|Polio||Thru contaminated food and water||Considered a routine vaccination for most travel itineraries. Single adult booster recommended|
Non-Vaccine Preventable Diseases
In addition to the recommended vaccinations, there are other health precautions that you should take when traveling to South Africa to avoid getting sick. While these health precautions aren’t on the list of South Africa entrance requirements, they are important measures that you can take to make sure you don’t get ill while traveling.
aVOID CONTAMINATED WATER
When traveling, one of the easiest ways to get sick is to come into contact with contaminated water. There are a number of illnesses that are found in South Africa that can be spread by either drinking or swimming in contaminated water. Before you depart for your trip, you will want to be aware of the illnesses below. To avoid getting sick, make sure you stick to drinking bottled water and avoid swimming in stagnant pools.
|Disease Name||How Disease Spreads||Advice|
|Leptospirosis||Touching fluids of infected animal or drinking or swimming in contaminated water.||Avoid contaminated water and soil|
|Schistosomiasis||Wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in contaminated freshwater streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.||Avoid contaminated water and soil|
AVOID BUG BITES
Another easy way to get sick while traveling is to be bitten by bugs that carry illnesses. The most common insect that spreads diseases to humans is the mosquito, but ticks and flies can also spread serious illnesses thru their bites. To make sure you don’t fall ill from an insect bite while in South Africa, I would recommend bringing insect repellent and mosquito netting with you when you visit and avoid getting bitten by bugs as much as possible.
|Disease Name||How Disease Spreads||Advice|
|African Tick-Bite Fever||Tick bite||Avoid Bug Bites|
|Chikungunya||Mosquito bite||Avoid Bug Bites|
|Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever||Tick bite or touching the body fluids of a person or animal infected with CCHF.||Avoid Bug Bites|
|Are Antimalarial Medications Worth Taking?|
be aware of airborne illnesses
Out of all the ways that illnesses can be spread, the diseases that are airborne are the hardest to protect yourself against. After all, you don’t have to physically touch or be touched by an infected person or animal and there isn’t a repellant that you can spray on to avoid catching these illnesses. This is why it is always important to be observant of those with whom you interact with while traveling and make sure you don’t expose yourself to potentially harmful airborne illnesses. According to the CDC, the particular airborne illnesses that you should be aware of while travelling to South Africa are as follows:
|Disease Name||How Disease Spreads||Advice|
|Avian/Bird Flu||Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry.||Avoid domestic and wild poultry.|
|Hantavirus||Coming into contact with bodily fluids or droppings of infected rodents, being biten by an infected rodent, or less commonly from coming into contact with someone else who is infected||Avoid rodents and people who look sick|
|Tuberculosis (TB)||Breathing in the air from an infected individual (via cough, speaking, etc..)||Avoid people who look sick|
South Africa COVID-19 Entrance Requirements
As of June 22, 2022, the South African government has lifted its remaining COVID restrictions and no longer requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test to enter the country. With that said, it is probably still a good idea to have a record of your COVID-19 vaccination with you when you travel as regulations are subject to change and you don’t want to be stuck without the proper vaccination certification while traveling. I strongly recommend making sure that your COVID-19 vaccination certification has a QR code on it as many countries are requiring the QR code as proof of authenticity.
|Have a Back-up Plan for your Travel Plan|
South Africa Customs Restrictions
When traveling to South Africa, it is important to understand what types of items that you are free to bring into the country and which items you will be charged or prohibited from bringing in. According to the VISAHQ.com, website, the following items are considered free-import items, but with limits (as described below).
- 200 cigarettes
- 20 cigars
- 250g of tobacco
- 50ml of perfume
- 2L of wine
- 1L of spirits
- Goods for personal use
Important Note: Travelers may be asked to pay a deposit on expensive items like laptops and DSLR or mirrorless cameras. This deposit will be refunded when the item is re-exported when you travel home.
Before you will be allowed into South Africa, you will also need to clear customs to be sure you aren’t carrying any prohibited items with you. For instance, travelers are strictly prohibited from being the following items into South Africa:
- Narcotics and other controlled substances
- Weaponry, explosives and fireworks etc.
- Poisonous chemical and biological substances and other health endangering substances
- Cigarettes with a mass of more than 2 kilogram per 1000 units
- Counterfeit goods
- Goods breaking copyrights laws
- Prison-made and penitentiary-made goods
In addition to these prohibited items, the government of South Africa has placed limits on the quantity of other items that can be brought into the country. If you plan to travel with any of the following items when visiting South Africa, you will want to plan accordingly so that you do not violate the South Africa entrance requirements:
- Local currency of over 10,000- gold coins, coin and stamp collections and unprocessed gold need to be declared.
- Endangered species of plants or wildlife, whether alive or dead, including any parts of and articles made from them will need permit from CITES.
- Plants and products thereof (honey, margarine and vegetable oils, seeds etc.).
- Animals and products thereof (dairy products, butter, eggs).
- Medicines for personal use need to be accompanied by the prescription and a note from your doctor.
South Africa Currency Restrictions
The final aspect of the South Africa entrance requirements that you will want to make sure you comply with when traveling to South Africa is the amount of currency you plan on bringing to the country. When visiting South Africa, like all countries, you can’t just bring any amount of currency that you want into the country or leave with any amount of currency when visiting. According to the US State Department website, the government of South Africa has the following currency limits and regulations in place:
- A limit of 25,000 South African Rand (ZAR), an unlimited amount of foreign currency if declared, and no Kruger coins are allowed on entry into South Africa.
- A limit of 25,000 South African Rand (ZAR), an unlimited amount of foreign currency if declared on entry, and up to 15 Kruger coins if proof purchased with foreign currency.