South Africa is a nice country and I think it’s a pity that not many Filipinos go there. I understand that it is quite far but nevertheless it’s definitely worth a visit.
There are not much information about South African visa. Although the embassy in Manila does have a website which lists the required documents, I would be more comfortable to have a first-hand information from fellow travelers before lodging my application. I decided to write this article to help future applicants.
According to embassy website, the following must be submitted:
1. A valid passport
It’s common knowledge that you need to have a valid passport with at least six months validity.
2. Two passport-sized photographs
3. Fully completed Visa Application form (BI-84) Download here
The application form is straightforward. In the proposed residential address, I filled in a random hotel I found on the internet. In the section where it asks for organizations or persons you will be contacting in South Africa, I left it blank though I had planned to visit my friend. This is to lessen the burden of submitting additional documents from my friend.
4. Flight Itinerary or Airline booking
I did a mock booking on Cathay Pacific website and printed it out. The mock booking is only valid for 24 hours but don’t worry, they don’t seem to bother checking it. They only need to see if you did your homework (well, I guess so).
5. Proof of accommodation (hotel booking or address of SA contact)
I printed a mock booking of a random hotel through Agoda.
6. Visa fee of PHP 2,525 for a visit exceeding 30 days. Visa fee is waived for a vist of less than 30 days.
My proposed duration of trip was only 8 days so I did not pay anything.
7. Proof of sufficient funds e.g. bank statement or certificate (original/certified copy)
I brought my bank certificate with amount of about PHP 50,000 but said that I need to produce a bank statement as well. Since I use online banking, I printed my bank statement and immediately went back to the embassy.
8. Employment Certificate provided by employer. If self-employed, provide business details
Since I’m neither employed nor a business owner, I wrote a letter which states:
To the Embassy of South Africa Consul:
I am a Freelance Writer for the past two and a half years. My main source of income comes from online writing. My clients, upon paying my professional fee, automatically deduct the income tax due to the BIR.
I am attaching two Certificates of Creditable Tax issued by one of my clients as proof of income.
In addition to writing, I am an active investor in UITF which forms part of my monthly income. My UITF investments are reflected in the bank certificate.
I hope for your kind consideration and pray for the approval of my visa.
9. Statement and /or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of visit
I prepared an itinerary stating the places I will visit and the names of the hotel for each day.
10. If coming from or travelling through a yellow fever area prior to arrival to South Africa, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required;
Philippines is not a yellow fever area so this is not required.
11. Copy of passport (bio-data page)
Filing of application is Monday to Thursday from 9am to 12 noon only.
Pick-up time is Monday to Thursday from 1:30pm to 3:30pm only.
A deposit of PHP 35,000 is needed upon application and will be refunded in case the applicant’s status in South Africa does not change. (They did not require me to give deposit.)
I went to the embassy with all the documents at exactly 9am. There were only two of us there. I was the second. After about 10 minutes of waiting, a Filipina behind the window called me. I gave her the documents and found out that I don’t have bank statement as mentioned. I came back 30 minutes later and still there were no people. I handed the bank statement to the lady and was told to pick up my passport five working days later.
The day arrived and I was a bit nervous. There were three people this time. After about five minutes of waiting, the lady told me that I need to be interviewed by the consul. It didn’t take long when the consul called me. He asked my purpose (while flipping the pages of my passport) and I said I want to visit Cape Town. He asked why I only have PHP 50,000 and I said I will stay in hostels. He probably know by now that I’m a frequent traveler based on my passport. He told me to come back the next day. The interview took around five minutes.
Voila! I got 15-day sojourn in South Africa. The visa must be used at the latest 69 days after issue.