Things to know before you travel with a South African passport

Traveling with a South African passport can be a great experience. South Africa passport holders travel to many countries visa-free, making it the world's joint 53rd most powerful passport out of a possible 199.

South African citizens are able to go to 58 visa-free countries. Moreover, South African passport holders are offered visas on arrival by 28 countries and electronic visas by 26 countries.

There is a need to go to an embassy to get an entry document for 90 countries, but the number of countries which South African citizens can visit visa-free, with a visa on arrival or an electronic visa is still higher.

Spontaneous trips for South African citizens with visa-free travel

When you travel visa-free, you don't have the burden of planning weeks in advance, you are able to go to your destination immediately. 

It's easier for you to take your chance to travel when you know you don't need to do any lengthy paperwork. As a result, you visit more new places and meet more new people.

How to acquire South African citizenship 

Unless you are born in South Africa or have South African parents, you can get South African citizenship only by naturalization: after holding a permanent residence permit for five years, by marrying a South African citizen, or by being a minor with a permanent residence visa.

In order to apply for South African citizenship by naturalization, you must pay the fee and submit the necessary documents to the Department of Home Affairs.

The advantages of traveling visa-free for South Africans 

Visa-free international travel is very advantageous:

  • you don't have to fill out application forms and attach additional documents;
  • you don't have to go to an embassy and wait in a queue;
  • you don't have to pay for a visa;
  • you don't need to plan your trip beforehand;
  • you don't have to wait at border control on arrival.

58 countries where South African passport holders don't need a visa

South African passport visa-free countries:

  • Angola
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Eswatini
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Georgia
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius
  • Micronesia
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Also, South African passport holders can get a visa on arrival in 28 countries and apply for an electronic visa to 26 countries.

Visa on arrival countries

  • Armenia
  • Bolivia
  • Cambodia
  • Cape Verde
  • Comoros
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Iran
  • Jordan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Madagascar
  • Maldives
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Nepal
  • Palau
  • Rwanda
  • Samoa
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Timor-Leste
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda

Electronic visa countries

  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Cambodia
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • India
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Madagascar
  • Myanmar
  • Oman
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Rwanda
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkey
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine


How to find out if your destination is a visa-free country?

In order to find out if your destination is among visa-free countries, check visa exemptions/requirements.

What to do if your destination is not a visa-free country?

If your destination is not visa-free, choose other options to enter the country, such as a visa on arrival, eVisa, eTA, or an embassy visa.

Tips for preparing for travel to non-visa-free countries

If you are going to travel to a non-visa-free country, you should check all visa information to discover which visa type you need and are eligible for (for example, you may get an online visa instead of going to an embassy for a regular one).

Is it important to research the different visa requirements of each country before traveling?

It is essential to know the different visa requirements before traveling, as this way, you will ensure to prepare all the necessary documents for entering a country and will choose the best eligible visa option.

Bogdan T

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