Sojourning interns require a visa with an authorization to work endorsed on it. Such visas are valid for 3 months after entry into South Africa, and can be renewed for a further period of 3 months. They allow for multiple re-entries, provided that the date of return is more than 30 days prior to the visa’s expiry.
Foreigners from most visa-exempt countries (see the ‘Visas’ introductory section) are allowed to stay in the country for 3 months or more and so need not apply. They are required only to present a letter from their employer, complete with their details and the purpose of their visit, upon arrival in Cape Town. They should then be issued with a visitor’s permit, along with an authorization to work, which they can renew at their nearest Home Affairs office before the end of the initial 90-day-long period.
Those who aren’t so lucky should apply for a visa at the nearest SA Mission in their home country using the BI-1738 form, including with it an application for the authorization to work on the visitor’s permit. If it’s approved, foreigners will be issued with a visa with the authorization to work endorsed on it, and will be allowed to stay for a maximum period of 90 days, with the option for one extension of 90 days. For a visit that will exceed six months, foreigner have to apply for a work permit. This must be done before arrival in the country. To view the form, visit http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/documents/bi1738.pdf.
Applicants will need to include with the form:
- An official letter from their institution confirming their acceptance as an intern, and the length of their internship.
- Proof that they have sufficient funds to pay for their living expenses and incidental costs for the duration of their stay.
- Proof that they have medical coverage that’s recognized in the Republic.
- Minors will need written permission from both their parents (or the sole custody parent).
- Details of the person in South Africa that will serve as their guardian during their stay.