US Visa Requirements for a South African Citizen

US Visa Requirements for a South African Citizen

From partying in the city that never sleeps to exploring stunning red rocky canyons, the USA offers much to all, so no wonder so many people want to visit.

If you are looking to visit the USA as a South African citizen, then all the visa related information you need to know can be found in this article.

As it currently stands, the USA has a ‘visa waiver program’ (VWP) where by citizens of certain countries do not need to apply for a visa.

Unfortunately for us, South Africa is not part of that list. But not to worry, this does not mean that you cannot visit the US, and it isn’t a too difficult process.

The below details are for a Non-Immigrant Visa, which is a temporary visa of up to 90s days stay in the US.


To go about applying for a tourist US visa, you need to:

  1. Have a valid South African passport with at least 6 months validity left after the date that you travel to the US.
  2. Complete the DS-160 form. This is a form from the US government which can be filled in online here:
  3. Visit the following website to create a user account, enter the DS-160 confirmation number for each applicant applying for a visa:
  4. Complete the information requested including the courier document return process.
  5. Pay the Nonimmigrant visa application fee which is $160 at time of writing.
  6. Schedule and attend a Consular Section appointment
  7. Follow instructions given to you after this meeting

If you are renewing a previous nonimmigrant visa, then you may not need to attend a consular meeting, which you can attend in
If you are denied a visa, the consulate will provide an explanation as to why this was the case. Unfortunately, your application fee would not be refunded should you be refused a visa.
When should I apply for a visa?

A visa can take 5 to 15 working days from application to approval. We do however recommend that you apply for your visa as soon as possible to allow for any unforeseen circumstances such as needing to supply additional paperwork or an application refusal.
Do I need travel insurance to get a US visa?

At the time of writing it is not mandatory to have travel insurance in place in order to apply for your visa. However, this may be required in additional documents for your appointment, and this requirement may change at any time.
Either way, if you are visiting the US, then it is very highly recommended that you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place. Not only can medical treatment be extremely expensive (and there is no public health service) travel insurance will cover a range of things that could happen, such as lost luggage and personal possessions, theft, and delay and cancellation out of pocket expenses.
To find out more about our travel insurances, please visit: