US Visa Requirements for a South African Citizen

The United States has much to offer to all, therefore it comes as no surprise that so many people want to go there. If you're planning a trip to the United States as a South African citizen, this article will tell you everything you need to know about visas. 

The United States currently has a "visa waiver program" (VWP) where people from certain nations don't have to apply for visas. South Africa, unfortunately, is not among that list. But don't worry, this doesn't mean you can no longer visit the United States and it isn't a difficult procedure to follow. 

The following information is for a Non-Immigrant Visa, which is a limited stay in the United States of up to 90 days.


  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 and submitted online.
  3. Then Create a user account, and 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
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.

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.

Applying for a US visa can be a daunting task, but if you follow the correct steps and have all the required paperwork, then it should be a straightforward process. Be sure to apply for your visa as soon as possible and to have travel insurance in place to protect yourself during your trip.