In December 2022, we flew to South Africa from Munich, Germany, for a 30-days holiday. I’m a Philippine passport holder living in Germany; therefore, I needed to apply for a South African tourist visa. Many documents were required to gather and submit, but it was worth it. If you’re also planning to apply, here’s a step-by-step guide, timeline, and other things to know for applying for your South African tourist visa.
Ultimately, you don’t need the South African tourist visa if you’re from this country.
- South African tourist visa- documents you need
- Where to send the documents
- Timeline for the South African tourist visa
- Personal thoughts
South African tourist visa- documents you need
First off, you need to collect your documents. There was a long list of documents we needed to prepare.
Here’s the checklist in order, and below, you can find the description of each item.
- Original machine-readable passport
- Passport photocopies
- Aufenhaltstitel / residence permit
- One fully completed application form DHA-84
- One biometric photograph
- Statement or documentation stating and confirming the purpose and length of your holiday visit
- Proof of sufficient financial means
- Proof of purchase of a valid return flight ticket
- Proof of payment for the application fee
- An a4-sized envelope must be marked with the ExpressEasy and DHL online label.
How to prepare your documents
Original passport and previous passport (if any)
Include your original passport and the original previous one if you have any. It must also be valid for more than six months, and there are available pages for possible stamps.
You must photocopy your passport, the front page, and pages with stamps from previous travels.
Aufenhaltstitel / residence permit
As a Filipino passport holder living in Germany, I must also include my Aufenhaltstitel or valid residence permit. During this time of application, I only had the fiktionsbescheinigung that was valid until February 2023. If you’re non-European, you should include your residence permit or whatever valid Id you possess living in Germany. I sent the original I.D.s.
One fully completed application form DHA-84
You can download the form here. The DHA-84 is all about your details and some questionnaires about your planned trip to South Africa- it must be filled out and signed.
One biometric photograph
I took my photograph in one of the booths available at U-Bahn stations. It costs 6 euros for four pieces. I only submitted one (1= piece. The Embassy is very strict regarding biometric photos, so try to take one there or professionally and not self-made. Plus, don’t smile! Unfortunately, it’s illegal. lol
South African tourist visa- proof of everything
Statement or documentation stating and confirming the purpose and length of your holiday visit
I wrote a cover letter stating my intention to stay in the country and attached our confirmed accommodations bookings. You can check my sample below. In this area, try to be as specific as possible. Include your itinerary and the exact details of your planned trip – as I believe this will give you an excellent chance to get your South African tourist visa approved.
For the accommodations, we booked hotels and Airbnb with free cancellation. It’s essential to have a free cancellation in case my visa doesn’t get approved.
And for the length of stay, if you intend to stay for, say, 30 days, then state that clearly, so that the Embassy will also have a clear idea of how long you plan and how many days to give you. The Embassy is very strict regarding giving you days of stay.
For example, I wrote 28 days total for the South African tourist visa application, and in return, although multiple, it was only 30 days.
Proof of income or sufficient funds
The South African Embassy needs at least a minimum of R3000 or 165 euros. That’s personally less, so if you’re planning for 30 days, just times make sure you can budget around 50 euros per day, and you’ll find the total outstanding amount to fund your stay. You can get a certification with an official stamp from your bank with the last three (3) months’ statements- a requirement from the South African Embassy.
Proof of a valid or purchased return flight
We booked via Emirates. Yes, it must be confirmed booking already. To be sure, you can try to book the flight, including the cancellation already; it’s a little bit more expensive, but it’s flexible and a better option.
Proof of payment of the application fee.
We paid via bank transfer. There were other options, like paying directly through the Consulate of South Africa in Munich. For convenience, try a bank transfer. And make sure you include a copy of the payment upon submitting all the documents for the South African tourist visa to the Embassy.
A4 sized envelope
We purchased via DHL. This was also very important because the Embassy will put all the documents inside to send them back to the applicant (you). Moreover, ensure it’s the correct envelope specification, as important documents will be delivered through it. The envelope cost around 10 euros.
Where to send the documents
After you have collected and completed all the critical documents for your South African tourist visa application, you can send them via post. Yes, via post and address to the South African Consulate General Munich, Germany. Walk-in applicants will not be entertained.
Make no mistake, as I did. I didn’t read so well that in Munich, they didn’t accept walk-in applicants; therefore, I was shouted at and turned away by a woman who rolled her eyes at me. I was petrified, but only to find out I should have sent it via post. And so, I did.
However, If you are in Bayern or Baden-Württemberg, you can submit your application in person if you’re not residing in these two regions.
Timeline for the South African tourist visa
We started gathering the papers in September. Usually, three months before planning to South Africa should be allocated for the application.
- September 5, 2022 – I went to the South African Embassy in Munich ( but was turned away)
- September 8, 2022- we submitted the documents via DHL post
- September 23, 2022- we received my passport with the South African tourist visa. Hooray!
Friendly tips and reminders
Arrange your documents in order, as the one listed on the checklist, so you would know which one you’re missing out on. Everything on the checklist must be included. Remember that with incomplete documents, your South African tourist visa application may not be accepted.
Make your itinerary as detailed as possible. Include all the things you want to do, see, and places you want to go and have booked already. Include the first up to the last day.
For your cover letter, be as sincere and specific as possible. Set your intention straight and make it clear that you are returning to your country of residence.
For financial proof, you must have at least more than the requirement. The more, the better.
After you submit your visa application in Munich via post, wait until you receive it. Usually, you will get an update if the courier has sent it to the Embassy or the like.
Be patient. If you’ve been to South Africa before (like I had), most likely, you’ll get approved again. And if your sole intention is for leisure, I believe there’s no reason to get your visa declined.
Sample cover letter
To the Honorable consulate of South Africa,
I am ( your name), age, living in Germany, the residence would like to apply for a South African tourist visa. I am currently working at ( your company) and been with this company since (year).
I and my husband have been so delighted to go back and explore the beautiful country again. We would love to go to National parks and watch the animals, go on safari adventure, enjoy the amazing beaches, braii ( African’s way of grilling), and lastly, spend my birthday in Capetown. ( Make sure your statements here match your travel itinerary)
We have already booked our return flight via Emirates and our accommodations. And I can guarantee you that my stay will be pure leisure and will make sure not to overstay in the country.
Please see the attached documents. Should you need more, I would be more than happy to oblige.
Sample South Africa travel itinerary
December 01, 2022- Flight from Munich Internation airport
December 03, 2022- Arrive at Cape town International airport
- check in at Capetown ( write your hotel here)
- Visit Campsbay
- Go to Clifton fourth beach
- Spa at 12 apostles hotel
- Eat and snack at Mojo Market
- day trip to Muizenberg beach
December 09-15- stay in Stellenbosch and Franschoek
- check-in at Spier Hotel
- Wine tour at Franschoek
- Stroll around Stellenbosch town
- Dinner at The Fat Butcher
December 16-20, 2022 – Check in at Addo Elephant National park
- Game drive at Addo Elephant National Park
- Sundowner drive at Addo Elephant National Park
- Night drive at Addo Elephant National Park
- Rest, relax
December 20-25, 2022- Hermanus
- Stroll around the town of Hermanus
- Visit Art Gallery
- Swim at the Tidal pool below the Marine hotel
- Spend Christmas at our airbnb
December 26- 31, 2022- Cederberg
* Note: As this is just a sample as your guide in making your travel itinerary, you can definitely edit and be as specific as possible for your travel itinerary. It’s important they align with your bookings, reservations, and dates. Remember, it’s your trip.
- Check in at Mount Ceder
- 4 day hike in the Cederberg mountains and spend new year there
South Africa is a beautiful, diverse, fascinating country with a lot to offer. From Safari adventures to incredible beaches and wine estates, who would not want to visit there?
Applying for the South African tourist visa took longer to collect and prepare the documents, but with careful scrutinization, it went alright. Except for the part where I walked in at the Consulate and was turned away, everything went smoothly. With that said, all of the reservations we made, from airlines to accommodations, rental car and insurance, didn’t need to cancel.
Good luck with your South African visa application!
If you have questions that are not included in the post, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below, and I’ll try to answer them as soon as I can.
P.S. Still working on my South Africa travel tips, guides, notes and everything in between. So please come back! I promise it’s worth it!