South Africa permits visa-free entry to citizens of 75 different countries and territories for a period of up to 30 or 90 days. United States citizens may enter the country and remain for up to 90 days for the purposes of business or tourism. Depending on your nationality and the exemption you qualify for, you may stay a maximum of 30 or 90 days, whether that time is used in a single or multiple entries.
Citizens of the following countries/territories are not required to obtain a visa for visits to South Africa of up to 90 days:
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Citizens of the following countries/territories are not required to obtain a visa for visits to South Africa of up to 30 days:
Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Gabon, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Jordan, Lesotho, Macau, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Peru, Poland, Seychelles, South Korea, Swaziland, Thailand, Turkey.
Passports must have a minimum of six months remaining validity and at least one blank page to accommodate the entry and exit stamps.
If traveling to or from South Africa with a minor (under 18 years of age), be advised that new rules require the presentation of a birth certificate. Children traveling with only one parent must also carry an affidavit containing the absent parent’s consent to travel. These steps were taken in response to the widespread human trafficking in South Africa.
Travel Safety & Advisories
For the most up to date and detailed information on the safety of travel to South Africa, read the country report authored and released by the United States Department of State at www.travel.state.gov. Please also search for the most up-to-date travel warnings and advisories.
Cape Town is regarded as being one of the most violent cities in the world. Earlier this year, a report ranked cities based on the umber of murders per 100,000 people, considering only those cities with populations greater than 300,000. Cape Town was 13th on the list, with 60.77 homicides per 100,000 people. At 14th on the list, St. Louis was determined to be the most violent U.S. city. Baltimore, New Orleans and Detroit were listed in the top 40.
In spite of the statistics, international tourists arrive to Cape Town every day and have an enjoyable trip free of crime. No matter where you travel, it is always best to remain vigilant and avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Resources In An Emergency
If you encounter a medical emergency or are a victim of a crime in Cape Town, contact the local authorities immediately. Although 9-1-1 is the emergency number in the United States, that is not true in the majority of other countries. Read this FAQ article I wrote to locate the appropriate emergency contact numbers: What Are The Emergency Response Telephone Numbers In Other Countries?
The U.S. Consulate General in Cape Town can also be a resource to American Citizens. It is located at:
2 Reddam Avenue
West Lake 7945
Cape Town, South Africa
Contact information is listed below:
Phone: +27 (21) 702-7300
Phone (24-hours/Emergency): +27 (21) 702-7300