All students studying in Cape Town must get a study permit which is a visa issued to foreigners intending to study in South Africa. The visa is a sticker that it attached to a page of the passport. Therefore students must submit their actual passport (not a copy) to the consulate and the consulate will keep the passport for about 3 weeks while the visa is processed. Students who plan to travel outside of the United States during this time must plan for this accordingly.
Obtaining this study permit is the responsibility of the student and not Trinity College, although the Trinity in Cape Town study abroad adviser will provide information and guidance on how to apply and is available to answer questions.
Please note that this process can take several weeks to complete so students should start this process as soon as possible. There are also a number of costs involved so students are advised to budget in advance for this.
Check the website for the South African Consulate for the area of your permanent address. The link to the New York consulate is below and on that site is information about the other consulates around the country. Once you have identified your consulate, refer to that consulates website specifically since requirements could vary.
You may not apply for your visa more than 3 months prior to the start of your program but you can start to gather all the documents needed as soon as you can. Review all the documents required and remembering that it can take some time to do so. Allow 3 weeks for the consulate to process the visa (even though the website says 5-10 days. They are often running behind).
Below is an explanation about some of the documents required that students may find helpful. This is not necessarily a complete list of what may be required so students must refer to the consulate website for the complete list of required documents.
A completed application
The application is VERY long and is a general visa application for many different types of visas. Therefore, most of the questions do not pertain to study away. Students can get an application from the South African Consulate website or from a link at the bottom of this page . Don’t forget to sign the application!
Two (2) passport photos
These do not need to be the same as the photo in the passport and can be taken at a pharmacy or in the Trinity College Office of Study Away for $8.
Notarized copy of birth certificate
This does not have to be the original but a copy that is notarized for its authenticity.
Proof of medical report
Students must get a physical done by a doctor and must have the doctor sign the appropriate form which is provided below. Note that if your insurance only permits one well visit per year and you have already had that appointment, you should advise your doctors office that this is an appointment for a foreign visa, which should be coded differently for insurance.
A skin or blood TB test is fine, even though the form says there must be a chest xray. Test results must be accompanied by the appropriate form, signed by a doctor, which is provided below.
FBI Background Check
All students must get an FBI background check. Because it takes several months to get this directly from the FBI, students should use a “channeller” which is a company approved by the FBI and by the South African consulate to obtain the background check. The company recommended is called Fieldprint
Students will need to create an account, which will be reviewed by the company and then students will get an email with instructions to make an appointment at a location nearest to them to get fingerprinted. Fieldprint will then send an email to the students in 4-7 business days with a LINK to the background check. Students must open this and UPLOAD/SAVE the letter to their computer (There is limited time to do this before it expires and goes away so this should be as soon as it is received). Print this out to include with your visa application.
The cost is about $50.
Proof of health coverage (health insurance)
This will be provided by Trinity's Office of Study Away. Students should request this from the Trinity Office of Study Away.
Roundtrip flight itinerary
Students must book a roundtrip
ticket to CAPE TOWN, South Africa. If you are unsure of when you want to return, purchase a flexible return ticket which allows changes for a minimal fee. It is strongly recommended that students purchase the ticket from the airline directly and NOT through an on-line booking service like Expedia or Travelocity or Cheapo. If there are any complications with your visa, you may have to make changes to your reservation which will be less expensive if done with a flexible ticket and through the airline.
Pay careful attention to the specific arrival and departure dates of the program. Students should arrive exactly on the arrival date – not before and not after.
An official letter from the university in South Africa confirming acceptance and duration of the course
This will be provided by Trinity and students should request this from the Trinity Office of Study Away
An official letter of enrollment from the institution of learning concerned in the U.S.
This will be provided by Trinity and students should request this from the Trinity Office of Study Away.
Proof of financial means
Students must provide a bank statement showing a balance of $5000 to support them during the semester, along with a notarized letter from a parent that they will be financially responsible for them. The bank statement can be either the students account or the parents account. This is a very typical requirement for a foreign visa and is something the US requires of foreigners coming into this country. DO NOT black out the account number because the consulate will not accept it.
If you receive financial aid to attend Trinity, please see Morgan Pohorylo in the Financial Aid office for a letter stating your financial aid.
In case of a minor under 21 years of age, a notarized letter of consent from the parent is required.
See sample below provided by the Trinity Office of Study Away
Proof of U.S. legal status
US passport for citizens, copy of I-20 for F1 visa holders, copy of green card for permanent residents.
Students who are citizens of a country other than the
U.S. should let Eleanor Emerson in the OSA know right away since there
may be a different visa process that may take longer and require
Payment for the visa MUST be a money order. No other form of payment is accepted.
If students would like the passport mailed back to them, they must enclose a separate money order for $16. Be sure to provide the address the passport should be sent to.