SOUTH AFRICA TOURIST VISA GUIDE FOR PHILIPPINE PASSPORTS
I was told by the embassy of South Africa that Philippines passport holders can only apply for a visa to South Africa only from the Philippines and cannot do so from other SA embassies anywhere in the world.
South African Embassy, Manila 29/F Yuchengco Tower, RCBC Plaza Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Philippines
The easiest way to get there is to get off at Buendia MRT station. Walk towards Mc Donald’s in front of Shell Station and take the jeepney headed to Washington. The ride should take around 10 minutes depending on the traffic. RCBC would be on your left side so you have to cross to that side of the street.
Leila Custodio, Visa/Consular
Consular hours: 9:00am to 12:00 noon – Monday to Thursday
Pick-up hours: 1:30pm to 3:30pm – Monday to Thursday
Civic services: 9:00am-11:45:00 noon – Monday-Friday
Visa Processing Time:
Visa processing takes approximately 5 working days. It may take longer when an application is referred to South Africa or another mission for verification and during peak season.
When to Apply:
Strictly 1-2 months prior to intended departure. Although in my case, I applied during the first week of September even though my intended entry is not until December 2015. For this, I had to provide them my other flight tickets, explain my entire travel itinerary, and prove that I will not be in the Philippines beginning September and that I would be entering South Africa from another country, hence my early application.
Php 2,525.00 for 30 days. No Visa (and service) fee for a visit less than 28 days.
Single/Multiple/ Length of Stay:
I tried to apply for a multiple visa because I have noticed that the cheapest flight to enter and exit Africa is through South Africa (Johannesburg/ Cape Town) and I will be flying frequently to and from Europe. However, I was told that they rarely approve multiple entry unless otherwise justified by a letter and other proofs necessary. Moreover, even if they issue a multiple entry, the date of entry is only within a period of 9 days. For example, for a visa grant with date of entry December 1, the latest date of entry allowed is until December 9. This means that I can only maximize the multiple entries within 9 days which is really useless. Your visa is then valid for 28 days from the date of entry (in the case of free visa)
They are also strict with the length of stay. Do not expect to be issued 28 days by default. They would ask for proof and justifications of your itinerary for 3 days, 10 days, 28 days, etc… complete with booked accommodations and corresponding funds. If I remember correctly, they have estimated the cost of one month stay at 30,000 php.
Requirements as of September 2015:
1. A valid passport
2. Two (2) passport size photographs;
3. A fully completed Visa Application Form (BI-84). Make sure to submit the complete set even those blank pages that are not relevant to your application.
4. Provisional Airline Booking (only pay ticket after the confirmation is received that the visa will be issued).
Tip: Book your ticket through Emirates. They offer a PAY LATER option through Western Union. This way, you get to reserve your ticket for up to 3 days without having the need to pay for it. They will email your reservation booking, which you can submit to the embassy. Kenya Airways has this option as well but the connecting flight is through Nairobi, which is a yellow fever zone. If you opt for this, make sure that you have a yellow fever certificate as you need to include this in your application.
5. Proof of accommodation (hotel booking/address of SA contact) for the entire duration of stay.
Tip: If staying in a hostel/hotel, pick one from Trip Advisor or Agoda that you can book online but offers free cancellation within a certain period. In my case, I just cancelled my booking when I got my visa. This allowed me flexibility to choose another hostel.
6. Visa fee of Php 2,525.00 for 30 days. No Visa fee for a visit less than 28 days;
7. Proof of sufficient funds: Bank Certificate for the last 3 months (from date of application) including bank statement (original/certified copy);
8. Employment Certificate (Must be on the company letterhead & with salary breakdown). If self-employed, provide business details;
9. Statement and /or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of visit;
10. If coming from or travelling through a yellow fever area prior to arrival to South Africa, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required. Note that yellow fever is still required even if you’re just transiting in any of the yellow fever areas;
11. Photocopy of passport (bio-data page);
12. Photocopy of host passport and proof of billing;
– Accomplish all forms and requirements. Make sure to only submit all the original documents
-Be at the embassy as early as you can as there is only one visa consular entertaining all kinds of applications (tourist, business, fiancée application, etc…)
– When it’s your turn, you will be asked to enter into a private room where you will be interviewed by the visa consular, and your documents assessed. You will immediately be asked to return if you have incomplete/ incorrectly filled out forms
– Once they accept your application, you will be issued a piece of paper indicating the date and time of pick up of your passport. If you are applying for more than 28 days, then you have to settle the fee first
– You will be told that you might receive an interview phone call if they have additional questions pertaining to your application
– On the date of pick-up, proceed to the glass window right across the entrance and hand your claim stub to the staff. If your visa is ready, they should hand it to you right away. If not, as in my case because they lost my application, I was asked to wait for 2 hours only to be told that my VISA is not yet ready. To cut the story short, I retrieved my passport back and wrote an official letter of complaint. I thought it’s a futile effort but I might as well. Fortunately, they actually responded well to my complain and asked me to resubmit all my applications. I got my visa the day after. It was not a very pleasant experience but I appreciate that they responded to my complain.
• South African Embassy is very strict with requirements. Make sure you have everything ready and have all the forms accurately filled out
• For those intending to stay in the country longer than 30 days, you have to justify your reasons in writing. You will also be asked for additional documents and most likely have to show additional proof of funds to prove that you can afford to stay in SA within the intended period
• Keep a photocopy of all submitted forms. In my case, they lost my application and I’m just thankful to have thought of keeping a photocopy of everything for reference
• I was told that Filipinos can only apply SA visa from the Philippines, and cannot do so from other SA embassies in the world. This is very inconvenient and I can only hope that they would be more flexible in the future.