Have you ever thought of witnessing the stunning setting of Niagara Falls? Or treat yourself to the majesty and adventure available at the Glacier National Park in British Columbia. Canada is home to all that and more!
But first, you’ll need to sort out your visa. South African passport holders need a Visitor Visa to enter Canada. While there are Canadian embassies, consulates and trade offices throughout South Africa, you will need to make your applications at the Visa Application Centres (VACs) in Pretoria and Cape Town. Always apply for the visitor visa at least 30 days before your departure date.
Make sure that you check your eligibility before you start the application process and submit your application well before your flight departure.
Please take note that this process applies to South African passport holders.
Types of Visas
- Visitor Visa – This visa allows you to enter Canada once. You can also apply for this visa if you are visiting your children or grandchildren. It is valid for six months.
- Super Visa – You will need to apply for this visa if you are visiting children or grandchildren and need to stay for longer than six months. It is valid for two years.
- Transit Visa – You will need this visa if you change planes in Canada. This visa only applies to you if you have less than 48 hours between your flights and you’re just transiting. If you have more than 48 hours between your flights, you will need to apply for a Visitor Visa.
Once you have submitted your application and biometrics, you could have your Visitor Visa within two weeks.
- Visitor Visa – 14 working days
- Super Visa – 87 working days
- Transit Visa – Applications for the Transit Visa usually take a few weeks or less. The processing time depends on the VAC, the volume of applications, and if you need to complete any additional steps.
You don’t need to worry about collecting your Canada visa and passport. Once your application is approved, the VAC will send your visa and passport back to you (you can arrange this with the VAC when making your application). Be sure to check that the visa stamp states the correct dates of your time in Canada.
Your Canada visa can be quite costly, and can easily cost around C$280 (R2900). Below is a breakdown of the visa and service fees.
Please note that fees are non-fundable and must be submitted with your application.
The visitor visa and super visa will cost you $100 (R1047).
The transit visa is free.
Biometrics recordings cost $85 (R890)
Visa application fees at VAC
|Service charge for application handling
|A self-service computer terminal for form completion
|Assistance with form completion on self-service computer terminals
|Photocopy services – price per page
|Transmission of passport to embassy upon request by visa office
|Courier early delivery
|Courier overnight express
|GC Fee Collection and Remittance
You can only pay in South African Rands.
You can pay by debit/credit card at the VACs.
See below for the info regarding making cash deposits to the VACs.
|VFS Visa Processing (SA) Pty Ltd
Canada Visa Requirements
- Photocopy of the information page of your valid passport, including the passport number, issue and expiry dates, your photo, name, date, and place of birth
- Proof of financial support
- Photocopy of your marriage license/certificate (if applicable)
- Purpose of travel
- Minors travelling alone or with one parent must have custody documents / a letter of authorization from the other non-accompanying parent / a letter of authorization signed by both parents or legal guardians
Super Visa Requirements
- A letter of invitation from your child or grandchild residing in Canada as a permanent resident or Canadian citizen (you must also have information on your host child or host grandchild’s family composition (dependants, including spouse, children or other relatives financially dependent on your host child or host grandchild).
- One of the following documents to prove that your child or grandchild meets the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) minimum:
- A most recent copy of the Notice of Assessment. If you don’t have a hard copy of a Notice of Assessment on file, you can print the tax returns and other personal tax information using the CRA’s My Account for Individuals.
- A most recent copy of the T4 or T1 tax form
- Original letter from employer stating title, job description and salary
- Employment insurance pay stubs
- If self-employed, a letter from an accountant confirming their annual income
- Proof of other sources of income (pensions statement, investments, etc.)
- Evidence of the parent or grandparent relationship to the Canadian citizen or permanent resident you wish to visit (copy of birth certificate, baptismal certificate or other official document naming you as parent or grandparent).
- Proof of private medical insurance coverage for a minimum of one year with a Canadian insurance company (copy of the insurance certificate or policy)
Transit Visa Requirements
- Your original passport
- Good quality photocopies of your current and previous passports for the last five years, which include:
- Your biographical data (name, date of birth, passport number), including your photo
How to Apply
- Get your required documents and print others that are needed for your application (see below for where to print).
- Download and print the application form, complete it and put it together with the rest of your required documents.
- Visit one of the VACs (see below) to submit your documents as part of your visa application.
- You must be ready to pay for your visa application when applying.
- You will also have to pay the relevant fees for applying at a VAC.
- If you’re a first-time applicant, you will need to give biometrics. You can do that when submitting your application. VAC staff will check that you’ve paid all the relevant fees before you can give your biometrics.
- After you apply, the VAC will check your application, and may additionally require the following:
- Go for an interview with one of the VAC officials
- Send more information
- Get a medical exam (if your visit is for more than six months)
- Make sure to arrange a courier to ensure your passport and visa will be sent to you. Due to there being only two VACs in the country, it’s wiser to arrange delivery of your visa and passport so that you only need to visit your closest VAC once.
Where to Apply
See below for the Canada Visa Application centres in South Africa.
30 Waterkant Street
|Cherry Lane Centre,
114 Fehrsen Street,
Where to Print
Printing Cape Town | Printers Cape Town – PARKADEprint
|18 Long Street,
Cape Town City Centre
|Brookfield Office Park,
273 Middel Street,
If you haven’t yet, book a flight to Canada with Travelstart!
With this step-by-step guide, you’ll have your visa sorted with enough time to spare to focus on what you’re looking forward to experiencing in this exotic North American nation.
Have you previously applied for a Canadian visa? Let us know about your experience in the comments!
All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart is not affiliated with immigration authorities or their application centres and will not be liable for loss or inconvenience arising from the use of this volatile information.