Canada Visa Requirements for South Africans

If you’re South African then you need a visa to visit Canada Visa for South African Citizens – sorry! That’s the bad news, the good news is that you can apply online if you have a credit card and a camera to make digital copies. Click here to create an account or to sign in, to apply online.

You do not need a visa or Electronic Travel Authorisation to visit Canada if you are:

  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident,
  • A US citizen or permanent resident
  • Students/workers/visitors who want to re-enter Canada, after going to the US or Saint Pierre & Miquelon.
  • A citizen of France resident in Saint Pierre and Miquelon who want to enter Canada Directly from there.
  • The Queen of Canada or a Royal Family Member.
  • Transit passengers using a “China Transit Program” or “Transit Without Visa” program.
  • Foreigners who are on a flight’s 1-stop from the US, or on a 1-stop to the US (provided they have/had proper documents to enter the USA.
  • There are a number of other situations, which are unlikely to apply to you, as a normal tourist.

Note that even if you don’t need a visa, if you’re not from the US or Canada you’re going to need an Electronic Travel Authorisation.

As a traveller on a South African passport, you need a temporary resident visa (TRV) to enter Canada on a temporary basis – this is the visa you’d apply for as a tourist. The TRVs are generally for 6 months, but ultimately the border services officer you ecounter when you enter Canada will tell you how long you can stay in the country. Visas may be single entry or multiple entry (multiple entry is more common).

This article assumes you are a South African citizen without dual Canadian citizenship or the right to live in the Canada; and that you are wanting a Tourist Visa to Canada.

Get a visa for Canada with a South African passport

Visa Application Centres

Canada has visa application centres in Cape Town as well as Pretoria. They have outsourced the visa application process to VFS Global. VFS Clobals offices are at:

  • Cape Town: in the city centre at 30 Waterkant Street (5th floor); on the corner of Loop Street and Waterkant Street.
  • Pretoria/Tshwane: 114 Fehrsen Street, at the Cherry Lane Office Park – a beige coloured building.

You can phone them for assistance at 012-425-3002.

Canadian High Commission in SA

The High Commission itself is physically present at 1103 Arcadia St, Pretoria/Tshwane, Gauteng; within walking distance (one large block) from the Gautrain Station in Hatfield. Their phone number is 012-422-3000.

Time to process

Canada Immigration takes some 23 days to process a visitor visa (TRV) application made in South Africa (this information was last updated on: 2017/11/13).


Globally, the Australian, Canada Visa Application Process and New Zealand immigration processes are the best at identifying and recruiting skilled immigrants who meet their country’s labour force needs.

Emigrate to Canada

Canada has a reputation for opening its doors to immigrants. The country has a merit-based immigration system, which scores points based on your usefulness or skills. Since 2014 Canada has not had an investor-program of immigration (some other countries will allow you to immigrate to them if you invest a certain amount of money).

You’re spoiled for options – there are more than 60 different programs under which you could emigrate to Canada. The first thing to do is assess which of the following options you are interested in: