FAQ, International Students

Permanent Residence Permit

Q:  What is a PRP (Permanent Residence Permit)?

A:  A Permanent Residence Permit gives you a permission to reside within the borders of South Africa permanently. However, you are not considered to be a South African citizen and accordingly you may not, inter alia, vote in an election.

Q:  Is there a difference between a TRP (Temporary Residence Permit) and a PRP  (Permanent Residence Permit)?

A:  Yes, they are two different permits.

Q:  Would I be able to study on a Permanent Residence Permit?

A:  Yes.

Q:  I am in possession of a Permanent Residence Permit, do I need a Study Permit?

A:  No.

Q:  If I hold a Permanent Residence Permit, am I considered to be an International Student?

A:  Yes, according to the Department of Home Affairs, you are not a South African citizen and are still a citizen of your home country. Although you are not legally bound to have medical aid cover, it is strongly suggested that you ensure that you are medically covered in the case of an emergency. You will have to furnish us with the endorsement inside your valid Passport and the green bar-coded Identity document that was issued to you, and which states that you are a non-South African citizen.

 

Temporary Residence Permits

Q:  Do I need any forms to submit together with my application towards a visa?

A:  Yes, you need an invitation letter from an International Office of the NWU.

Q:  How long is a Study Permit valid?

A:  Normally for three years but some programmes take longer.

Q:  How long before my visa’s expiry date may I apply for a new visa?

A:  At least 50 days before the expiry date on your valid visa

Q:  I want to bring my family with me, how do I apply for a visa for them to accompany me?

A: You can write a letter to the Mission Abroad stating that you will take up your studies at the NWU in the Republic of South Africa and hand the letter in whilst applying for your family’s visa to be issued.

Q:  Do I need a Study Permit when I’m partaking in part-time studies and only enter the Republic of South Africa occasionally?

A:  Yes and no, depending on the country that you have come from. If you are from a country exempted to apply for a visa to enter the Republic of South Africa you will be allowed to enter on a Visitors Permit. If not you will need to apply for a visa. This will also depend on how long you intend to stay in South Africa.

Q: I have been accepted by the NWU and want to register; do I need to submit any documents?

A:  Yes, many, including your passport and visa stating the reasons for your stay in the Republic of South Africa. Go to Prerequisite Documentation for full details.

Q: I hold a Temporary Residence Permit for study purposes (Study Permit). Am I an International Student?

A:  Yes, you are not a South African citizen and are still a citizen of your home country. You presently have a Temporary Resident Permit which was issued to you for study purposes (Study Permit) and accordingly you may only study in South Africa. You are also legally bound to have medical aid cover.

 

Registering as a NWU student

Q: I am a student at the NWU, where do I apply for an extension to my visa?

A:  If you are residing in South Africa during the duration of your studies you will be allowed to extend your visa at the South African Department of Home Affairs closest to your NWU campus: NWU Mafikeng Campus students may visit the South African Department of Home Affairs at the following address: Dr James Moroka DriveMotswedi HouseMmabatho 2735 Telephone: +27 18 387 1200 or +27 18 392 6021 Mobile: 082 800 4285 Office Hours: Weekdays: 07:30 -16:00.(http://www.dha.gov.za) NWU Potchefstroom Campus students may visit the South African Department of Home Affairs at the following address: 60 O R Tambo Street Klerksdorp 2570 Telephone: +27 18 462 6720 Mobile: 082 801 2169 Office Hours: Weekdays: 07:30 -16:00.(http://www.dha.gov.za) NWU Vaal Triangle Campus students may visit the South African Department of Home Affairs at the following address: Merriman Street,Multiplex BuildingVereeniging Telephone: +27 16 430 0218/9Fax: +27 11 430 0240/1 Office Hours: Weekdays: 07:30 -16:00.(http://www.dha.gov.za).

Q:  How about foreign qualifications?

A:  Any diploma, degree that isn’t issued in South Africa needs to be evaluated by SAQA (postgraduate levels) or HESA (undergraduate levels) and is the responsibility of the prospective student.

Q:  I have been accepted by the NWU and want to register; do I need to submit any documents?

A:  Yes, many, including your passport and visa stating the reasons for your stay in the Republic of South Africa. Go to Prerequisite Documentation for full details.

Q:  I’m in possession of a valid South African identity book, would this be acceptable for registration purposes?

A:  No, you still need to submit your passport and your Permanent Residence Permit. If you are in possession of the A4 format document and a permanent visa has been placed in your passport we need to see both documents to confirm that they have been issued correctly and are valid and up to date.

Q:  Would an SA green bar-coded identity book be sufficient proof for registration?

A:  No. Your South African green bar-coded identity book will merely indicate that you are a non-South African citizen and therefore the respective NWU International Office, Admission Office or Registration Office will need to see your passport and visa and / or Permanent Resident Permit information. Also, because you are not a South African citizen, your identity number will differ from a South African citizen indicating that you have been granted permission to stay in the Republic of South Africa indefinitely. However, the NWU still needs proof that the respective permits were indeed issued to you.

Q:  I am a South African citizen but I live abroad. If I return to South Africa am I considered to be an International Student?

A:  No, you have a South African Identification Number and are a South African citizen therefore you may study in South Africa without a Study Permit.

Q:  I want to register as a student at the NWU, however, I am still awaiting my study permit. Can I register with the Acknowledgement of Receipt given to me when I applied?

A:  If you are a first year (new application) or a student who transferred from one institution to another (change of conditions), then the answer is unfortunately no, you will have to wait for the outcome of your application. However, if you applied for a renewal of your permit you will be able to apply for you have an existing permit.

 

Letters of invitation 

Q:  I arrived at the Mission / Embassy and they told me to get an Invitation Letter, where do I get one?

A:  The NWU International Offices only issues an Invitation Letter to a foreign national who has been accepted by the appropriate University authorities.

Q:  Does the NWU International Office need any information to issue an Invitation Letter?

 

Medical insurance

Q:  Do I need medical insurance?

A:  Yes, you need medical insurance to enter the Republic of South Africa and the medical insurance needs to be approved by the Mission Abroad and the South African Medical Board. According to the Immigration Act 13 of 2002, Section 13 (Study Permits), non-South Africans who wish to register at an Educational Institution on a Study Permit must have valid medical aid cover.

Q:  Do I need an all-cover medical insurance or could it be for only the basic needs?

A:  You ideally need an all-cover medical insurance. An international student will not be treated for free at a South African state hospital if they do not have all-cover medical insurance. In addition, if a state hospital does admit an international student who does not have an all-cover medical insurance, they will have to pay the full amount for any services rendered.

Q:  am not a South African citizen but I want to study at the NWU. However, I don’t see why I need medical aid cover. Is it OK if I decide not to have medical insurance?

 

Working in South Africa

Q: Could I be registered on a work permit when I’m partaking in full- time studies even if my visa has not been endorsed to partake in part-time studies?

A:  No, you need to apply for a change of condition and the form (BI1739) is available on-line as well as at the International Office which serves your NWU campus.

Q:  Would I be allowed to work on a Study Permit?

A:  Yes, however, the work needs to be related to your field of study and you may only work for 20 hours per week during term time and 40 hours per week during recess.

Q:  I am not a South African citizen. Can I study on a Work Permit?

A:  Yes, but only on a part-time basis. You will also have to apply for a secondary endorsement on your Work Permit which will allow you to study part-time in South Africa.

 

Visiting South Africa for a short time (E.G Less than 90 days)

Q: I am living outside of South Africa. I want to visit for less than 90 days. Do I need a visa?

A:  Yes and no. It depends on the status of your home country. If your country is not exempt from visa control then if you want to visit South Africa, you will be required to obtain a valid visa to be allowed to enter into the country. You can only be released from this requirement if your home country is exempted from visa control. In the latter cases, the specific length of stay allowed, without a visa, again depends on the status of your home country. Regardless, the longest period that is allowed without a visa is 90 days.There are two types of visas you can apply for, if your home country is not visa exempt. Here, depending on your intended visit, you will require either a Visitor’s Visa or a Transit Visa.You must apply for a Visitor’s Visa if you want to visit South Africa for the following reasons: holiday business attending conferences study purposes not exceeding three months medical treatment not exceeding three months academic sabbatical voluntary or charitable activities; and research The maximum period for a Visitor’s Visa is 90 days, but it can be extended for another 90 daysNote: Visas are not issued on arrival at a port of entry and you will be refused admission if you cannot produce it. You can only be exempted from producing a visa if you are from a Visa-exempt country. Procedure: Apply at a South African representative (Embassy) in your country or nearest Mission Abroad. Complete the Application for a Visa or Transit Visa form BI-84. Submit the following: passport valid for no less than 30 days after expiry of the intended visit proof of guardianship if you are under 18 proof of a valid return air ticket if you are visiting for less than 12 months deposit equivalent to the amount of a return ticket back to your country of origin (The deposit is refundable after you have left South Africa) proof of financial means in the form of: bank statement salary advice undertaking(s) by the host(s) in South Africa bursary medical cover; or cash available, including credit cards or traveler’s cheques to cover living expenses during your visit to the country statement /or documents confirming the purpose and duration of the visit. The documents must be original or copies certified by the issuing authority of the country of origin. If your qualifications are not in English, you must have them translated by a sworn translator into English. yellow fever vaccination certificate, if required. If you are visiting the country for more than three months, you must submit: a marriage certificate, if applicable proof of a permanent spousal relationship recognised in your country of origin, if applicable a death certificate, if applicable a decree of divorce, if applicable proof of legal separation, if applicable an affidavit, confirming marital status or spousal relationship. If applicable. If a child is accompanying you, you must bring: an unabridged birth certificate proof of adoption, if applicable proof of guardianship and custody, if applicable consent from the guardian in the case of an unaccompanied minor.

 

Obtaining a South African driver's license

Q: How do I go about obtaining a valid South African Driver’s license?

A: If you are from a SADC country you can use your driver’s license in South Africa. If you are from a non-SADC country you will need to apply for an International driver’s license in your home country. You will need to apply for a traffic register number. As a foreign national you will need to hold a valid passport and prove that you are legally in South Africa. Visit your local registration authority or driver's license testing station and complete form ANR (Application and Notice in respect of traffic register number). As a foreign national you will need the following documents: A certified copy of your passport or a certified copy of your Temporary Residence Permit; Your national identity document; Two ID photos (black and white); and The prescribed application fee. NB: It may take up to six weeks to process your application. Costs: As of 2011 the following fee schedule was applicable: Eastern Cape: R540 Free State: R150 Gauteng: Free KwaZulu-Natal: R141 Limpopo: Free Mpumalanga: Free Northern Cape: Free North-West: Free Western Cape: Free Nb: These costs may change without notice.

 

Refugees and Asylum seekers 

Q:  I have Refugee status in South Africa, can I apply for study at the NWU?

A:  es you can, you are a foreign national who has refugee status according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Accordingly, you will have a green bar-coded identity book stating that you have Refugee Status. The Refugee Act, Act No. 130 of 1998 (Section 27) provides refugee-status students the right to study without a Study Permit. Although no medical aid cover is legally required it might be a good idea to ensure that you are medically covered in the case of an emergency.

 

Children of Diplomats

Q:  I am seeking asylum in South Africa – may I apply for study at the NWU?

A:  Yes you can if you have a valid permit issued under the Immigration Act, Act No. 13 of 2002 (Section13) Department of Home Affairs. Although no medical aid cover is legally required it might be a good idea to ensure that you are medically covered in the case of an emergency.

Q: I am not a South African citizen but one of my parents is a diplomat. May I apply for study at the NWU?

A: Yes, but only if you are still under 23 years of age. If you are over 23 years of age, you must first apply for a valid Study Permit.

Q: I am not a South African citizen but one of my parents is a diplomat. May my spouse apply for study at the NWU?

A:  It depends on your specific circumstances. Normally, spouses do not qualify for exemption from a Study Permit therefore it is advised that you enquire directly with the SADHA.

 

Academic Issues

Q:  I want to register as a student at the NWU, however, I am still awaiting my study permit. Can I register with the Acknowledgement of Receipt given to me when I applied?

A:  If you are a first year (new application) or a student who transferred from one institution to another (change of conditions), then the answer is unfortunately no, you will have to wait for the outcome of your application. However, if you applied for a renewal of your permit you will be able to apply for you have an existing permit.

Q:  Where can I see what courses are on offer at the NWU in a glance?

A:  Please go to NWU Academic Programmes at a Glance

Q: I have qualifications that were earned in my home country. Will the NWU recognise these qualifications?

A: You will need to get your results translated (if applicable) and certified. If they are for entry at a first degree (undergraduate) level, you will need to verify your school-leaving qualifications with HESA. If you are attempting to have a university-level qualification verified, then you will need to consult with SAQA. Please go to Entrance Qualifications

Q:  I have qualifications that are in a different language to Afrikaans or English. Will the NWU recognise these qualifications?

A:  You will need to get your results translated and certified. If they are for entry at a first degree (undergraduate) level, you will need to verify your school-leaving qualifications with HESA. If you are attempting to have a university-level qualification verified, then you will need to consult with SAQA. Please go to Entrance Qualifications

Q:  When is the NWU’s academic year?

A:  The NWU’s academic year runs from February to December and consists of two semesters, viz.: Semester 1: February to June Semester 2: July to December

Q:  What is the closing date for applications at the NWU?

A:  f you are an undergraduate: 30 September.* * However, if you are required to undertake any pre-admission testing this date is 30 July. * International applications are only considered up until 30 September but you will only receive notification of your acceptance in October / November. If you are a postgraduate: you can apply at any time however each faculty has its own specific timetable for evaluating proposals for higher degrees..

Q:  When are my tuition fees due?

A:  If you are an International student you must pay all your fees before or on 31 July. If you hold a bursary, ideally, it must be paid in before or on 31 March.

Q:  What fees must I pay?

A:  You will need to pay your accommodation fees (if applicable) and your tuition fees (if not subject to a waiver) as well as any outstanding sundries incurred during the year, such as internet fees, printing costs.

Q:  I am an international student. Does the NWU offer financial aid?

A:  Yes and no. Remember that when you register with the NWU you will have to declare that you have the financial wherewithal to pay for your accommodation, tuition, medical aid, travel and all associated study costs. However, academically meritorious students may be eligible to apply for a limited number of bursaries specifically earmarked for international students who are undertaking master’s and doctoral degrees.

North-West University Disclaimer:
Please be aware that the information supplied on this page is for general information purposes only. More precise details can be obtained by going to the official SADHA (South African Department of Home Affairs) website (www.home-affairs.gov.za).  Requirements for studying in South Africa are subject to change and each application is treated as an individual case. Please ensure that you make the necessary inquiries well in advance, before travelling to South Africa.