Steps for accepted prospective international students

Prospective accepted incoming international student residence category identification.

Step 1- Invitation Letter to apply for a study visa to enter the Republic of South Africa

Global Engagement issues letters with a residential address in the Republic of South Africa, as this is a way for us to assist you in obtaining a study visa to enter the Republic of South Africa at a port of entry. You need to send the relevant information as requested to the NWU Global Engagement office as soon as possible if you need to enter the Republic of South Africa (RSA). Please also submit copies of your passport and your visa as soon as you have obtained the latter to the Global Engagement office. You will only be able to submit a valid visa for the duration of your intended studies as soon as your application for a study visa has been approved.

Please note: When the Invitation Letters are received, they can only be used for the above purpose and cannot be handed in at the Embassy for any other visa application (as applied for) with NWU in the subsequent year. The invitation letter you will receive is NOT a confirmation that you have been accepted for a specific programme or qualification/curriculum. It is merely an Invitation Letter to the North-West University to allow you to commence with the process of obtaining a study permit/visa for next academic year. You will receive communication at a later stage about the outcome of your application (for a specific qualification) in due course.

Please kindly inform this office if any changes need to be made concerning the invitation letter issued. Please note that the Invitation Letter can only be submitted at a S.A. Embassy if you have been accepted and received an Acceptance Letter issued either by the Higher Degrees Office or the Centralised Undergraduate Office. If you do not have a formal Acceptance Letter from the NWU, then your Invitation Letter is rendered invalid.

Please complete the Invitation Letter Request form and return it to the relevant e-mail address above as soon as possible, with

  • A colour scanned copy of your passport
  • Acceptance Letter

Please complete the form legibly so that we are able to capture the information correctly. Only then are we able to issue you with an invitation letter and send it to you as soon as possible. Please kindly acknowledge receipt of said Invitation Letter. Please take note of the requirements in the Invitation Letter and the documents that need to be submitted for a visa application.

Step 2 - Police clearance, also called a “code of conduct”

You need to obtain a POLICE CLEARANCE as soon as possible, due to the fact that it could take some time to obtain the latter, and your visa application might be rejected if you do not submit the required document.

  • Home Country
    Please obtain a police clearance from your home country as soon as possible.
  • Republic of South Africa
    If there is any chance that you may have resided in the Republic of South Africa before for a duration longer than 12 months, then you need to obtain a South African Police clearance. You need to get your fingerprints taken at a local South African Police Service (SAPS) station, and in the case of students who may have studied in Potchefstroom, the fingerprints need to be taken at the local SAPS station.

SAPS Station
25 OR Tambo Avenue
Administration Building
2nd Floor
You need to do the payment in cash, and a police officer will hand you the receipt.

This would only be applicable if you intend to submit your visa application in your home country.  You do need to submit the latter to apply for a valid study visa. If you are residing in your home country and you have not yet received your SA Police Clearance, then you need to please inform the Global Engagement Office and the relevant instruction and forms as published by the SAPS will be send to you.
SAPS Criminal Record Centre – forms would include the following:

You will need to follow the instructions as set out on the application form. Forms need to be sent directly to the SAPS Criminal Record Centre and not via the Global Engagement office.

Visa Facilitation Service Office

If you intend to submit your visa application at a VFS office in the RSA then you do not need to obtain a SA Police Clearance. Your fingerprints will be taken at the VFS and be submitted to the CRC and the relevant outcome will be sent to the DHA Offices who will assist with your visa application.

Step 3 - Application for a Study Visa/Permit and requirements

To apply for a study visa or visitor’s visa at a SA Embassy to partake in studies/research in South Africa, you will need to submit the documents below with your application form. You will need to meet all of the following requirements, as clearly indicated below, in order to obtain a visa/permit and undertake academic studies at the NWU, viz.:

  1. Invitation Letter – Issued by the Global Engagement office (SA Embassy)
  2. Acceptance Letter – Issued by the NWU Admission Office (SA Embassy)
  3. Visa application form (online) – and receipt (SA Embassy)
  4. Proof of medical aid accepted by the SA Medical Board (SA Embassy)*
  5. Police clearance certificate (also referred to as code of conduct) from all countries where the applicant resided for 12 months or longer since 18 years of age
  6. Radiological report to be submitted BI806 (SA Embassy)*
  7. SA Medical report to be submitted BI811 (SA Embassy)*
  8. Police clearance to be submitted (also referred to as code of conduct) (SA Embassy)
  9. Proof of sufficient funds available (to be submitted to the Global Engagement office and SA Embassy) for living costs, accommodation and tuition fees in the form of:
    Bank statements (3 months) OR Bank Letter confirming that sufficient funds are available and, if applicable, sponsor letters or bursary letters
  10. And if applicable: Yellow Fever Certificate
  11. Vaccination Certificate
  12. A statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of the visit. In addition, the student must be in possession of the following (when applicable):
  • Birth Certificate;
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable);
  • Return Air Tickets (applicants travelling by air must be in possession of round trip tickets, or proof of sufficient funds or lodge a repatriation deposit of equivalent value to such a ticket).

Finally, the student must have proof of inoculation for the following diseases

  • Medical certificate (Hepatitis B)*;
  • Medical certificate (Yellow Fever*);
  • Medical certificate(Tuberculosis)*;
  • Medical certificate (MMR – Measles Mumps and Rubella)*; and/or
  • Medical certificate (Meningitis)*

* It is compulsory to submit proof to the before arrival before registration. Also compulsory is proof of Medical Aid for the full duration of intended studies, to be renewed annually.

As the Global Engagement office is only tasked with International students who are residing in the RSA on a valid permit proof of vaccinations is mandatory for MMR and Meningitis as set out by the NWU Occupational Health Care Clinic. This requirement is set out for all students who intend to be registered or enrolled at the NWU.

Disclaimer and undertaking by the NWU

Declaration by the NWU:

  1. Name and Surname will not be taking the place of a local South African student at the NWU.
  2. Name and Surname must sign that they have read and understood the requirements of the SADHA and the NWU and that he/ she must return to his/her country of origin for any of the following reasons:
  • The student/researcher has completed his/her studies at the NWU;
  • In the considered opinion of the relevant NWU authorities he/she has not made satisfactory academic progress; and/or;
  • The student wishes to curtail his / her studies / research at the NWU.
  1. The NWU also undertakes to inform the Regional Office of the SADHA apropos any of the following occurrences:
    The student does not comply with the requirements of the visa (as issued by the South African Embassy/Mission abroad) or the permit as issued by the SADHA; Government Gazette, 22 May 2014, No 37679
    An undertaking by the Registrar or Principal of the learning institution to –

(i)    provide proof of registration as contemplated in the relevant legislation within 60 days of registration: or

(ii)    in the event of failure to register by the closing date, provide the Director-General with a notification of failure to register within 7 days of the closing date of registration:

(iii)    within 30 days, notify the Director-General that the applicant is no longer registered with such institution; and

(iv)    within 30 days, notify the Director-General when the applicant has completed his or her studies or requires to extend such period of study.

  1. The student attempts to obtain work illegally;
  2.  The student leaves the NWU for an abnormally long period without adequate consultation;
  3. The student does not attend classes and/or fails to satisfy the NWU’s DP requirements*; and/or The student wishes to curtail his/her studies/research at the NWU.

*Duly performed requirements include regular attendance at lectures and tutorials; completion of all tests, submission of all essays and assignments by due dates, and an average mark of at least 35% for the coursework.

Please take note that all Invitation Letters are issued in English, as required by the South African Department of Home Affairs.

Please take note that all Invitation Letters are issued in English, as required by the South African Department of Home Affairs.

Please also take note that no staff member is to disclose any private information when an applicant submits a visa application.

If needed, please request the Accreditation Letter (A12) to submit along with your visa application.

Step 4 - Medical Aid

You need to obtain SA Medical Aid that was approved by the SA Medical Board. If you do have a medical aid that is approved by the SA Medical Board then you need to submit a letter from your Medical Aid stating that they are aware of your travels and that they will cover your costs in the Republic of South Africa. It is a requirement of the South African Department of Home Affairs and the NWU that a foreign student makes adequate provision for medical aid or insurance. In this regard, if requested in good time, the relevant Global Engagement office of the NWU will assist a foreign student, who is legally accepted for the purposes of study, to obtain medical insurance for the duration of his / her studies (done on request only). Please note that a foreign national who does not have adequate medical aid coverage will not be accepted as a student at the NWU.

Step 5 - Data Sheet

Please complete the data sheet and return the requested document to us as soon as possible. You may not have some of the information at this stage, but we will be able to update the information as soon as you report at Global Engagement prior to your registration.

Step 6 - Study visa obtained

As soon as you have collected your visa from the S.A. Embassy, please make certain that your visa is issued correctly, and if there are any mistakes made, please inform the S.A. Embassy so they are able to rectify the mistake prior to your departure from your home country.
As soon as you have obtained your study visa, please send us a color scanned copy of your visa and your passport along with your student number.
We will then be able to update the information and create your Sign-off Form so that you would be able to register for your studies.
It is compulsory to inform Global Engagement that you have obtained your study visa so that the relevant information prior to your arrival. Please use your student number as a reference number in the subject field.

Please also take note that, if you do not intend to partake in your studies after the Invitation Letter was issued to you, you need to inform the Global Engagement office of your intent, and we will report your intent to the Director-General, Department of Home Affairs Relevant Immigration Office so that your visa can/may be revoked.

Step 7 - Arrival in the Republic of South Africa

Port of entry

  • Please make certain that the stamps are correctly issued at a port of entry
  • Please make certain that the reason for entry is correct
  • Please make certain that the expiry date is correct
  • The onus/obligation is on you to make certain of the latter as it is impossible to rectify incorrect detail on the passport and visa as soon as it is clear that the information is incorrect.
  • You will need to travel to a port of entry to get the incorrect information corrected.

Step 8 - Reporting to the Global Engagement office at the NWU

Please report at the respective Global Engagement office of your relevant campus, with your passport, your visa issued, proof of medical aid and proof of vaccinations, within 3 days of your arrival in South Africa.

Step 9 - Sign-off Form

You will not be able to register without the Sign-off Form and it is important to collect the Sign-off Form Global Engagement.
If you are not residing in the RSA during your studies, please inform the relevant office accordingly as you need to complete an A18 – Solemn Declaration Form confirming that you do not reside in the RSA during the time of your intended studies (the form can only be accepted as soon as it has been completed by a Commissioner of Oaths, notary, or a person with judicial powers and is not to be signed in the RSA).

Step 10 - Accommodation

If you require accommodation for the duration of your stay for one (1) year in the Republic of South Africa, please contact Mr Johann Haupt at Century 21-

Step 11 - Holders of any other visa that permits an international student to reside in the Republic of South Africa

Visitor’s visa less than 90 days
International students who are entering the RSA for less than 90 days need to report at Global Engagement and submit a valid passport. You still need to obtain a Sign-off Form to be registered at the NWU.

Refugee and Asylum Seeker
Please submit the relevant documents at Global Engagement, and please make certain that the document is valid at all times.
You need to submit the new documents at Global Engagement as soon as they have been obtained so we are able to update the information.

Permanent Residence Permit
International students who have been residing in the Republic of South Africa and obtained a Permanent Residence Permit
Please submit the following documents at the relevant Global Engagement office:

  • Valid passport if you are the holder of a valid passport
  • If you do not have a valid passport please inform the office accordingly
  • Your PRP (Permanent Residence Permit)
  • Green ID Book – Non South African Citizen
  • Medical Aid

Please submit the original documents and not certified copies.
Please collect a Sign-off Form so you would be able to register for your studies.

Naturalisation Certificate
If you are the holder of a Naturalisation Certificate and you have been granted South African Citizenship please inform the Global Engagement office accordingly, and we will update the relevant information as well as submit proof that you are permitted to obtain dual citizenship. As soon as South African Citizenship has been granted to an International student we will change your status to South African Citizen. The latter can be only done and permitted by Global Engagement.