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I am going for an exchange semester as part of my Dutch Master programme to Stellenbosch university which is part of a Joint Master. I have booked a ticket for the 18th of November 2014 and intend to come back on the 27th of July. So this is a period of almost 9 months. I am doing research for my Master Thesis from November to January to then take courses from February to July.

Question A: Shall I apply for an exchange visa (unlikely, since it seems it is only for 2 months), a study visa or a research visa?

In my life, I have lived in Mexico, Turkey and Russia, I am German and I am studying in the Netherlands… Apparently, one of the requirements for any of these visas is a police clearance from all countries in which you have resided for a year since the age of 18.

Question B: How strict is the regulation and/or implementation of this general rule? Can I hope that they will be satisfied with a Dutch and a German clearance (if I get at least these…)?

I know that I am quite late already, but we were told by our departement here that all the arrangements have been done, and that we are almost good to go. Then I asked question A to the International Office in Stellenbosch and it turns out they were not aware of us coming and that the application deadline would have been September. So I would not say I am not guilty at all, but at least we were led on by our international office here…

So time is running and I wanted to employ a visa service to speed up the process, but apparently for Germany (or others?) it is not even possible to do so…

Question C: Any chance I will still manage to get the visa on time through Magical help from your side/site?

And, just hypothetically, assuming that the answer to Question C is no:

Question D: Can I get into South Africa with a Tourist Visa for some weeks/months, while applying for the Study/Research Visa, then leaving to, what-have-you e.g. Lesotho, to come back and get a new visa for the extended time?

This was possible when I was in Mexico, leaving the country via Belize to then come back and renew my 6-months Visa.

Or am I doomed and my great plans will vanish due to lack of communication between here and there and my relative laissez-fair lifestyle?

closed as off-topic by Dirty-flow, mindcorrosive Jan 12 '15 at 9:41

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    Re: Question C. This is a Q&A site whose contributors are anonymous volunteers. Maybe someone will provide some info but we certainly can't assist you during the application process. – Relaxed Oct 4 '14 at 18:13
  • Your first step is to call the South African Embassy or Consulate nearest you. They are the only ones who can accurately answer your questions and address any new questions that crop up after the first round of questions is answered. – user13044 Oct 5 '14 at 4:29
  • @Relaxed: Thanks for the edit. To clarify Question C. I did not intend to have you vanish my worries, but rather ask for tips and tricks like Tom provided. @ Tom: I was planning to do so anyway, but had hoped that StEx would have additional info for me. – T-Saurus Oct 5 '14 at 9:20
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    @T-Saurus It might be a small misunderstanding but I thought that “assist” implied acting on your behalf or generally doing more than providing advice. Also, “vanish” is not used in that way in English. Plans can fail, falter, fall through and worries can be appeased, eased, assuaged, soothed, calmed, relieved, or alleviated. – Relaxed Oct 5 '14 at 10:46
  • about Lesotho, if your ZA visa is still valid when you go out after your vacation (even if its valid for a couple of days), they wont accept to renew for free your visa* (or at least they did not accept it for me. I did not propose backshish...). The trick could be to stay a little longer in Lesotho so you should get a new visa at the border. I did it in Swaziland. If you stay 24h they can't refuse. – JinSnow Dec 31 '14 at 17:03