I am a Nigerian IT expatriate who lives and works in Malaysia. I am currently in Harare, Zimbabwe for two weeks. I will be flying South African Airways from Harare -> Johannesburg -> Doha -> Malaysia.

Do I require a South African transit visa while waiting for about 1 hour at the airport for a connecting flight to Doha, Qatar?

2 Answers 2


Note: Updated answer on 11 February 2017.

A South African consulate page in the US has this statement:

Travelers transiting through the following international airports are exempted from/do not have to be in possession of transit visas, but will be subjected to biometric capturing directly at the airport:

  • OR Tambo International;
  • Cape Town International;
  • King Shaka; and
  • Lanseria (Johannesburg)

Please note that the above-mentioned exemption does not apply to deportees. Please also note that foreigners who are utilizing land ports of entry to transit through the Republic of South Africa and who are subject to South Africa visa control should apply for and be issued with port of entry visas.

Previous answer

I haven't been able to find anything on the South Africa site, but the South African embassy in Australia had this outdated statement:

Transit Visa Requirements

Visa restricted passport holders who want to transit South Africa to any one of South Africa's neighbouring countries, MUST apply for a transit visa. The neighbouring countries are Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Passport holders who want to transit a South African port of entry enroute to any other country, may do so without the need to apply for a transit visa.

I found the same statement on a South African Airlines website.

Update from 25th August 2019 The South African embassy in Australia has since then updated their site and now has pretty much the same statement as the South African consulate page in NY above.

End finally, a user posted in the comments this dha.gov.za link, which is the official policy of the "Department Home Affairs, Republic of South Africa" and §11 states the very important details:

With effect from 18 December 2015 travellers, with the exception of deportees, who transit through O R Tambo International Airport; Cape Town International Airport; King Shaka International Airport and Lanseria International Airport do not require transit visas as contemplated in section 10B(4)(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No 13 of 2002). However, transiting passengers will be subjected to biometric capturing. Deportees transiting at any port of entry are required to be in possession of a transit visa at all times and must be escorted.

  • The page on the South African Department of Home Affairs site you were looking for is here, item 11.
    – Galaxy
    Feb 11, 2017 at 18:59
  • Thank you, Eugen, for updating my answer. Much appreciated!
    – mkennedy
    Aug 25, 2019 at 17:10

As stated by Timatic, the database used by airlines:

TWOV (Transit Without Visa): Holders of onward tickets transiting Cape Town (CPT), Johannesburg (JNB), Lanseria (HLA) or Durban (DUR).

So no, you do not need a visa.

  • URL is broken, could you provide a screenshot and the date?
    – Eugen
    Aug 25, 2019 at 13:55
  • I was able to get a trial account on timaticweb2.com, which is run by the IATA. I have run a similar query with a Vietnam passport (which usually would require a visa for South Africa), destination: Botswana. The result is: Transiting without a visa is possible for: Passengers transiting through Cape Town (CPT), Durban (DUR), Johannesburg (JNB) or Lanseria (HLA) with a confirmed onward ticket for a flight to a third country. They must stay in the international transit area of the airport and have documents required for the next destination.
    – Eugen
    Aug 25, 2019 at 14:55
  • @Eugen Yeah, they've just edited it to be more detailed, but the essence is the same
    – Crazydre
    Aug 25, 2019 at 16:30

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