How many times can an Australian leave and re-enter South Africa (90 days at a time without a visa) in a year, and do they need to be out of the country for a certain period of time before they re-enter?

I want to be in South Africa for as long as I can, however as an Australian without a visa I can only stay for 90 days at a time. What I would like to do is simply leave South Africa and go to another country in Africa for a few days, before returning with a new 90 day allowance.

Is this possible, or must I wait a certain period before re-entering South Africa/is there a limit to the amount of times I can do this in one year?

  • possible duplicate of South African tourist visa, multiple entry?
    – user4188
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 6:11
  • 1
    @chx the other one is asking about returning within 90 days, and also since last year, the rules have changed - see below.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 7:33

2 Answers 2


You can get an extension, but not a full 90 day one.

The whole point of the 90 day visa limit is that is the maximum reasonable time (according to them) for a tourist to see what they want, and prevents illegal workers from staying in the country. The US does the same thing, and so do many other countries.

Now, yes, you can exit and come back in, much like the US (although it doesn't reset for the US if you just border hop to Mexico or Canada), however, you're going to be questioned.

  • you'll possibly be asked for evidence that you're planning on leaving again soon - plane tickets, itinerary
  • you may be asked for evidence you plan on returning home (evidence of a job etc)

Essentially, they're likely going to want to make sure you're a genuine tourist, and not someone who is trying to 'legally' overstay.

If you can show that you're a bonafide Aussie tourist, however, it should be fine.


Since 2014, the laws have changed. Previously you could exit to say, Botswana, and come back in. Now, under the new laws Border Hopping is pretty much banned.

It's still possible, but you'll likely only be issued a 7 day visa:

However, should the previous visa expire while the candidate is out of South Africa (e.g. visiting Namibia) and they return to South Africa, they “may be admitted on a new visa for a period not exceeding 7 days”.

It looks like now, ONLY if you return to your country of residence, and THEN return to South Africa, will you get a new full visa:

Only if the foreign national re-enters South Africa from their country of residence will a new visa be issued as per Section 10A(4) of the Act.

This means that foreign nationals who receive their initial 90 day (or 30 day) visa upon entry into South Africa will be allowed to leave South Africa before the expiry of their visas. If that original visa is still valid by the time the candidate returns to South Africa, he/she will NOT be issued a new one, but will be admitted into the country on that original visa. The exception to this are foreign nationals who arrive back in South Africa from their country of residence, or foreign nationals from countries which share a border with South Africa.

  • 1
    Thank you so much that answered my question very well !!Annoying that I have to come back to Aus first but good to know!
    – Clare
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 23:00
  • I can definitely confirm this: It was commonly known anong backpackers that using the Houtbos border to Eswatini (former Swaziland) or the Maseru border to Lesotho and staying there a couple of days or a week and then reenter was a way to basically stay indefinitely in SA (apart from the short visits in the neighbouring countries). In 2014 these borderhops were detected and a new 90 day visa refused..
    – iLuvLogix
    Commented Feb 29 at 15:23

You must go to one country removed, meaning not a neighboring country, to renew your 90 day visa. You don't have to return to your home country.

For example, you cannot renew your South African tourist visa by visiting Botswana, Nambia, Zimbabwe, or Mozambique.

However you may renew it by traveling to Mauritius island, Zambia, Zanzibar, Madagascar, or anywhere else in the world.

There is no specific amount of time you must leave for. You can return right away.

I have legally renewed my 90 day visa 4 times already, only once returning home to the USA. I usually enjoy a 1 week vacation somewhere nice, but not to expensive, and then return to South Africa.

  • 3
    Do you have a link or source for this?
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 4:56
  • Thanx for the advice I have bn trying to find ways to say in SA longer.. Is the rules still the same now? Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 15:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .