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We want to visit SA together after getting married.

From what I've heard, Chinese (PRC) citizens need to get a visa in person at the SA consulate. Unfortunately we live in San Francisco and the nearest SA consulate (Los Angeles) is 6 hours drive away.

Any alternatives to a tourist visa for a spouse of a South African citizen, other than visiting the consulate?

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According to the consulate's website, you must apply in Person:

Effective 10 May 2015, applicants for visas will be required to apply in person at the South African mission.  No appointment necessary.

VisaCentral, the leading global visa agency, confirms the same.

A Tourist visa is the option for you, unless you want to move there, in which case a relative's residence permit is your best option.

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