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I have been reading various posts about visa confusion and specially this one is pretty close to my issue. I will be traveling to South-Africa for less than 90 days to attend an open-source conference. The ticket amount would be refunded at the end of the conference. I do have a person's documentid (approved by commissioner of Oaths ) and an invitation letter from the person for the visit, but that would make it a tourist visit even though the person is from the organizing committee. I also have an official invitation from the conference organizers inviting me to the conference and they are working on having an organizer's documentid so it will all be official (for the conference visa).

I had visited vfs global's office in my home-town http://www.vfsglobal.com/southafrica/india/conference_visaapplication.html and they insist on not just the letter but also documentid of the person who signed them as shared above.

Here's a brief list of things I want to do which I guess would be good under the conference/business visa route but not under the tourist visa.

a. Get reimbursement for airfare from the organization after the event is over. (i.e. sponsored by them.)

b. Any expenses incurred I could write as business expense for taxation purposes.

c. I also would be doing amateur reportage of the event for some mainstream e-zines, press etc. in my own country to also cover some of the expenses/overheads which will happen during the trip.

d. Also would be looking for if any work-related opportunities (remote-work), remote short-term assignments etc. do arise.

So, in light of the above scenario, which visa should I go for - conference or the tourist visa would be good enough for doing the above. I would like to do everything above-board hence asking.

  • It seems like you've answered your own question. You've given a number of reasons why you should have a conference/business visit visa and not a tourist visa. This, after all, makes sense, since the primary purpose of your trip is to attend a conference for business purposes. What more is there to ask? – Zach Lipton May 19 '16 at 21:24
  • just clarifying to understand it better. – shirish May 19 '16 at 21:26
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    I'll add that you absolutely should not indicate any plans to look for work. That, to an officer handling a visa application or at the border, generally indicates an intent to work illegally and will be a huge red flag. You are traveling to attend the conference. You can, of course, network with people while you're there and discuss your business. But you run a very real risk of confusing the issue if you say you'll be looking for work. – Zach Lipton May 19 '16 at 21:26
  • I just edited the question to make it more clear, it would be more for remote-work kinda thing.But get your point. – shirish May 19 '16 at 21:28
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I'm honestly not sure it particularly matters, as it appears that the actual application form you fill out is the same for all short-term visits. There's a rather short field on the form for "purpose of visit," where you can indicate that you're attending a particular conference.

That said, the primary purpose of your trip is to attend a conference, so it stands to reason that you should follow the instructions for people applying for visas to attend conferences and not the instructions for tourists. In this respect, it appears you've answered your own question. As you note, you'll need "a letter from the organisation under whose control the activity or event is taking place, confirming such attendance and whether or not the foreigner will be remunerated, and if remunerated, the amount of the remuneration."

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