International Student Affairs

AFDA applicants should under no circumstances pay agents or third party entities to facilitate their application and acceptance to AFDA. AFDA works with accredited agents and online representatives whom are remunerated by AFDA. Kindly contact if for any queries on this matter.

The AFDA International Student Affairs department was established to facilitate and support the large number of international students who wish to study abroad at AFDA.

AFDA currently enrols over 100 foreign students. The international student affairs department offers a wide range of services, which include:

  • liaising with international students before and during their stay in South Africa

  • providing pre-departure information and advice to students before their arrival in the country

  • assistance with off-campus accommodation

  • assistance with visa processing documentation and renewing visas

  • general advice about their stay

  • Quarterly surveys with international learners to assess their level of satisfaction and progress

  • 24 hours emergency contact for international students

    • most importantly being their support system when away from home!

International students on study permits wishing to RENEW their permits (excluding Zimbabwean citizens) or wishing to APPLY for permits are required to do so through VFS Global. Students wishing to renew their visas should be advised that this must be renewed 60 days prior to expiry and should note that Home Affairs have implemented several amendments to the existing Immigration Regulations which has taken immediate effect for current and new international students. The regulations are taken up in the following gazette: Download here

The International Student Fact Sheet has been designed to keep you up-to-date with South African permit regulations and other important pre-arrival information pertaining to your studies here at AFDA. Look at this and downloads for more information and useful documentation.

We look forward to hearing from you.

For further information on International Student Affairs please Nadia Chalkley / / +27 021 448 7600

CLVA is the student representative body at AFDA. Committee members are selected from all 3 schools by the students themselves in a vote that takes place at the beginning of the year. Each School has a representative from each year of study.

The first event of the year is to welcome the first year group to AFDA. This is normally a sports day with a post-event party during orientation week and a party on campus with the rest of the school. Events are also held off campus and at various venues where we have built relationships with management.

CLVA is tasked with organising the Experimental Festival. The Experimental festival is where the third years are given the opportunity to showcase unique projects that utilize all the techniques they have learnt over the years. It allows them to bend the rules, be limitlessly creative and innovative. The festival prepares them for their graduation projects and gives them a taste of how the outside world will view their work. It is an exciting time, and when it comes to the films, expect the unexpected.

CLVA realize that the learning experience at AFDA can be challenging as you navigate your way around a new academic and social environment. It is CLVA’s aim to get your creative juices flowing by providing activities that help de-stress.

An evaluation form is handed to students to fill out at the end of the first and second semester which helps to discover how best to serve the students. We encourage everyone to get involved in the events as it is a great place to network and meet new people.

International students are required to have study permits to study in the Republic of South Africa. AFDA is not permitted to register you unless you have a valid temporary resident permit (i.e. a study permit). This includes students from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Study permits are obtained from the South African Embassy or High Commission or Consulate in your home country, and give you entry into South Africa for study purposes. Your study permit needs to be valid at all times and is issued for the duration of your study period, i.e. the minimum time it takes to qualify for the degree you are taking. This process can be lengthy and applicants are advised to settle registration fees with AFDA as early as possible to undertake the application for study permits. In some instances study permits can take up to 5 months to process.

If you are currently studying at a South African high school or at another tertiary education institution in South Africa, you need to apply for a new study permit valid for AFDA through VFS Global.

You will need the following if you wish to study in or visit South Africa and for purposes of application for your study permit:

Very important!!! A valid and acceptable unendorsed passport or travel document for your intended stay (must be valid for at least 30 days after the end of your stay here in SA).

Note -  At least one blank page in your passport. And then also:

  • A valid visa applied for on the Home Affairs application form (BI-1738)

  • Medical and radiological report (less than six months old)

  • Proof of medical cover registered in South Africa (please refer to the Health Insurance Page for more information)

  • Sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay and to cover your tuition

  • A police clearance certificate (no less than six months old)

  • Proof of accommodation for the duration of your study

  • A return or onward ticket after completion of your studies

  • Yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America (issued two weeks prior to departure to South Africa).

  • Students from several countries may be required to pay relocation and deportation fee which is refundable upon return home.

  • Additional supporting documentation may be requested such as proof of guardian if you are under aged or proof of registration fee payment towards AFDA.

For information about South African Embassies and Consulates abroad click here


Recent changes to visa regulations in South Africa specify that all international students taking up studies in South Africa must comply with visa regulations in the Immigration Act (Act No. 13 0f 2002).

This Regulation 10(1)(h) stipulates that:

A .An applicant for a study permit shall submit: (h) proof of medical cover with a medical scheme registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act, 1998 (Act No. 131 of 1998) or other medical insurance cover recognized in the Republic.

From this it is AFDA’s interpretation that all international students wishing to take up studies in South Africa must be in possession of appropriate medical cover with a registered South African medical scheme for the duration of their studies.  This minimum basic cover as prescribed in the Medical Schemes Act can be obtained through very affordable medical scheme products, that are specifically suited to the needs of international students.

Although some foreign medical insurance products are acceptable to some South African embassies or diplomatic missions abroad for purposes of securing a study visa, in accordance with the Immigration Act; for academic registration, AFDA will only accept proof of medical cover with a South African registered medical scheme.

In this regard students are recommend to apply for medical cover through the relevant appointed Absa Healthcare Consultants (ABSA HCC) who are specialist health cover intermediaries and who aims to to assist international students with obtaining appropriate medical cover. For more information or assistance with you medical aid application please contact ABSA HC:

Contact person: Mr Jacques van der Merwe (ABSA Consultants and Actuaries) Tel: +27 21 941 8900 Email:

AFDA assists in this process by maintaining a database of all students seeking accommodation and facilitating the first step of communication between possible share-houses. However, AFDA does not find accommodation for any students nor do we have any campus residence. We have a database of accommodation in the suburbs surrounding the campuses. The list includes youth hostels, house-sitting, granny cottages, apartments to let and to share, and communal houses. Some of the accommodation is within walking distance of the campuses; otherwise one will need to consider transport options. Please note AFDA takes no responsibility for the housing choice of the student. Travel and housing arrangements are the sole responsibility of the student. Only exchange students may request airport transfer and this is at the behest of AFDA. Students need to be aware that not all public transport options are preferable or suitable. For various accommodation providers in the vicinity of your campus or information about private and public transport please contact:
Nadia Chalkley <> +27 021 448 7600

Tips before signing lease agreements:

  • Always read the contract

  • It is not advisable to settle the entire contract period’s lease payments upfront. Only pay the required deposits and first month’s lease.

  • Watch out for additional costs such as water, electricity, parking, cleaning services, garden services and administrative fees.

  • Check the location online and confirm the distance of the location to your campus. The International Student Affairs Office can confirm the existence of the accommodation and assist with a site visit prior to your arrival.

  • In South Africa it is illegal to sub-let – do not consider this as an option.

  • Ask questions about the furnishings, crockery, cutlery and facilities for example how many students per house and how many bathrooms per student.

  • Bedding is normally not provided – check this prior to arrival.

  • Ensure that you communicate your arrival and check in details to the landlord to avoid being stranded.


Travellers entering South Africa from countries where yellow fever is endemic are often required to present their Yellow World Health Organization (WHO) vaccination record or other proof of inoculation or they must be inoculated at the airport in order to be permitted entry.

It is recommended that you consult your personal physician in your home country for further advice and information on inoculations.

Precautions should be taken if travelling to the Kruger National Park and other low altitude game parks and surrounding areas. Malaria prophylaxis should be taken before arriving in, during stay in and after departure from, these areas.

Remember that to be effective, anti-malaria drugs must be taken regularly and in strict accordance with the doctor’s instructions.


The South African Standard Time is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). There are no zone or seasonal variations.

Electricity Voltage

220 / 230 Volts AC at 50Hz. Three-pin round plugs are in use.

Weights and Measures



Check South African Weather Forecasts on
Contrary to popular belief, South Africa can experience all four seasons in one day during our autumn & winter months (April – August)!
Be prepared for all weather conditions.


South Africa has 11 official languages namely Sepedi, Sesotho, Setwana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu.
English is the medium of instruction at AFDA.


South African cuisine has wide variety derived from the culinary traditions of its diverse population.

Traditional dishes include: bunny chow (curry in a half- loaf of bread), smilies (barbequed sheep’s head), samp and beans, bobotie (curried ground beef with onions and eggs), milktart, koeksisters (a very sweet twisted doughnut dipped in syrup) etc.
South Africans are very fond of a braai; a barbecue with steaks, chicken and boerewors (spicy sausage). South African wines are among the best in the world, and there are also good local beers.

There are a wide variety of restaurants waiting to be discovered in South Africa besides local South African restaurants you will find excellent Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Greek and seafood restaurants, as well as numerous steakhouses. There are also many coffee shops (which serve light meals) and fast food / take-away restaurants.


The currency in South Africa is the Rand.
One Rand (R) = 100 cents (c). Bank notes currently available are R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10; and coins are R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c. There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency being brought into the country, as long as it is declared to the Customs/Excise officers on arrival.

Whilst you will need some cash with you on arrival for travel costs and to cover general expenses during the first few weeks it is wise to use your credit or debit card when purchasing anything in SA.

Credit Cards and Travellers’ Cheques

Most international credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted, as well as travellers’ cheques. Foreign money and traveller’s cheques, provided the currency is accepted in South Africa, may be converted into local currency at most banks and other authorized institutions such as Bureaus de Change, American Express, Thomas Cook/Rennies, Travel Agencies and Airlines. Some hotels and restaurants do accept traveller’s cheques for payment of services and purchases.

Always request for the credit/debit card machine to be brought to you – do not let your credit card out of your sight. This will reduce any risk of fraudulent transactions.

An alternate method of bringing money into South Africa is to bring some of your money in traveller’s cheques. A commission will be charged each time you exchange your travellers cheques.

Foreign currency can be exchanged at South African International Airports. A commission fee is charged every time you exchange currency.


VAT (Value Added Tax)

Currently 14% is included in the price of most goods and services. Foreign visitors may claim refunds of the VAT PAID ON GOODS TAKEN OUT of South Africa. Information leaflets are available at the international airports.


There are certain goods that you cannot bring into South Africa and other goods on which duties need to be paid.
Customs requirements
Agricultural requirements

For more information on South Africa, visit the following websites:
South African Tourism
South Africa Explored

Africa Explorer

Like anywhere else in the world your safety is strongly dependent on you. One needs to take precautions wherever you are!

The vast majority of students and visitors complete their stay in South Africa without incident however students are encouraged to always be vigilant and aware that criminal activity can occur as in any other city of the world. It is not advised that students walk alone especially after dark. Students should make the necessary arrangements to ensure that their personal property is covered by insurance against theft as foreign visitors are targets for petty theft or muggings. Most accommodation providers do not cover any losses incurred by students due to theft. It is the student’s own responsibility.

When out and about:

  • Do not publicize your valuables, e.g. jewelry, camera, etc.

  • Use credit cards at reputable providers or if not possible carry only small amounts of cash.

  • At night, avoid isolated and dark places.

  • If you need any information, look for a policeman or information or security officer who will assist you.

  • If you want a taxi, your hotel, accommodation provider or the nearest tourism information office can recommend a reliable service. For more information on transport providers please refer to the following link on the Cape Town Visitor Guide:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.

  • Get advice from your hotel, a nearby tourism office or the AFDA student affairs division before travelling by foot or on local or public transport.

When at the Beach

  • Swim at beaches manned by lifeguards.

  • Swim between the marked areas – flags or beacons.

  • Obey instructions of lifeguards.

  • Do not bring along valuables to the beach, always leave them behind.

  • Use adequate sun protection cream since the UV index remains high in South Africa throughout the year

  • When encountering difficulties in the sea, raise one hand above head.

  • Do not fish or collect shells without obtaining the necessary permits from the nearest Post Office.

  • Do not take glass bottles to the beach.

  • Avoid mixing alcohol and swimming.

When travelling in rural areas

  • Establish how to observe the cultural protocol of that area prior to arrival.

  • Visit traditional and rural areas via recognized tourism transport.

  • Use registered, qualified tour guides.

  • Get advice from your local tourism office in the region for the best routes to follow.

  • Do not stop to pick up strangers, even children. When in need call the police or local authorities to assist.

 When travelling by car

  • Always know where you are going. Know the route.

  • Fasten your seatbelt, lock your doors, and only leave your windows open about 5 cm.

  • Never pick up strangers, even children.

  • Do not use your cell/mobile phone while driving, unless you have a hands free kit.

  • Never display your valuables in the car e.g. handbags, clothes, cell/mobile phones. Lock them in the trunk.

  • Be aware of your surroundings when you stop at a traffic light or stop in the street.


  • Store valuables in the safety deposit box at reception or in your room.

  • Keep your room locked whether you’re in or out.

  • If someone knocks, check who it is before opening the door.

  • Do not allow safety or maintenance personnel on your premises or in your room without identification or notification from the landlord.

At the airport

  • It is acceptable to lock your luggage when travelling within South Africa.

  • Do not accept or carry any luggage that you have not personally packed.

  • Always keep your bags where you can see them.

  • No need to accept help from anybody at airports – push or carry your own luggage to domestic departures.

  • Do not allow other people to tamper with your bags.

  • Make sure that your bags and luggage have identification tags.