Crazy visa requirements

2013-06-12 09:34
South African passport holders are often faced with the task of obtaining a visa when travelling abroad. With the many rules and regulations that govern visas it's no wonder you will come across a few crazy requirements from around the world. Take a look at some of these... 


If you would like to visit Iran, the Minister of Foreign Affairs approves all the visa applications, which can be an extensive process because one person is sifting through hundreds of applications. Almost no communication will be given to you while your application is being looked over. On top of that you may be asked for finger prints when you arrive.


All first-time visa applicants need to pay a deposit of R 6000 directly to the Nigerian Embassy. No this is not a scam. The payment is known as a repatriation fee and is refunded to you upon returning to South Africa.


Early this year India made a few changes to their tourist visa regulations. First they passed the rule that hand written visa applications will no longer be accepted, all visa applications now need to be submitted online and then printed out to ensure you have a copy. You will need to take your copy of the application form to the nearest Indian consulate together with the other required documents.

The second rule India recently implemented is if you leave India you will no longer be allowed straight back into the country; you will need to wait for a period of two months before you can return. Even if you have a six months multiple entry tourist visa you still need to wait two months to return.

Israel v the rest of the Middle East

Should you have plans to visit Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Libya, Kuwait or Sudan but previously visited Israel and have an Israeli stamp in your passport, you will be denied entry. This is because most Arab countries do not recognise the Israeli state.

Saudi Arabia

A woman under the age of 30 is not allowed to travel alone to Saudi Arabia, but needs to be escorted by a husband or brother. The same goes for unmarried couples; they are not allowed to travel alone together but can travel within a group, making sure they are not perceived as a couple.


Almost all visa applications want a mountain of information and require you to answer a long list of questions. Some of these border on the weird or ridiculous, especially when applying for a visa to visit the United States of America. Questions include, "Are you a member of a terrorist organization?", "Have you ever been involved with torturing someone?", Are you coming to the US to engage in prostitution?", "Have you ever been involved with human trafficking?",  "Do you plan to engage in espionage activities while in the US?". Okay.


Study visas for Russia are only valid for a period of ninety days and you can only apply for a single entry visa, therefore you will need to renew your study visa every three months. South Africans who are applying for a Russian work or study visa are required to produce an HIV medical test stipulating you are HIV negative and the test must not be older than three months.

Visitors to South Africa

Most countries like Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada are able to visit South Africa without a visa. A valid passport is enough and they can stay for up to ninety days. They are welcomed with open arms, but if their passport doesn't have two blank pages to be stamped when they arrive they are turned away and sent home immediately.

It is hard to keep track of all the different rules countries have when it comes to visas. If you are serious about travelling overseas or emigrating it will benefit you to contact a visa consultancy that can provide you with extensive information on the specific visa you require - try Global Visas South Africa.

Have any crazy visa-related stories to share with us? Tell us in the comment section below, pop us an email to, follow us on Twitter or drop us a line on Facebook.

Read more on:    travel international

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.