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ADMISSIONS - International Students

As an applicant who is not a South African citizen you have some legal requirements that you must comply with before the College of Cape Town may consider you as a possible student. Please pay careful attention to each step, do not skip any steps and make sure that you start the process early as you may find yourself under pressure to meet the admission deadlines.

1. Certification of Foreign Qualifications

The College of Cape Town is not able to evaluate foreign qualifications. All applications for such evaluations should be addressed to the SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA), which has statutory responsibility. Applicants must satisfy SAQA’s conditions, including payment of their fees, which are generally made known via their web site ( SAQA may amend their requirements from time to time and the latest requirements should always be obtained from them prior to requesting an evaluation. However, as a general guide they are known to require the following:

  • All qualification documents, i.e. the highest school certificate issued by the official examining body.
  • Complete and legible transcripts of academic records in respect of all other qualifications, together with the final certificates.
  • Preceding qualifications leading to any other advanced qualification where the latter is submitted.
  • Certificates in foreign languages should be submitted together with translations into English by a sworn translator.
  • The relevant evaluation fees

It can take quite some time for foreign qualifications to be evaluated, depending on the amount of research that SAQA need to undertake. Such evaluations should be requested well ahead of the deadline for enrolment, in order to ensure that the information is available to the College when processing the application. If the SAQA evaluation of foreign qualifications is not available at the time that the application for registration is processed by the College, the application will be summarily declined.

NOTE: Some of our courses have further admission criteria set by the Academic Board. These may include tests of co-ordination or dexterity, or of academic abilities in subjects such as mathematics and English language. Since a study permit will only be issued by the authorities once you have already been admitted as a student, courses requiring special pre-testing may therefore not be accessible to the majority of foreign students. It is therefore extremely important for you to contact the academic department concerned to obtain clarity about admission criteria before you start the process of application.

The language policy of the College directs that all official correspondence will be in English.

2. Application

When you submit your application you must submit a copy of your passport, your qualifications in the original languages, the English translations and a copy of the successful SAQA evaluation. If these documents are not submitted, your application will NOT be processed.

3. College Decision

The College will inform you by official letter if your application has been successful. Successful applicants will then use the College official letter to apply for a Visa and/or a Study Permit, issued by the South African Consulate attending to interests for your country.

4. Visa and Permit Application

All international students who are not South African Citizens (or who do not have South African residence status) who plan to study in South Africa are required to obtain a study permit before leaving their country. This permit is issued by the South African consulate.

The Department of Foreign Affairs establish the procedure to be used to apply for a permit. Our best understanding of this is that the student will need:

  • Valid passport (which should expire no less than 30 days [six months is recommended] after the end of the proposed period of study in South Africa, and must have at least one blank page available)
  • Visa for study in South Africa. Students may not arrive on a holiday visa and then apply for a study permit – this must be done before leaving the country of origin,
  • A vaccination certificate will likely need to accompany the visa application,
  • Letter of acceptance from the College of Cape Town to the issuing authorities,
  • Deposit for repatriation or a valid return plane ticket, and
  • All the applicable fees for the visa and study permit applications,
  • Address while studying.

Please also note the folowing:

  • A letter of sponsorship is not enough evidence that a repatriation guarantee has been paid. 
  • The College of Cape Town does not undertake to obtain a permit for students or applicant.
  • Acceptance by the College of Cape Town of an applicant does not bind the Department of HomeAffairs in any way to grant permission to enter the country, to grant a study permit or to allow him/her to reside in South Africa.
  • The Refugees Act, Act No. 130 of 1998 (Section 27) provides students who are bona fide, registered, refugees the right to study without a study permit. [Please complete the same application form as SA citizens.
  • Diplomats have the same status as South African Students. Their permits are facilitated by the Department of Foreign affairs. 
  • Children of diplomatic staff under the age of 23 are legally exempted from the requirement for a study permit. . [Please complete this form and provide certification of status.]
  • Ensure that your visa and study permit cover the full study period up to the end of the examinations in the official Academic Calendar, not just up to the examination date of the specific subjects you are applying for. That will lessen the likelihood of visa/permit trouble if the DHET need to change the examination schedule for any reason

5. Registration and Payment

Once you are in possession of your Study Permit you should complete the Registration Form and submit it to the College along with proof of payment and certified copies of all documentation. As a foreign citizen you do not qualify for bursaries from the South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). You will therefore need to arrange your own funding for your studies at the College.

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