For the majority of foreign nationals travelling to South Africa for a holiday, entry is straightforward and hassle-free. All visitors to South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport in order to enter the country, and in some cases, a visa. It is advisable to ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months beyond your intended departure date from South Africa and that it contains at least two empty pages.
Travellers from certain regions of the world (Scandinavia, Japan, the USA, and most Western European and Commonwealth countries) do not need to apply formally for a visa. Upon arrival in South Africa, citizens of countries falling into this category will automatically be given a free entry permit sticker outlining how long they may remain in the country. This automatic entry permit is usually for a maximum of 90 days, though the immigration officer may tailor the time period according to the airline tickets held. Foreign nationals from some other countries are offered this service, but for a maximum of 30 days. Visitors wishing to stay longer have to apply formally for a visa, as opposed to relying on the automatic entry permit.