Film and modelling industry visa regulations

film and modelling industry visa regulations
The high season for the film and modelling industry kicks off soon in South Africa.

This makes it a good time to refresh your knowledge of the visa regulations for the industry.

Knowing what’s required of overseas models, actors and film crew members could help prevent unnecessary delays on projects.

Four major stipulations

The modelling and film industry is a major contributor to the South African economy. That’s why the visa regulations are designed to encourage internationals to keep on coming back to South Africa for movies and fashion shoots:

1. Visa applications can be made from anywhere

Prior to 2015, applicants had to submit their visa application in the country of passport or of usual residence. It goes without saying that models and actors often find themselves away from home.

Today, applicants can apply for visas from the country they are in at the time. It is important to note that the visa application must be accompanied by a letter from one of the recognized professional bodies.

2. It’s not everyone who must make a visa application before arrival

The visa regulations distinguish between specialists and oversight personnel.

Who are ‘specialists’?

Specialists are, for example, cameramen, hairstylists and makeup artists who’ll need work authorization.

Who are ‘oversight personnel’?

Oversight personnel are required on set but are not required to work. For instance, clients, agency and production personnel.

Requirements for each:

  • Specialists: Those from visa exempt countries and who would need to be in South Africa for no longer than 90 days must apply for a short-term work visa.
  • Oversight personnel: Those from visa exempt countries won’t need to apply for any visa. They can enter and receive a 90-day Visitors Visa. Please note that applications must also include a CPA/SAASP/NAMA letter confirming the purpose of the visit.

Anyone who has to stay in South Africa for longer, may apply for a visitor visa contemplated in Section 11 (1) (b) (iv) of South Africa’s Immigration Act. This is provided the person can justify their extended stay.

In general, the Department encourages anyone from the industry who was to apply for a short-term work visa, to apply for a long-term visitor visa. This visa allows stays of up to 3 years, with multiple entries permitted.

3. The processing time is 5 days

It only takes 5 working days to process visas. This is much shorter than other work visas at other embassies.

4. Visas aren’t tied to an employer

The short-term work visa for specialists does not require the name of an employer. Instead, visas are issued only in the name of the applicant. This is hugely beneficial to those in the film or modelling industry, as many specialists are self-employed.

Contact us for assistance

Should you ever feel that you require professional assistance with a short-term work visa, you are more than welcome to contact us. Intergate has successfully processed more than 20 000 visas since 2005.

You can email us or call us:

  • Cape Town: +27 (0) 21 424 2460
  • Johannesburg: + 27 (0) 11 234 4275.

Our team will guide you through the requirements and assist with the application. This will leave you with more time to plan and pack.