As an international student, you’ll be joining a diverse community at Africa’s premier research university. Our support team is here to guide you through the process of preparing for your arrival in Cape Town and settling into campus life. Download the Pre-departure Orientation Guide for more information to help you prepare.

Before making any departure plans, secure your place by accepting our study offer, and make the necessary arrangements for paying your tuition fees. This will ensure a smooth transition into the campus community through orientation, registration and course enrolment.

We recommend you apply for your study visa as early as possible and ensure all your travel arrangements are not hampered by visa delays.

Accept your study offer

To accept your study offer, log into the UCT self-service website using your UCT student number and password. If you have forgotten what these are, check your offer letter and follow the prompts to reset your password.

Pay your fees

International students must pay their fees before arriving in Cape Town. If you cannot pay all your fees in advance, you have the option to settle them in two instalments:

  1. The minimum initial payment must be received in the UCT bank account by 31 January.
  2. The balance of fees must be received by 30 June.

Full details can be found on the Fees page.

Apply for your visa

Applying for a study visa can take 12 weeks or longer, particularly when there is high demand (when many students are applying for a visa) or at the end of the year when many embassies and consulates close for the holidays.  We recommend you apply as soon as you accept your study offer to avoid processing delays.

Prepare your documents in advance

Before travelling to South Africa, please check all your documents, paying particular attention to your

  • Passport: Is it valid for the full length of your intended stay in South Africa? Is the name in your passport the same as that in your UCT study offer and Letter of Undertaking?
  • Study visa: When you receive your study visa, check that is covers the full duration of your programme of study. If not, consult the South Africa Embassy or Consulate immediately, before travelling to South Africa.

Immigration and customs officials may ask for copies of documents to verify your visa and immigration status on arrival.  You should prepare copies of the following documents and keep these in your hand luggage for easy access:

  • UCT study offer letter
  • UCT Letter of Undertaking in support of your visa

 

Pre-Arrival Information

  • 1. Accommodation

    We recommend you make arrangements for housing before travelling to Cape Town. For those not staying in university residences, there is a range of private accommodation in the area surrounding campus.

    Check the off-campus accommodation noticeboard or email iapo@uct.ac.za for access to the International Office third party online housing platform.

    Once you receive a letter of offer for an academic place, it is important that you confirm your acceptance of the offer, as soon as possible, in order to secure your place. Should you receive an offer for a place in UCT residence, then you ought to secure your residence offer within the specified period. A reply form is attached to the offer letter.

    The University of Cape Town has over 28 000 students, but unfortunately can only offer accommodation in a university residence to 6 000 students. Therefore, the demand is high and by far exceeds availability.

    In case you did not obtain UCT campus housing, the Off-Campus Student Accommodation Services (OCSAS) can assist you in finding accommodation offered by private landlords in surrounding areas. Please visit their website for more information.

    Another housing option is EduBed, an online housing platform. Students can view an online catalogue and book their housing the platform. For more information, visit their website.

    Both off-campus accommodation options, through the UCT OCSAS and EduBed are vetted by a UCT staff member to ensure that the property meets the minimum norms and standards for student housing,

    Once housing is identified, students need to liaise directly with the landlord when interested. If you have any further queries about UCT Accommodation, please email Edubed.

  • 2. Medical Aid Cover

    By now, you should already have medical aid cover as it is a condition for a study visa and for entry into the country.

    If you have not already done so, you must purchase medical aid cover from a medical aid scheme registered with the South African Council of Medical Aid Schemes . The cover must be for one year (renewable annually) or for the full duration of your study programme and intended stay in South Africa where this is shorter than one year.

    We recommend two schemes as providing good medical cover and value for money:

     You will not be permitted to register unless you have medical aid cover.

    Keep your medical aid details with you at all times. You will need them if you fall ill or meet with an accident.

  • 3. Personal Insurance

    In addition to mandatory medical aid, we strongly recommend that you purchase additional personal insurance. UCT does not provide personal insurance cover. You should consider insurance policies that cover you for the loss of personal items such as phones, laptops and cameras, as well as travel insurance for lost luggage or having to rebook your ticket.

  • 4. Medication

    We recommend that you bring an adequate supply of any prescription medicines you regularly take, as ingredients in medications sometimes vary from one country to another. Keep medication in the original containers. Please declare any illnesses/allergies and special needs when you submit your online application form to UCT.

  • 5. Mobiles / cell phones

    Check with your cellphone / mobile provider about whether your phone will work in South Africa, and what the charges are for international roaming.

    If you are in South Africa for some time, we recommend you buy a South African sim card for easy access to the local mobile phone networks, including toll-free numbers.  Sim cards are available at the airport or local retail outlets including supermarkets.