Medical Aid for International Students

Applying for a study visa to study in South Africa means sorting out a lot of paperwork and completing a lot of forms to submit at the South African embassy. We discuss the question of medical aid and you can find three options to choose from. [This post was updated on 02 March 2017]

Medical Aid | South African Visas

[This post has been updated as the one service provider no longer offers medical aid for international students. There are only 2 options available in South Africa.]

When you apply for your visa at the South African mission in your country, you will be requested to submit a whole host of documents, depending on what type of visa you are applying for.

If you are coming in on a study visa to learn English at the UCT English Language Centre, then this is the list of documents you will need to have together to submit to the embassy:

Your passport (please make sure that your passport has at least two empty visa pages)

  • Two passport photographs
  • An original bank statement showing you have enough money for your stay (approximately ZAR6000 per month) and your receipt for your course fees.
  • A return ticket
  • A letter of invitation from UCT – we will provide you with this.
  • A radiological report (Chest X-ray) – download here
  • A medical report – download here
  • A police clearance certificate from your home country
  • Medical Insurance – see our FAQ for more information
  • If you are bringing a spouse or children you will also need your marriage certificate and your children’s birth certificates

One of the most frequent questions we receive in this regard is about medical aid cover.

On the International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) at UCT website there is a document which explains that “[South African] legislation clearly states that all international students wishing to take up studies in South Africa must be in possession of appropriate medical cover with a registered South African medical scheme for the duration of their studies. This minimum basic cover as prescribed in the Medical Schemes Act can be obtained through very affordable medical scheme products, which are specifically suited to the needs of international students and which minimise the university’s or a student’s liability for medical costs.”

In other words, no medical aid, no study visa.

It may seem logical to look into the cheapest option just to fulfil the requirements. It is, however, advisable, to take some things into consideration when choosing which scheme/plan is best for you. After all, you will be here in Cape Town with us for some time, and you and your family want to know that should anything come up, you will be covered for it. The IAPO document points out a couple of points to consider:
1. Your specific medical needs. Do you have or need glasses, chronic medication for malaria or other illnesses, dentistry, etc.? Not all schemes will cover what you may need or are looking for. Read the documents carefully.

2. The cost payable per month
3. Consider the different benefits of the different plans
4. Proximity of network of providers (e.g. is your provider accessible or within walking distance from your residence?) The products offered generally offer network doctors in close proximity.

The two main providers who offer insurance for international students are Networx by Compcare Medical Scheme and Ingwe by Momentum Health Medical Scheme.

If you would like to join English classes at the UCT English language Centre in Cape Town, but are not sure if you need to apply for a visa you can either contact us directly, or check out our FAQs page which has all the downloads and info necessary about visas.

We look forward to welcoming you to our language school.

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