Guillaume de Carcaradec story: How I got my exchange permit – Tips for all interns going to SA

To do a 6 month internship in South Africa, you need to get a visa to stay in the country. The documents asked by the consulate for the visa are not very difficult to get when you are in France but it take a lot of time to get them.

So if you want to start as soon as possible, you should start to ask those documents as soon as you start you research for your internship.

Also Note that if you must be less than 25 years old to apply for an exchange permit.

-Where to start the procedure:

As my company advised me, after the interview, I directly went to the South African consulate in Paris to start the exchange permit procedure. The consulate gave me the BI-1738 with in front page all the documents required. It is important to note that the South African consulate is only open in the morning (9-12am).



I signed my contract on the 28th of January and then I started gathering all the documents asked by the consulate. On the 11th of February I gave all the documents the consulate and I got my visa on the 27th of February to start my internship on the 4th of March.

-Document required:

  • BI-1738 form complete (one part by you and the other by the South African company) you can download it here: but all the documents are not listed at the front page.
  • A passport that is valid 30 after the expiry of your intended visit
  • A vaccination certificate (it’s not mandatory, it depends on where you will live in South Africa)
  • A bank statement or a proof that you can “survive” in South Africa. Personally I asked my bank to give me a paper that shows my account balance and also a document signed by my parents that explain that in case of problems they will help me.
  • A medical cover. As a MGEL subscriber I took a medical cover from them named the Extra Pass (more information here:
  • Plane ticket to go and return (or a cash deposit or equivalent value for your return ticket.)
  • Medical and Radiological report (the form is to complete in the BI-1738)
  • Police clearance if you are 18 years old or older also know as Extrait de casier judiciare, Bulletin n°3 that you can order online trough this website:
  • You also need a letter of the company
  • A letter of the university
  • A copy of your student card
  • The “convention de stage” or the contract.
  • Your resume in English
  • Birth Certificate in English, you need to go to the city hall of your birth location.
  • €43 by cheque or by cash 

IMPORTANT: Most of the document are required in English, if they are not directly in English you need to make them translate by an official translator. If you want a quick translator don’t hesitate to ask me, it took me only two days to get my documents translated in my mailbox.

Comment by Victor Richet on March 25, 2014 at 9:00am

Hi !

I also had to get a 6-months work exchange permit in February 2014, and all you mentioned remains clear and true.

Note that a proof of residency was also required, but a few-days reservation in an hotel or a letter that confirms you have a place to stay from the company that hired you is enough.

It took me 5-6 weeks to gather the documents and to get the visa from the consulate.




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