How To Apply Through Central Applications Office CAO

How To Apply Through Central Applications Office CAO

How To Apply Through Central Applications Office CAO : CAO Step by step application process for the current academic year


An international applicant is a person who is not a citizen or permanent resident of South Africa. The higher education institutions of KwaZulu- Natal welcome applications from international applicants for their formal degree, diploma and certificate programmes. Some institutions also offer the opportunity of study in South Africa for one semester or one year. Durban University of Technology and the University of KwaZulu-Natal cannot accept international applicants into their access programmes.

Where to send your application

If you are applying for short-term study apply directly to the institution.

If you are applying to either Durban University of Technology, the University of Zululand, Mangosuthu Universitiy of Technology or to several institutions as the same time, apply through the CAO.

If you are applying to the University of KwaZulu-Natal, apply directly to the institution.

Applications to study Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal are considered ONLY from citizens of the following SADC countries: Botswana, Lesotho and Mauritius.

Language skills necessary. The language of instruction at all these institutions is English, and students need to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Deadlines for applications

International applicants should apply as early as possible. You will need a letter of acceptance from the higher education institution before you can apply for your Study Permit. The permit application will take up to eight weeks to be processed.The University of KwaZulu-Natal will not consider international applications received after 31 October.

Study Permits

Apply to the South African Embassy, High Commission, Consulate or Trade Office for a Study Permit once you have a letter from the institution offering you a place. Acceptance by an institution does not place any obligation on the South African government to issue or renew Study Permits. The permit currently costs R425, and must be renewed annually. This price will rise from 1 April 2008. Registered refugees and asylum seekers and others with Residence Permits allowing them to study do not require Study Permits.


Institutions can advise on the fees charged to international students and the cost of living. All international students are required by the South African government to take out private healthcare insurance, which can normally be arranged through the institution you are attending. Make sure you are insured for the whole period of study. You will not get subsidised treatment in South African government hospitals. If you are not sponsored by a South African organisation or citizen, you will have to deposit cash or a bank guarantee equivalent to the airfare ENTRY 2009 131 to your country of origin. International students do not normally qualify for financial assistance from South African institutions.

Foreign qualifications

The following are considered to be equivalent to the South African entry requirements:


Five passes in GCE including two at `A` level:

  • `A` level passes must be A, B, C, D or E
  • `O` level passes must be A, B or C

Applicants from SADC countries who have five passes at `O` level including English Language may be considered for diploma study.


Passes in five subjects, four of which must be at HIGCSE level:

  • HIGCSE passes must be 1, 2 or 3
  • IGCSE passes must be A, B or C


Applicants who have foreign qualifications and wish to enter degree programmes are required to have passes in English Language and one other language, and must usually also have passed Maths. They should apply for a Foreign or Foreign Conditional Matric Exemption from the Matriculation Board. Institutions will usually assist with this, or you can consult the Matriculation Board directly. There is a charge, currently R260, for a certifi cate of exemption.

Contact details:

The Matriculation Board PO Box 3854, Pretoria, 0001

  • 012 481 2847 / 2848
  • 012 481 2718 / 2922 wishing to enter diploma programmes may be required to have their qualifications assessed to confi rm that they are equivalent to the South African Senior Certifi cate. This evaluation is carried out by SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority).

If you need to telephone SAQA you must ask for the Quality Assurance department. The cost ranges from R360 to R720 depending on the level of priority. Conditions are on the SAQA website.

Contact details:

SAQA Postnet Suite 248, Private Bag X06 Waterkloof, 0145

  • 012 431 5000
  • 012 431 5039

Do NOT leave home before your Study Permit is granted – you will not be allowed to study on a Visitor`s Permit. You cannot apply for your first permit after you arrive in South Africa. People who are in South Africa for study purposes are not eligible to apply for South African citizenship.
FOR MORE INFORMATION Contact the institutions/s direct – see `Institution contact details`, or use the hyperlinks on the CAO website