A South African study permit may be issued to a foreigner intending to study in South Africa for longer than three months at any institution of learning that has been approved by the Department of Home Affairs.

Typically, learning institutions encompass primary, tertiary and any higher educational institutions and depending on the course and institution concerned study permits are issued for durations up to 3 years.

South African study permits do not entitle the holder to conduct work, as defined in the Immigration Act since the applicant should in that case apply for a work permit. However, for learners at higher education institutions, part-time work may be conducted for a period not exceeding twenty hours per week which requires authorization from the Department of Home Affairs.

Work may also be authorized for those learners that are required to perform practical training as part of his or her studies.