Intern in South Africa Arrival

Airport pickup is included in the CISabroad program fee, but we cannot guarantee airport pickup for anyone that arrives outside of the designated arrival times. To help us make sure we meet you at the airport, please fill out the Travel Information form in your online portal. 

South Africa Airport

Local staff will meet you at the airport, but not in baggage claim or before you have gone through customs and/or immigration. The local staff will meet you outside of these areas after you exit customs/immigration. Then you will be taken to your housing. We try to take groups of participants to their housing at the same time, which sometimes means waiting at the airport for a short while if someone’s flight is delayed a few minutes. We appreciate your patience here!

Generally speaking, it takes about 30-40 minutes to clear South African customs and collect your baggage. When passing through customs, please mention “tourism” as your purpose of visit. If you mention “internship,” customs officials frequently confuse this with employment and request to see a South African Work Permit. When it is your turn to pass through customs, have a copy of your return flight itinerary ready. They may not ask for it, but have it printed just in case. You will be issued a 90-day tourism visa.

When you have collected your bags, you will proceed to the international arrivals area (if your point of entry into South Africa is Johannesburg, we will meet you in the Cape Town domestic arrivals area). A member of the onsite team, VACorps, will be waiting for you and will be holding a sign with our logo that says “welcome VACorps interns!”. In the unlikely event that you do not see the onsite team when you enter the terminal, please wait approximately 15 minutes and do not wander around the airport. If after 15 minutes, you sill do not see them, please call the CISabroad Emergency Phone. 

As you leave the airport you will be taken into Observatory and dropped at your place of accommodation. You will go through a check-in procedure with the housing company, and given a “Welcome Pack” from both the housing company (Rentaroom) and from VACorps. In these packs you will find everything you need to get started in South Africa. If you have not pre-ordered a local phone, you will be given a temporary phone with some local credit on it. Please turn this phone on right away. There is some credit on these phones, but please do remember making international calls will use up this credit very quickly. All of the VACorps staff numbers are found here in this pack as well. So if you have any problems, please feel free to call us. 

Your first few days in the city will be an absolute whirlwind; accordingly, we schedule very few activities on your first day in Cape Town so you have ample time to rest after your tiring journey. 

Your bags may decide to take a later flight (don’t panic). If the airline loses your luggage you must file a report with the airline while you are still in the baggage area. It is much more difficult to file this report once you’ve left the baggage claim area.

If your flight is delayed, please make sure to call the CISabroad Emergency phone so that we can inform our onsite team of your delay. We will do everything we can to pick you up from the airport, even if your flight is delayed, but if we cannot meet you there, we will provide you with detailed information on how to take transportation to your housing.

A Pre-Arrival sheet will be e-mailed to you, 1-2 weeks before you arrive onsite. This will contain more detailed information on your arrival as well as specific phone numbers and contact information if there are any issues with your flight or airport pickup.

For extra information on airports around the world, including maps and estimated arrival times, check out the website,