South Africa
Medical aid requirements for international students in South Africa

Medical aid requirements for international students in South Africa

Starting your life as an international student can be exciting but also overwhelming. One crucial step is ensuring your well-being by getting medical aid. This isn't just a checklist item; it's peace of mind in a new environment.

As an international student, you will need to get medical aid cover before you can receive an international clearance from your educational institution of choice. The international clearance certificate is your passport to start your registration.

Before registering to study, ensure that you:

  • Apply for medical aid as soon as possible. Get covered before arriving in South Africa to avoid delays and stress.
  • Have a medical aid membership certificate for the entire academic year to ensure uninterrupted access to healthcare.
  • Check that your medical aid is registered with the Council for Medical Schemes in South Africa.  
  • If your studies are sponsored, inform your sponsor about the medical aid requirements to ensure seamless coverage.
  • Take the time to research different student medical aid plans and their costs to find the best fit for your budget and needs.
  • Make sure your chosen medical aid scheme is accepted by your academic institution to avoid any registration hurdles.

Important additional points:

  • Remember, medical aid fees are not included in your tuition fees. You will need to budget separately for this expense.
  • Payment for medical aid is made directly to the scheme and usually upfront for each year of study.
  • You will need to renew your membership annually for the duration of your studies.  
  • Your medical cover begins based on your study visa period, not your arrival date.  
  • If you start late or cancel your studies, inform your medical aid provider one month before the cover starts to avoid unnecessary charges.
  • If you have special medical needs or chronic conditions, inform your chosen medical aid scheme promptly to ensure proper coverage.
  • Avoid using third-party facilitators for the application process due to potential fraud risks.

Ready to apply?

To complete your application, simply gather these essential documents to start your medical aid application:

  • A copy of your passport
  • A letter of acceptance for full-time studies from a South African educational institution
  • Proof of payment for the duration of your cover based on your accepted quote

Apart from the day-to-day medical care, depending on the plan you choose, you can access specialist medical services such as dentistry and physiotherapy. You could also tap into other benefits, such as the international travel emergency benefit, which can be used when visiting other countries outside South Africa.

Resources to help you get started

Get more information about the best medical aid for international students and how you can apply for them.

  1. The Council for Medical Schemes
    A regulatory body for South African medical aid schemes.
    0861 123 267
    +27 (0)12 431 0500 (Outside South Africa)
  2. The International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA)
    A non-profit organisation providing service and information to international students and South African students looking to study abroad.
    [email protected]
    068 347 7917
  3. The educational institution you will be studying at
    You can reach out to the educational institution you will be studying at. They will be able to guide you on the medical aids they accept and usually offer useful information on their websites.

Disclaimer: This article is solely intended for information. It does not constitute financial, tax or investment advice or recommendation. Please speak to a financial advisor or registered financial professional before making any financial decision(s).

Standard Bank, its subsidiaries or holding company, or any subsidiary of the holding company and all of its subsidiaries make no warranties or representations (implied or otherwise) as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of the information provided in this article or that it is free from errors or omissions.