South Africa LLM Resources

This page is a resource for South African lawyers who would like to attend a U.S. LLM program or a U.S. based online LLM program.

Obtaining a U.S. Visa for South African Students

An F-1 student visa is required for all South African lawyers who want to travel to the United States to earn an LLM degree. Before beginning the visa application process, lawyers should apply to one or more U.S. law schools. Upon acceptance, they will receive a Certificate of F-1 Eligibility (commonly referred to as an I-20 form). One this form is received by the future student, the visa application process can be initiated.

The United States Diplomatic Mission to South Africa provides the Official Visa Services website for accessing required documents and paying visa-related fees. There are also student advisers available at Consulates General Johannesburg, Duran and Cape Town who can answer questions about studying in the United States.

This is a general overview of the visa application steps:

  • Complete the online Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application, pay the $160 MRV application fee and print out DS-160 confirmation. The MRV fee can be paid by cash or credit card (online or by phone).

  • Pay the $200 I-90 SEVIS fee ($200). SEVIS (the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) tracks student with F-1 visas while they are enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities.

  • Schedule an interview at an office of the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban (the location of the applicant’s current residence will determine the Consulate). Have ready the DS-160 confirmation page and MRV receipt, as well as the applicant’s passport number.

  • Bring all forms listed above and receipts for all fees to the interview. Also, bring a recent color passport-style photograph along with transcripts and diplomas from previous academic programs.

In addition to the MRV fee, an $85 reciprocity fee must be paid in cash at the Consulate before the visa can be issued.

During the visa interview, applicants should be prepared to show strong family, economic and social ties to South Africa, and convince the interviewer that they plan to return to their home country after completing their studies.

LLM Resources for South African Lawyers

Lawyers who are interested in participating in an LLM program in the United States, will be pleased to know that there are a wide variety of LLM scholarships for international students.

South African lawyers who are enrolled in LLM programs at U.S. law schools may be interested in joining the National Bar Association (NBA). This organization, which was founded in 1925, is the largest and oldest association of African American attorneys and judges. Working with various national, state and local legal groups such as the ABA and the NAACP, the NBA co-sponsors events that further the development of the legal profession and provides legal assistance to African-Americans in need. Membership benefits include networking access to more than 20,000 lawyers, judges, legal professionals and law students, continuing legal education opportunities and convention and meeting discounts.