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Your time here

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The International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) arranges an orientation programme for our SSA students to welcome them to the University of Cape Town (UCT), and to assist with the transition to UCT and Cape Town in general.

Essential information about pre-registration, registration and life at UCT will be explained during orientation, so we encourage you not to miss any of the orientation talks.

Through the orientation programme, students meet one another as well as South African students who act as orientation leaders. They learn important information regarding safety, health, immigration, academic procedures, financial arrangements and services offered by the international office. The programme also introduces students to student support services at UCT, the university environment and adjusting to South African culture.

Orientation at a glance

  • Introductory welcome addresses by executive leadership
  • Health and safety, culture shock and Cape Town-in-context talks
  • Campus tour (including library)
  • Drumming session
  • Peninsula tour

Download the second semester 2019 orientation programme


Pre-registration is a visa clearance process that all international students at UCT need to go through. We’re required to keep records of your documents and to keep the South African Department of Home Affairs fully informed about the registration of international students at UCT. If you do not successfully pre-register, you will not be able to register for your classes.

Students coming through our study-abroad provider organisations will usually be pre-registered by IAPO and the organisations concerned, and need not do so in person. If in doubt, please ask your study-abroad provider if this applies to you.

SSA individual students or students coming through a university partnership need to pre-register when they get to Cape Town. For more information about pre-registration email:

You will need to bring the following documents for pre-registration:

  • Passport
  • Proof of medical insurance  from a South African medical aid scheme, should include details of the insurance cover
  • Proof of fees payment
  • Address of your residence in Cape Town
  • Your South African cell (mobile) phone number
  • Contact details for next of kin and home university


Orientation at UCT


On arrival, you will need to register for the classes you intend to take during your semester at UCT (and which you listed as part of your application). Our registration process will be explained in-depth at orientation, so it’s essential that you make time to attend that orientation session.

Tips for registration

  • Remember that the system at UCT is likely to be different from the system you are used to. Come with an open mind and patience: we’ll do our best to make things as smooth as possible, but we do it in person rather than online, so be prepared to stand in line.
  • Don’t worry about registration and other logistics ahead of time. Everything will be clearly explained during orientation, and our helpful staff will be on hand to help if you run into any problems.
  •  If you wish to register for any postgraduate courses at UCT or to be registered as a postgraduate SSA student, you need to provide your SSA administrator with an original or certified copy of your degree certificate before pre-registration. (Postgraduate courses have course codes in the 4000 and 5000 number range).