1. What is a matriculation exemption?
A matriculation exemption is a legal requirement for the first-degree study at a South African university.

  •  Students who did not pass Senior Certificate with endorsement are required by law to apply for a matriculation exemption through the Matriculation Board.
  • International students wishing to register for first-degree studies in South Africa must have their school qualifications evaluated by the Matriculation Board that will then issue a certificate of exemption to those who qualify.

A certificate of exemption is issued on application to prospective students who have obtained a Senior Certificate without endorsement or equivalent foreign school-leaving qualification, which meets the requirements of the published regulations and wishes to pursue first degree studies at a South African university.

2. How do I apply for an exemption certificate?
You need to get hold of the M30e form which is obtainable from:

a)  Admissions Offices of universities or
b)  Download it from the Matriculation Board website or
c)  Request it via e-mail addressed to applications@usaf.ac.za

d)  Request that the form be faxed to you.

3. What types of exemption certificates can I obtain?
There are various types of exemption certificates issued depending on the qualifications of the applicant, e.g. complete exemption certificates and conditional exemption certificates.

a) Complete exemption certificates are:

  • certificates that do not have expiry dates but take effect on a date that is dependent on the qualification based on which it is awarded.  A detailed explanation of the different types of exemption certificates can be found on this page of the website.

b) Conditional exemption certificates  are:

  • Mature age which is offered to 23-year-old students and lasts for the full-time duration of study plus two years,
  • Foreign conditional which lasts for the full-time duration of study plus two years and
  • Ordinary conditional which lasts for a year, and have to be renewed every year until the student meets the requirements of the exemption.
  • Senate’s discretionary exemption, which is granted once the student, has completed a recognized Access course or a Foundation programme and it lasts for three years.

 4. If I change university will my exemption certificate remain valid?
The exemption certificate types vary from one to another. Thus the validation period also varies and is indicated on the certificate. If you change from one university to another, you need to send an application to the Board so that your exemption certificate can be transferred to the receiving university where you wish to be registered. However, if you qualified for Senate’s Discretionary exemption, you need to find out from the receiving university whether they are prepared to accept you with that kind of exemption.  Exemptions are issued to a university where you have been registered. You can apply to as many universities as you like, but you can only register at ONE university for an academic year.

5. How long does it take to process an application?
Due to the high volume of inquiries that this office receives, it takes the Matriculation Board 5-10 working days to process the online/faxed inquiries.   If the applicant qualifies for exemption a provisional letter is issued which is sufficient to facilitate admission to South African public university subject to the applicant meeting the institutional requirements. Furthermore, it takes approximately the same time to process an application form. The actual exemption certificate is issued in approximately 6-8 weeks after receipt of all relevant and correctly certified documents as well as the requisite payment.

6. If I’m not sure whether I’ll qualify for an exemption or not, what do I do?

Visit the online assessment and application page and follow the instructions. http://mb.usaf.ac.za/online-assessment-and-application/

7. How much do I pay for an exemption certificate?
The standard application fee for 2024 is R750.00 and is a non – refundable fee.  The Exemption fee is adjusted annually, and the applicants are required to pay the fee applicable for the year.

8. Where do I make payments?
The money can be deposited into the following bank account:

Bank: ABSA
Account name: Matriculation Board
Account number: 4059036917
Branch: Sunnyside Branch
Code: 630345
Swift code: ABSA ZA JJ

Please Note: When completing the bank deposit slip, make sure that your surname and initials are clearly indicated in the reference column and fax proof of payment to the Matriculation Board at 086 686 1720 or email it to Louise@usaf.ac.za for the attention of Ms Louise Graham.  Proof of payment needs to be included with the application to prevent delays in processing the application.

9. I wrote Joint Matriculation Board Examinations before 1992, and my certificate is lost. What can I do to obtain a duplicate?
You need to send us the following details:

  • Surname and full names that appear on your certificate;
  • Name of school where you sat for JMB examinations;
  • Year of examinations;
  • The area where the school is or was situated;
  • Your date of birth;
  • Your fax and telephone numbers.

Once the above information has been verified, the Matriculation Board will then issue a duplicate copy of your Senior Certificate.
Please Note: The Matriculation Board keeps the records of the then Joint Matriculation Board Examinations up to 1992.
If you wrote any other examination contact the national Department of Education at one of these numbers: 012 303 3500 or 012 312 5843 or 012 312 5846.