How Do I Apply For a Matric Exemption Certificate?

Exemption certificates are issued to students who obtained a Senior Certificate without endorsement or an equivalent foreign school-leaving qualification and wishes to pursue first degree studies at a university in South Africa.

Students who were unable to pass Senior Certificate with endorsement are required by law to apply for a matriculation exemption through the Matriculation Board.

International students wanting to register for first-degree studies in South Africa need to have their school qualifications evaluated by the Matriculation Board, which will then issue a certificate of exemption to those who qualify.

There are two types of exemptions, namely complete exemption certificates and conditional exemption certificates.

Complete exemption certificates do not expire, however, take effect on a date that depends on the qualification based on which it is awarded. 

Conditional exemption certificates are for the following:

  • 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.
  • 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.

The exemption certificate types vary from one to another. Therefore the validation period 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.

To apply you will need to get the M30e form, which may be obtained from:

Due to the high volume of inquiries that the 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.

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