CAO Application | How to Apply to Study Via CAO

CAO simply stands for Central Application Office. It is a platform in partnership with selected Universities to take care of their application processes. Read on and let me guide you to a successful CAO online application.

What is CAO Applicaion?

The CAO application means you are filing an application to study at the university but not directly to the University. Instead, you are filing your application through a third party called the Central Application Office.

Not all University applications go through this portal. There are only a few Universities and private colleges that support this platform.

The Durban University of Technology, Mangosuthu University of Technology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the University of Zululand are currently on this platform. It means that instead of filing your application directly to any of these universities, you can easily file through the CAO website.

CAO Online Application Process

The application process is exactly like any other University application process. However, this is a multiple Universities application platform so you will indicate which of them you are applying to.

You should also note that academic requirements, document requirements, and fee requirements are not different on the CAO platform. Is just the same as what the University has requested.

You must submit only one application to the University either via the CAO or to the University directly. If you have submitted your application to the University already, do not submit it again via CAO. In most cases, the Universities will refer you to submit your applications online through the CAO website during inquiries so you don’t have to worry much.

To start your application, you must first make sure you have soft-copies of all your document requirements. You will also need an active phone number, email address, and reliable internet connection. You must allocate about an hour to complete the entire process.

Application Proces

  • Click on “Apply” navigation link. A page similar to the image below will appear.
cao application process
  • Click on “Continue With Application
  • Enter your SA ID number or Passport number.

Follow through the process and make sure you read all terms and conditions before accepting them. You should be able to submit your application successfully.

You must also upload your documents after the application process. Use the CAO login procedure below to log in and upload your documents.

CAO Login

Right after your application, you should receive an email confirmation from CAO. In the email, you should be able to see your CAO Number which is unique for everyone. That CAO number will also serve as your Username when logging into the platform.

  • Click on the “Login” navigation link.
  • Since you are new, you will have to generate a password by clicking on “Click Here” link in the “Applicants” paragraph. refer to screenshot below.

CAO Login
  • Fill the form using the information you provided in your application. Also make sure you select to receive password by SMS or Email. Complete the Captcha and hit the “Submit” button. If everything is perfect, you should receive your password within few seconds.
  • Go back CAO login page
  • Enter your CAO number and password.

You should be able to login successfully now. After a successful login, make sure you upload all the necessary documents.

CAO Application Status Checking

To check your application status, simply follow the procedure below. Make sure you have already gone through the application process before checking your status.

  • Go to the CAO website:
  • Click on “My Application
  • Enter your CAO Number, SA ID number or Passport

You should be able to check your application status.

There is also another way you can check your CAO online application status.

Since you already have your password, log into the platform and click on “My Application” you don’t have to enter your ID or Passport in that case.


Even though application using this platform might seem simple, there are few challenges you might face here and there. Always make sure you contact CAO through the following addresses.

Phone Numbers
031 268 4444
086 0860
086 0860 226

Fax Number
086 622 8828
International: +27 31 268 4422

Physical Address
Gate 11, Central Services Complex – UKZN
Mary Thiphe Street (Cato Manor Road)
Cato Manor

Postal Address
Private Bag X06

[email protected]

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