Discover the Central Applications Office – CAO Online Application Portal via www.cao.ac.za and learn how to login to search for study options, obtain a CAO number, generate a password, and apply for admission.

About Central Applications Office (CAO) Application

The Higher Education Institutions in South Africa such as Durban University of Technology (DUT), Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), and the University of Zululand (UNIZULU) and other colleges and private Universities have delegated to Central Applications Office (CAO) the task of processing centrally applications to their first-year undergraduate courses. The participating institutions retain the function of making decisions on admissions.

The purpose of the Central Applications Office (CAO) is to process central applications for undergraduate courses in South Africa Higher Education Institutions and to deal with them efficiently and fairly. Try CACH Online Application Portal.

How to Apply for CAO Online Application

To apply via CAO, applicants need to explore the list of programmes you may qualify for. If you change your subject choices, then your programme options will change.

  1. Search for ‘Study Options for Me
  2. Select the option “I’m a learner looking for help with subject choices
  3. Select your Exam Types
  4. Enter the seven school subjects that you have chosen for grades 10-12
  5. Search for a subject by entering the name or partial name of the subject
  6. Tap on the Search button

Enter your CAO number, ID number, or Results to see what programmes you may qualify for at our member institutions.

Before you get started:

  • If you have already submitted an application form, do not submit a duplicate application via the Internet.
  • The CAO will only accept one application form from you for a specific entry year and term.
  • Have your school and tertiary prospectus handy before you start.

CAO Online Application Process

To submit an application via the Central Applications Office here’s a simple step to follow:

  1. Access CAO Website via www.cao.ac.za
  2. Navigate to Apply
  3. Select and Enter SA ID Number or Password
  4. Provide a Valid Email Address
  5. Select the qualifications and assessments section(s) that are relevant to you
  6. Select your payment method
  7. Read all terms and conditions
  8. Fill in your details (all fields required)
  9. Tap on ‘Proceed with application’ to obtain your CAO application number

Your application details will appear on the screen and you will also receive an email containing your CAO application number and your email verification code.

Well done!!! Use the CAO login Portal to upload your documents.

CAO Login Portal

Here’s how to access and login to the CAO Portal (www.cao.ac.za) to obtain an application number and proceed to upload all supporting documents.

  1. Go to the CAO Login Page
  2. Navigate to Login on the right
  3. Locate “Applicants” For a new password to login and complete your application or Upload Documents, Navigate to Click here
  4. Fill in all fields to receive your password
  5. Complete the Captcha and hit the “Submit” button
  6. Select one option to receive a password by SMS or Email.

If you do not receive an email with your application number your application has not been processed successfully. Proceed to upload all your documents.

CAO Documents for Applications

To log in to upload your documents via www.cao.ac.za, you must have the following:

  • CAO/ID Number AND
  • A cellphone (with cell number entered on your application) OR
  • Access to your email (which was entered on your application) AND you must have your documents saved in a file on your computer or a memory stick/flash drive.

Minimum documents required

  • Copy of ID AND
  • Highest Qualification Achieved

Further documents

  • Any other documents requested by the institution (if any)

How to Upload Document on CAO

After applicants have completed the online application and received their CAO number, they will be required to upload these documents.

  1. Go to the CAO Login Page
  2. Enter your CAO Number and Password
  3. Upload all the necessary documents
  4. Logout

Congratulations!!! check CAO application status. Learn how to apply for NSFAS funding and check application status regularly.


In any one year, you may not present more than one application.

Applicants are responsible for the security of the personal data that they may have access to (for example, receive in the mail, write down, store, print, view in a browser, download, etc.). You should always ensure that your CAO account password and email passwords are kept safe, as well as log out once you are finished using your accounts.