Visa & Permits Explained

Long Term Visas, Permanent Permits & Visitor Visas

Long Term Visas

We assist with all categories of long term visas.  It is important to note that one cannot apply for a change of conditions visa locally in SA to change from a visitor visa to a long term visa category, except if a waiver is applied for and obtained from the SA Department of Home Affairs permitting one to do so.  To apply for the initial long term visa from one’s country of origin / country where one has a right to residence for (except for visitor visa status) would be best

Study Visa
  • Issued for the duration of the study course
  • Proof of study course payment and funds to sustain living expenses must be shown
  • Confirmation of medical cover preferred
Business Visa
  • Investors must show a minimum investment amount of R5 000 000 – confirmation of funds invested outside SA will suffice for the initial visa process
  • Before the business visa application is lodged, a recommendation relating to the viability of the intended business must be applied for and obtained from the SA Department of Trade and Industry
  • The validity period of the visa varies, can be issued for up to five years
Medical Treatment Visa
  • Can be issued up to six months
  • Proof of medical provision and confirmation of funds to sustain expenses must be shown
Relatives Visa – this can be divided into different categories
  • Spouse/life partner of SA national/residence holder
    • Marriage certificate must be shown
    • If in a life partnership, cohabitation and financial support confirmation must be given for at least 2 years
    • Visas can be issued for any period between 2 – 3 years
    • Given where the applicant does not wish to be employed in SA – work permission can be given but then the visa issued will sort under a different section of the SA Immigration Act
  • Biological children of SA citizens/residence holders (provided children have not been registered as SA nationals)
    • Unabridged birth certificate of utmost importance
    • Proof of funds from parents to sustain living expenses must be shown
    • Visa can be issued for 3 years
    • Permission to study can be included for dependent children
  • Brothers/sisters of SA citizens / permanent residence holders
    • Proof of biological link must be submitted
    • It is important to note that these applicants cannot work in SA, and the SA citizen/resident must be able to show that they can support the applicant financially
    • Visa can be issued for 3 years
Work Visa – this can be divided into different categories


  • Recommendation from SA Department of Labour must be obtained stating that no suitable SA citizen/resident can fill the position – unfortunately, these recommendations are rarely positive
  • Visa can be issued for up to 5 years
      • Applicable where the branch/head/affiliate office of the applicant’s employer is based in SA
      • Applicant must be employed by the group (offices based outside SA) for a period of at least 6 months
      • Skills transfer to local SA employees of utmost importance
      • Visa can be issued for up to 4 years and cannot be extended
      • Applicant must fall under the categories of skills categorized by the SA Government, publicized in the relevant Government Gazette
      • If a work offer is not available when the initial visa is applied for, a 12 months visa will be granted, permitting the applicant to obtain a work offer from a SA based company and then apply for the longer term visa locally in SA

    If a work offer is available, the visa can be issued for up to 4 years

Retired Persons Visa
  • Applicant must show a monthly income of R37 000 derived from pension income and/or interest earned on investments and/or rental income. If income is derived from interest on investments only, the validity of the visa will depend on the amount of funds that can be shown
  • Visas can be issued for up to 4 years
  • There is no age restriction in this visa category
Corporate Visa
  • Granted if the applicant will form part of a specific project to be run in SA for which permission has been given to the potential employer beforehand
Exchange Visa
  • This is quite a complicated visa category, we advise that applicants contact us in this regard

We assist with extension of all the above visas (where permitted by law), to be applied for and obtained locally in SA

Permits (Permanent Residence)

We assist with applications to be filed under all available categories, which include:


Visitor Visas

These visas can be divided into 2 sectors as below:

Visitor Visas exceeding a period of 3 months
  • Spousal/life partner visas with work endorsement
  • Academic sabbatical
  • Volunteer visa
  • Research visa
  • Spouse/child of a person holding valid SA long term visa
  • Teachers at international schools
  • Involvement in production/film activities
  • Journalist (under certain criteria)
  • Artists (under certain criteria)
  • Entertainment (under certain criteria)
  • Tour leader/host of tour (under certain criteria)
Visitor Visas not exceeding a period of 3 months
  • Visitor visa – holiday purposes
  • Business visa
  • Medical visa
  • Short term study
  • Short term work related visa

Documentation to be submitted on all temporary Visa & Permanent Residence Applications

  1. Copies of passport
  2. Medical Report (a report by a medical practitioner with regards to an applicant’s general state of health, detailing any medical condition he or she suffers from which report shall not be older than six months at the time of its submission)
  3. Radiological Report (a report by a radiologist certifying that the applicant has been examined and that no signs of active pulmonary tuberculosis could be detected, which report shall not be older than six months at the time of its submission)
  4. Unabridged Birth Certificate
  5. Marriage certificate (where applicable)
  6. In the case of spousal relationship concluded abroad, proof of official recognition thereof issued by the authorities concerned
  7. In the case of a spousal relationship between a foreigner and a SA citizen / permanent resident, or between two foreigners having concluded the relationship in the Republic, the Affidavit, as well as documentation proving cohabitation and the extent to which the related financial responsibilities are shared by the parties and setting out the particulars of children in the spousal relationship
  8. Notarial contract– if life partnership is applicable
  9. Divorce degree (where applicable)
  10. Proof of court order awarding custody or guardianship (where applicable)
  11. Death certificate, in respect of deceased spouse (where applicable)
  12. Written consent from parent(s) or guardian(s), or in the case of one parent having sole custody, proof thereof (where applicable)
  13. Proof of legal adoption (where applicable)
  14. Police Clearance Certificate (a certificate issued by the police or security authority in each country where the relevant applicant resided for 12 months or longer since having attained the age of 18 years, in respect of criminal records or the character of that applicant, which certificate shall not be older than six months at the time of its submission – including South African police clearance)
  15. Yellow fever certificate (where applicable)

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