The prevailing immigration legislation in South Africa is the Immigration Act No. 13 of 2002 (as amended) which is administered and enforced by the Department of Home Affairs (“DHA”), a South African Government Body.
Certain related functions are performed at the South African Diplomatic Missions around the world, some of which have outsourced Visa Application Centre service providers, and also through Visa Application Centres in each province across South Africa. In 2014, there were significant amendments to the Immigration Act, as the DHA endeavoured to improve immigration control and introduce a number of more stringent requirements to curb abuse of the system and to address a number of security concerns.
To reside in South Africa temporarily, a Temporary Residence Visa (“visa”) is required. The category of visa required depends on the activity a foreign national intends to conduct in South Africa. Explore some of the available visa categories below and remember, we offer full services in relation to each visa category.
Our primary objective in this section is to provide a broad spectrum of accurate general advice in relation to the majority of the visa categories and sub-categories to empower you to make informed decisions and enquiries. It is not possible to cover every reason that a foreign national might wish to come to South Africa; therefore, if you cannot find the information you require, please contact us. To make is easier to understand, we have simplified certain legal terminology and references. For in-depth advice, qualifying requirements and an assessment in relation to specific circumstances, please contact us. You’re welcome!
Broad list of activities and corresponding Temporary Residence Visa categories
- Business visitors and other general visits.
- Short-term work (Section 11(2)).
- Work/study/self-employment: Spouse of S.A. citizen or permanent resident (Section 11(6)) (includes same-sex partners).
- Dependent family members of visa holders.
- Academic sabbaticals, voluntary or charitable work and research.
- Other specific activities:
- Designated crew in relation to the production of films and advertisements in South Arica.
- Foreign journalists representing foreign new agencies.
- Visiting professors, lecturers and academic researchers.
- Artists wishing to write, paint or sculpt.
- Tour leader or host.
- Persons involved in the entertainment industry travelling through South Africa to perform.
- Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa.
- Critical Skills Work Visa.
- General Work Visa.
Employment of typically a large number of foreign nationals by a company, business or organisation in South Africa.
- Participation in a cultural, economic or social exchange organised or administered by a Government Body, learning institution or both.
- Work and residence for a foreign national under 25 years of age for up to one year.
Establish or invest in a business and partake in the day-to-day running of the business from within South Africa.
Study at appropriately registered schools, universities and higher educational institutions/colleges.
- Residence only for the spouse of a South African citizen or permanent resident.
- Residence for a child, parent, brother or sister of a South African citizen or permanent resident.
Medical Treatment Visas
Medical treatment in South Africa.
Retired Person Visas
Retirement in South Africa, either seasonally or continuously.