If you are planning to move to South Africa, there are several South African visas you can apply for to get legal residence in South Africa. Many foreigners planning a move to South Africa will generally need to arrange a South African visa or permit before making travel plans to South Africa, although some exceptions exist. South Africa offers a full set of visas and immigration permits, and you will need to provide different documentation depending on the type of visa or permit you are applying for. Outlined below are some of the major categories of South African visas and permits.
Applicants are required to submit an application for a temporary residence visa in person at the South African diplomatic representative, such as an embassy or consulate, in their country of origin or in a neighbouring country if there is none. An in-person application is required to collect biometric data, such as fingerprints.
Applicants must apply for the correct temporary residence visa according to their intended activities in South Africa since holders of visitor’s visas are no longer allowed to change their status from inside South Africa. For example, someone who applied for a visa to visit a relative in South Africa cannot apply for a relative’s visa once there to remain in the country. Such person would need to return to their country of origin to apply for a new visa.
There are various types of South African visas that may be issued, depending on the situation of the applicant. These types have been listed below:
- General Work Visa – This is the most common work visa
- Critical Skills Work Visa – There are some skills and qualifications which are regarded as exceptional by the South African government. This list of critical skills lists almost 35,000 positions across 53 different categories.
- Intra-Company Transfer Visa – If an employee in multinational companies is transferred between countries, they can apply for the Intra-Company Transfer visa
- Relative visa – The immediate family member of a South African citizen or permanent resident – for example, a father, mother, brother, sister, grandfather or grandmother – can qualify for a relative’s visa.
- Business visa – South Africa encourages business investment, whether establishing a new business or investing in an existing one.
- Corporate Visa – A corporate visa is not issued to the worker, but to the employing company. It provides a simplified process for a company based in South Africa to employ foreigners and obtain work visas.
- Retired persons visa – The Retired Person’s Visa can be issued to anyone who intends to retire in South Africa, regardless of age or whether it will be on a continuous or seasonal basis.
- Other visas – These include medical treatment visas, volunteer/exchange visas, and a visa called the financial independence visa (for those with enough funds) to prove that they are self-sufficient.
Permanent residence permits are available to foreigners who have legally resided in South Africa on a work permit for a minimum of five years and extends to spouses and dependents of South African citizens/permanent residence permit holders.
If you’re looking to obtain a visa in South Africa, make sure you get in touch with one of our Immigration Consultants today!
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