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Starting a business as a foreigner in South Africa

On June 14, 2018 / by Sherone Lewis / 1 Comment

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Are you a foreigner looking to start a business in South Africa? Many people make the mistake of looking for ways to try to register their business first before even thinking about their visa. Remember – the visa always come first! This is the only way to be involved in a business in South Africa as a foreigner. Here’s everything you need to know about starting a business as a foreigner in South Africa.

Firstly, we’ll have a look at all the most important things you need to have in place to apply for a South African business visa:

  • The required capital investment – You must be able to invest a minimum of R5 million into any business you wish to start in South Africa. However, you may be able to qualify for a waiver on this R5 million capital investment amount should the business be considered in South Africa’s national interest by Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Trade and Industry
  • A business plan
  • A suitable company structure
  • A desirable business

A business plan is non-negotiable when applying for a South African business visa. An important aspect of your business plan is that it must show the need for the employment of South African citizens or permanent residents in permanent positions within the human resource plan and your financial projections. This is because the business visa requirements stipulates that a foreigner starting a business in South Africa must employ 60% South Africans

To increase your chances of a positive outcome on your application, your business plan must include at least the following:

  • An executive summary – this is an overview of the business you want to start
  • Short description of the business opportunity
  • Operations, Marketing and sales strategy
  • Financials – this is one of the most important aspects of the business plan

The company you wish to start must be set up in an company recognised business structure appropriate to South Africa. Examples of such business structures are sole proprietorship; partnership; and public company

When you have everything in place, and with confirmation that you do qualify for a South African business visa, you can lodge your application. Please note that there are other requirements than just the ones listed this blog post. Please get in touch with us if you’re looking to discuss them in detail

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