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How to Apply for a Temporary Residence Visa in South Africa?

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A South Africa temporary residence visa is issued for foreign nationals who wish to stay legally in South Africa. These applicants can stay for longer than 90 days. These nationals can be international students, foreign workers, and tourists. However, If you want to stay in South Africa for 90 days or less, you had better apply for a visitors’ visa.

South African government issues temporary visas to

  • Promote economic growth. It is possible when foreign investors and skilled and qualified foreigners are attracted.
  • Promote tourism to South Africa.

 

In the piecework, we will discuss South Africa temporary residence visas, how to apply for them, their requirements, etc.

Where Can I apply for a temporary residence visa?

Foreigners can apply for a temporary residence visa at the South African diplomatic embassy or representative in their country of origin. They can also apply in a neighboring country. Temporary residence application visas are processed at the foreign offices of the Department of Home Affairs.

 

Purposes to Issue a South African Temporary Residence Visa

A South African temporary residence visa is granted for several reasons, here you can see a list of different reasons to apply for a temporary residence visa:

  • Transiting the South African Republic to change course to a neighboring country.
  • Visitor’s visas for more than 90 days but less than three years
  • Study activities
  • Treaty and contract reasons
  • Business-related activities
  • Medical treatments
  • To work in South Africa
  • For retirees
  • cultural / economic / social exchange programs

 

South Africa Temporary Residence Visa Types

There are several types of South Africa temporary residence visas for foreign nationals depending on their travel purpose, such as:

  • Business Visa
  • Work Visa
  • General work Visa
  • Critical skills work Visa
  • Intra-company Transfer Work Visa
  • Corporate Visas
  • Study Visas
  • Exchange Visas
  • Retired Persons’ Visa
  • Relative’s Visa
  • Medical Treatment Visa

 

What are South African Temporary Residence Visa requirements?

Each temporary visa has a list of different required documents. First, let’s take a look at some general documents for all types:

  • The applicant’s passport (It must have validity for at least 30 days)
  • Proof of a paid processing fee
  • Passport size photo (one colored photo)
  • Evidence of a yellow-fever vaccination (if applicants are about to travel through the yellow fever belt)
  • Police clearance certificates (from countries that the applicant has stayed in for 12 months or more)
  • Medical and radiology reports (radiology reports are not needed for children under 12 and pregnant women)
  • A birth certificate
  • If the applicant has a child in South Africa, they need proof of custody or adoption.
  • If the applicant has a partner or spouse, they need a marriage certificate or proof of a relationship.
  • If the applicant is getting a divorce, they need proof of legal separation.
  • If the applicant’s spouse has died, they need a death certificate.

 

Every category of temporary residence visa needs separate supporting documents. You can find these documents on the DHA-1738 application form.

Here you can see the supporting documents for each temporary visa type:

 

Business Visa

A business visa is suitable for foreigners who want to invest in a new business or in an existing business in South Africa.

First, applicants need to fill out the form BI-1738. Then they need to submit a certificate issued by a chartered accountant ( the accountant must be registered in the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants). Applicants must also have:

  • at least a sufficient amount in cash to invest in the country or an amount in cash and a capital contribution. The right amount of money is determined by the Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa.
  • an applicant’s formal pledge promises that at least 60% of their total staff will be South African Citizens or permanent residents.
  • a pledge from the applicant to register with:
    • The Revenue Service
    • Unemployment Insurance Fund
    • Compensation Fund (for injuries that might happen during work)
    • Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission
    • An organization, board, or council recognized by SAQA (The South African Qualifications Authority)
  • the Department of Trade and Industry recommendation letter relating to the
    • Business feasibility.
    • Sharing the national interest of the country.

 

These requirements might be reduced in some industries or businesses like:

  • Technologies related to information and communication
  • Clothing manufacturing
  • Chemicals and biotechnology businesses
  • Agricultural processing
  • Refineries for metals and minerals
  • Automotive and vehicle manufacturing
  • Tourism
  • Crafts such as art and handcrafts

 

If the applicant plans to invest in an already existing business, they also need financial statements relating to the prior financial year.

 

Work Visa

The South African government grants work visas to foreigners when skilled South Africans are not available for the jobs. These visas are valid for a duration depending on the type of work visa.

 

General work Visa

General work visas are issued to legitimize the period of the work contract. The maximum time for this visa is five years.

The documentation for a general work visa are:

  • A completed and signed application form
  • Proof of financial assets to cover living expenses in the form of bank statements, cash, or travelers’ cheques
  • Employer’s written pledge taking responsibility for the costs of the deportation of the applicant, if necessary.
  • A certificate from the Department of Labour
  • Proof of an evaluation of applicants’ qualifications by SAQA (must be translated by a sworn translator into the official languages of South Africa)
  • A contract of employment (both the employer and the applicant must sign it).
  • Information about the employer, including proof of registration of the company
  • The employer’s pledge to inform the Director-General when the employee changes its job, position, or leaves the company.
  • Documents relating to the spouse and/or children of the applicant if they come with the applicant.

 

Critical skills work Visa

Critical skills work Visas are for applicants with highly required skills. This visa is valid for up to five years. The required documents are:

  • A completed and signed application form
  • Proof of financial assets to cover living expenses in the form of bank statements, cash, or travelers’ cheques
  • A pledge from the employer or a cash deposit matching the value of a return ticket
  • A certificate of registration (or proof of it) with the council or board recognized by the SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority)
  • Proof of an evaluation of applicants’ qualifications by SAQA (must be translated by a sworn translator into the official languages of South Africa)
  • Proof of an employment contract showing that the applicant got hired in 12 months after they obtained a Critical skills work visa.

 

Intra-company Transfer Work Visa

Intra-company transfer work visas are for employees of multi-national companies who are being transferred from a foreign branch of the company to a branch in South Africa.  There is no requirement to show that a company has made efforts to hire a South African citizen or someone with permanent residence.

An Intra-company transfer work visa is valid for up to 4 years. There is no chance of renewing or extending this visa. The required documents are:

  • A completed and signed application form
  • Proof of financial assets to cover living expenses in the form of bank statements, cash, or travelers’ cheques
  • A cash deposit matching the value to a return ticket
  • A contract of employment with the company abroad
  • A confirmation letter from the company abroad showing that the applicant will be transferred to a branch of the company in South Africa
  • A confirmation letter from the South African company showing details about the applicant’s transfer, such as their job position, the duration of employment (not more than four years)
  • The employer’s pledge:
    • that the applicant will leave South Africa after the 4-year period.
    • that confirms that the applicant’s passport is valid.
    • that the applicant will not change its job position against the visa.
  • Documents relating to the spouse and/or children of the applicant if they come with the applicant.

 

Corporate Visas

A corporate visa is given to a corporation, such as a mining group, farmer, and so on, to employ a predetermined number of workers for a period of three years. When the number of workers is approved, the DHA issues corporate visas for each worker. After that, the employer can start hiring.

This Application must be submitted at South African embassies or consulates abroad. The required documents are:

  • A completed and signed application form
  • A statement specifying the need for foreign workers and the number of foreigners that are going to be employed
  • A certificate from the Department of Labour
  • Evidence showing the corporation registered with the:
    • The Revenue Service
    • Unemployment Insurance Fund
    • Compensation Fund (for injuries that might happen during work)
    • Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission
  • The corporate visa applicant must pledge that at least 60% of their total staff will be South African Citizens or permanent residents.
  • Job descriptions provided for each foreign worker
  • A pledge to guarantee that:
    • the validity of passports for foreign workers
    • the foreign workers will not change job positions against their visas
    • the foreign workers will leave South Africa when their work is finished
    • A cash deposit or guarantee for the foreign workers

 

Study Visas

International foreign students who want to continue their studies in South Africa can apply for a study visa by filling out the BI-1738 form. Students must apply for study visas at VFS Centre across or South African embassies near their educational facility or consulates abroad. For a facility that is not a school, study visas are issued for the duration of courses students registered for. Study visas for a primary school are up to eight years long and six years long for a secondary school.

The BI-1738 form must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Proof of financial assets to cover living expenses and the tuition fees in the form of bank statements, cash, or travelers’ cheques
  • Evidence of medical cover
  • A cash deposit matching the value of a return ticket.
  • For African students, A pledge from the relevant government to take full responsibility for the student and to pay all costs.
  • A birth certificate for minors
  • If the applicant is a minor
    • They need a confirmation letter from their guardians stating their responsibilities regarding guardianship.
    • Proof of custody from the parents and their consent for the minor’s stay in South Africa
  • A letter from the educational institution stating their acceptance and the duration of the course.
  • Proof of annually renewed medical cover (for the period of the student’s courses)
  • If students are 18 years old or higher, Police clearance certificates (from countries that the student has stayed in for 12 months or more).

 

The students who have study visas can work part-time for 20 hours per week.

 

Exchange Visas

Exchange Visas are for foreigners who are 25 years old or less. These foreigners wish to take part in cultural, economic, or social exchange programs. Foreigners must submit their applications at regional offices of the Department of Home Affairs, South African embassies, or consulates abroad.

The length of these programs determines the validity period of an exchange visa. However, these programs usually do not take more than 12 months and applicants cannot renew or extend exchange visas.

Unless you have lived outside the Republic of South Africa for at least 12 months before applying for an exchange permit, you will not qualify for a temporary residence permit.

Suppose a South African organ plans to administer a program in association with a foreign state in Africa (Section 22(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002)). In that case, the applicants for the program must have the following documents:

  • A  completed and signed application form (BI-1738)
  • Proof of financial assets to cover living expenses in the form of bank statements, cash, or travelers’ cheques
  • A pledge by the applicant’s host in South Africa
  • A cash deposit matching the value of a return ticket
  • Police clearance certificates (from countries that the applicant has stayed in for 12 months or more).
  • A letter from the Department of Education showing their responsibility for administering the program. This letter must include activities and duration of the program and take responsibility for the students as long as they are in the country.
  • Document from a foreign state confirming the student’s details, including confirmation of the student’s enrollment with a tertiary educational institution abroad, as well as the date of the student’s first day of study
  • Regulation 19(3) requires a report from an institution of higher learning or an organ of state in South Africa

 

If a foreign state organ plans to administer a program (Section 22(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002)), the applicants for the program must have the following documents:

  • A  completed and signed application form (BI-1738)
  • Proof of financial assets to cover living expenses in the form of bank statements, cash, or travelers’ cheques
  • A pledge by the applicant’s host in South Africa
  • Evidence of medical cover
  • A cash deposit matching the value of a return ticket or a pledge provided by the relevant institution to cover costs for the applicant’s deportation
  • A letter from the organ of the foreign state proving the existence of the exchange program.
  • The applicants’ enrolment confirmation letter or a confirmation letter from the foreign state agency confirming the students’ participation in the exchange program.
  • A report from the sponsoring body describing the progress of the program each year. When there is no sponsoring body, the reports must be submitted by the institution or organ of the state.
  • Police clearance certificates (from countries that the applicant has stayed in for 12 months or more).

 

If an applicant wants to submit a request for an exchange visa based on Section 22(b) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002), they must submit the following documents to a South African embassy:

  • A  completed and signed application form (BI-1738)
  • Proof of financial assets to cover living expenses in the form of bank statements, cash, or travelers’ cheques
  • A pledge by the applicant’s host in South Africa
  • Evidence of medical cover
  • A cash deposit matching the value of a return ticket or a pledge provided by the relevant institution to cover costs for the applicant’s deportation
  • Police clearance certificates (from countries that the applicant has stayed in for 12 months or more).
  • A statement from the employer to vouch for the following:
    • The position for which the exchange visa is meant to be issued for.
    • The applicant is reimbursed in accordance with labor laws.
    • The employer will provide for the applicants’ well-being while they are employed.
    • The employer will notify the Department if the applicant does not conform with the terms and conditions of their visa and wants to leave South Africa.
    • The applicant will leave the country when their visa hits its expiration date.

 

Retired Persons’ Visa

A retired persons’ visa is appropriate for people who plan to retire in The Republic of South Africa. Applicants for retired persons’ visas must conform with the financial requirements and regulations of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002). Applicants must submit their request at the Department of Home Affairs, South African embassies, or consulate abroad.

The required documents for a retired persons’ visa are:

  • A completed BI-1738 form
  • A passport (must have at least one blank page for visa to be attached)
  • Passport photos (must be two recent colored photos)
  • A copy of a valid residential permit
  • Evidence of medical cover
  • The minimum pension for a foreigner per month. This amount is determined by the Minister (at the moment, it is 37 000,00 Rand or 2506,94 US Dollars)
  • A minimum net worth (at the moment, it is 37 000,00 Rand or 2506,94 US Dollars)
  • Police clearance certificates (from countries that the applicant has stayed in for 12 months or more).
  • An appropriate visa may be issued to the spouse and dependent children accompanying a retiree.

 

Relative’s Visa

The Director-General might issue A relative’s visa for a foreigner who is a family member of a South  African citizen or a permanent resident. In this case, the responsibility of providing financial assurance is on the citizen or permanent residence. According to section 18(1) of the Act, the financial assurance shall be a monthly amount, as determined by the Minister by notice in the Gazette, and shall be shown by a current salary letter or a certified bank statement, which shall not be older than three months at the time of application. South African citizens or permanent residents with dependent children will not be required to provide financial assurance. At the moment, The current amount is 8 500.00 Rand or 575,92 US Dollars. The relative’s visas are valid for up to two years at a time.

Applicants for a relative’s visa must provide:

  • A  completed and signed application form (BI-1738)
  • A passport (must have at least one blank page)
  • Proof of a paid processing fee (not related to spouses or dependent children of South African citizens/permanent residents)
  • A cash deposit matching the value of a return ticket (not related to spouses or dependent children of South African citizens/permanent residents)
  • Proof to confirm the reason and duration of the applicant’s visit.
  • Evidence showing that the applicant is an immediate family member of a South African citizen/permanent resident:
    • Children’s birth certificate
    • A marriage certificate in the case of a spouse
    • Proof of family relations for other cases
  • Police clearance certificates (from countries that the applicant has stayed in for 12 months or more).
  • Medical and radiology reports for the applicant and all family members who travel with them (pregnant women and children under 12 years old do not need these reports)
  • An identity document or passport that shows the relative’s citizenship or permanent residence in South Africa
  • Applicants must prove they will be able to afford living expenses for a minimum of 8500  Rand or 575,87 US Dollars per month per person (this requirement does not apply to a spouse or minor child of a South African citizen or resident).
  • The holder of a relatives’ visa cannot work.

 

Medical Treatment Visa

Medical Treatment visas are mostly issued for a period of up to six months.

The following documents are required for a medical treatment visa application:

  • A  completed and signed application form (BI-1738)
  • A passport (must have at least one blank page)
  • Proof of financial assets to cover living expenses of the applicant and their company and the tuition fees in the form of bank statements, cash, or travelers’ cheques
  • A letter explaining  the necessity of treatment, the period of treatment, and detail of the treatment plans from medical experts or a medical institution
  • Information of the person responsible for paying the applicant’s medical expenses and hospital fees
  •  Evidence of financial assets or medical cover must be presented if the medical scheme or employer is not responsible for the caused expenses.
  • Evidence of adequate financial assets or provision for the costs indirectly related to the treatment.
  • Detailed information of people accompanying the applicant
  • A copy of a round-trip air ticket.
  • It is possible that the Department might ask for  a cash deposit matching the value of an air ticket to the origin country of the applicant.

 

How to Apply for a South Africa Temporary Residence Visa?

The application process for a South African temporary visa contains several steps. Here are those mentioned steps:

  • Apply for a visa online on the VFS website (this website is an associate of the Department of Home Affairs of South Africa), fill out the online form, pay the required fees, and set an appointment at the embassy.
  • Visit the South African embassy. Applicants need to take their printed online application form, a valid passport, and other required documents with them. (At the end of the appointment, applicants will receive an acknowledgment receipt. This receipt must be kept safe)
  • Wait for the embassy to contact you.
  • Revisit the embassy to enroll your fingerprints and photograph at the embassy.
  • Give your receipt and collect your documents in person at the embassy. (applicants must have their original passport to collect the final verdict.)

 

Important note: Applicants cannot present additional documents when their application is submitted at the embassy.

 

How much is a South African visa fee?

Each temporary residence visa has a different fee. Here you can see a list of South African temporary visa fees:

  • Study Visa: 36.00 US Dollars or 529,08 Rand
  • Treaty Visa: 36.00 US Dollars or 529,08 Rand
  • Medical Visa: 36.00 US Dollars or 529,08 Rand
  • Retired Person’s Visa: 36.00 US Dollars or 529,08 Rand
  • Business Visa (More than 90 days): 127.00 US Dollars or 1866,48 Rand
  • General Work Visa: 127.00 US Dollars or 1866,48 Rand
  • Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa: 127.00 US Dollars or 1866,48 Rand
  • Critical Skills Work Visa: 127.00 US Dollars or 1866,48 Rand
  • Corporate Visa No fee
  • Exchange Visa: 36.00 US Dollars or 529,08 Rand

 

Let’s sum up …

South Africa has a lot of potential. It offers various visas, and you can travel there for different reasons such as South African temporary visas and go about your business. In this essay, we informed you about different types of temporary visas in detail and explained how to apply for them. If you have any experience with temporary visas, please share them in the comment section.

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