All immigration permits to South Africa
Are you planning to stay in SA on a temporary basis while you explore the country or investigate an employment opportunity? Have you been transferred to South Africa by your employer? Or maybe you want to study in South Africa, or join your spouse or partner? This article provides information for people in such situations, and gives advice on work permits, who qualifies, and how to apply, as well as answers to some common questions.
Under present South African legislation, there are no fewer than 13 types of temporary residence permit. Under work permits, there are four types. Because the legislation is so specific, the decision to grant a permit to someone is never left to an individual official, and it is also possible for an applicant to appeal against an unfavourable outcome.
If you are planning to invest in South Africa, or start a business in the country, you need to apply for the business permit. In order to do so, you need to invest a prescribed minimum amount of capital in your South African business.
The South African Department of Home Affairs has not placed any restriction on admitting foreigners to South Africa institutions as students, but the Department still has the responsibility of controlling the admission and residence of all foreign students in the country. However, if you intend to study in South Africa, you should keep the following in mind. The most important considerations when handling an application for a study permit are that a) a foreigner may not displace a South African citizen/resident at a local educational institution and b) the applicant needs to provide proof of sufficient funds to both support themselves in South Africa and also to pay all tuition fees and for medical cover with a South African medical aid scheme.
There are different types of work permits to South Africa for different situations. Usually, they are only issued to foreigners in a case where no South Africa citizen with the required skills can be appointed. However, if you possess a rare qualification or a skill that is in short supply in South Africa, you should easily qualify for a work permit. Also, if you have been transferred to South Africa by your employer, you are then regarded as “key personnel” and you may qualify for the intra-company transfer permit, and in such a case you do not need to prove that steps were taken to source a South African citizen for the position.
The so-called corporate permit allows a company to hire many foreigners at a time, and serves to fast-track the process of securing their work permits.
An exchange permit may be granted to someone who intends to participate in a social, cultural or economic exchange programme, if the programme is run by an organ of state or a public higher educational institution, in collaboration with an organ of a foreign state.For the purposes of the exchange permit, the applicant must be under 25 years of age.
A retired person permit is issued to someone who wants to retire in South Africa. The applicant needs to meet the financial criteria set out in the relevant legislation.
If you are the immediate family of a South African citizen, you may qualify for the relative’s permit. In order to do so, you will need to comply with the financial criteria set out in the relevant legislation.
Where to apply for a temporary residence permit
By using an immigration consultancy, you will eliminate the need to phone and/or drive around, as this will be taken care of for you by the consultancy.
However, if you want to go through the process on your own, you should keep the following in mind. In terms of present legislation, you can only change your permit status once you are in South Africa. Therefore, you can only change from a temporary to a permanent residence permit once you are actually in South Africa. This means that, before arriving in South Africa, you need to apply for the relevant temporary residence permit in your country of origin, at the South African diplomatic representative based there. Or, if there is no South African representative in your country of origin, you should apply in a neighbouring country, where there is one. You can only enter South Africa once the permit has actually been granted by the Department of Home Affairs. Because the application will be handled at the representative’s offices, the processing period will be relatively short.
Extension of temporary residence permit
Once you have your permit and you are in South Africa, it is your responsibility to ensure that your permit is valid. Also, you can only enter South Africa if your passport is valid for not less than 30 days after the end of your stay in the country. A further requirement is that you need to apply for a new permit at least 30 calendar days before the existing one expires. Keep in mind that merely applying does not grant you any status in the country. You only have leave to remain once your application has been successful.
As can be seen here, there are many considerations, and having a look at the different permit types will lead you in your search to find the right one for you. Even then, however, it can be difficult to find a permit that will allow you to achieve what you want to do in a few years time. Therefore, as mentioned a number of times, the best option and what Immigration South Africa recommends is to use an immigration consultant. Complete our eligibility assessment for more information on what to do next.