According to South African immigration legislation, the spouse of a South African citizen or Permanent Residence holder qualifies for temporary or permanent residence in the country, on the basis of the marital relationship. The main document in the application is therefore of course the unabridged marriage certificate proving that the marriage exists.
In order for the spouse to qualify for Permanent Residence, a couple needs to prove that the marriage is valid (by submitting the marriage certificate), and that the relationship has existed for more than five years. It is important to note, however, that in cases where the marriage has existed for less than five years, the immigrating spouse may apply only for Temporary Residence. The fact that the spouse has or has not resided in South Africa for any specific period of time before the application is not relevant.
There are various advantages to qualifying for residence on the basis of marriage. Spouses who wish to establish a business or to work in South Africa do not need to apply for a business visa or work visa. The usual procedure is to make an endorsement to the Spousal Visa, thereby allowing the spouse to conduct business or to work in the country.
According to the Constitution of South Africa, it is illegal to discriminate against homosexual or heterosexual couples, and homosexual relationships are therefore treated in the same way as heterosexual relationships for the purposes of the Spousal Visa. If you are in a permanent relationship but not married (such as a life partnership), then the Life Partner Visa is for you.