Breaking Down the South African Business Visa Process

south african business visaIn 2014, the South African immigration act underwent a lot of change. Some of these changes affected the South African business visa category.

One of the main changes was that the Department of Home Affairs decided to include the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the application process.

This change initially proved to be very disruptive to business visa applicants. The inclusion of the DTI added some months to the business visa application.

That said, the process is now much smoother and have given the entrepreneur the added bonus of having the DTI’s input into whether the business will be in South Africa’s best interest and therefore, by default, whether the DTI feels the business will be a success.

To give you a better understanding of how the process now works, please see below for a breakdown of the South African business visa application.

The parts of the process

There are four parts to the South African business visa application process:

  1. Company formation.
  2. Writing the business plan.
  3. Submitting business documents to the Department of Trade and Industry.
  4. Submitting the visa application to the Department of Home Affairs.

The business plan and registrations done during the formation of the company will form part of the documents submitted to the DTI. The DTI will evaluate all the information to make their recommendation to the Department of Home Affairs based on whether the DTI deems the business to be in South Africa’s best interest, and that the applicant has the experience and ability to effectively run the business.

Let’s take a look at what’s involved in each of the four parts:

1. Company formation

Starting a new business in South Africa begins with a number of business registrations:

  • Income tax registration.
  • Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC).
  • Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
  • Compensation Fund for Occupation Injuries and Disease (COIDA).
  • Registering with a professional body, board or council, where applicable.

Another important step is setting up banking facilities. As a foreigner, you could find this to be a nightmare. Luckily Incompass, our Forex business, can help you set up the necessary accounts and transfer money from overseas. You don’t even have to step into a bank!

2. Writing the business plan

As an entrepreneur, you will realise the importance of a comprehensive business plan. In an application for a South African visa it becomes even more important.

Now the business plan not only forms part of your groundwork, but it’s role is vital in convincing the DTI and the Department of Home Affairs that the business idea is sound, feasible and will be in the best interests of South Africa.

You’ll make a good start by including these sections in the business plan:

  • • A description of the business in terms of the nature of the business, how it will be competitively placed in the market, growth potentrial etc
  • A description of the operations, including manpower, IT infrastructure and future expansion.
  • Your marketing and sales strategy.
  • The financials.

Please note that for clients of Intergate Immigration, we will employ the services of a dedicated business plan writer to assist in this vital aspect of the process.

3. Submitting documents to the Department of Trade and Industry

You’re now ready to make an application with the DTI. As mentioned, the DTI evaluate the business, as well as your entrepreneurial abilities.

Subsequent to their evaluation, the DTI will make a recommendation and submit it to the Department of Home Affairs.

You will be notified once the recommendation has been made. You will need to submit this notification as part of your application for your South African business visa.

4. Submitting the visa application to the Department of Home Affairs

The final part of the process is the official application for your South African business visa. This will entail more documentation and supporting documentation. . Outcomes can be expected between one month but can sometimes take up to 5 months, depending on the place of submission.

Need help with your South African business visa application?

As you can see, there are many steps and parts to a South African business visa application. Getting only one wrong may very well mean a rejection of your application.

Rather avoid this by letting us take care of the application for you. Our immigration consultants have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs to ‘et up shop’ in South Africa.

Speak to us on either +27 (0) 21 424 2460 or +27 (0) 11 234 4275. You could also email us and explain how we can help. Either way, we’d be happy to help you establish your business in South Africa.

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