Common Misconceptions about Visa Regulations for South Africa

visa regulations for south africaMaking sense of visa regulations for South Africa when you’re thinking of moving here is not an easy task. The legislation is divided into different categories, with individual qualifying criteria for each visa type. This is not to mention the numerous sections and subsections!

Even if you do manage to make sense of it all, there is always the chance that Home Affairs will make changes as soon as you do. In 2014, for instance, many changes were made to various visa types.

It thus comes as no surprise to us that there are a lot of misconceptions around visa regulations for South Africa.

At Intergate, we see the same misconceptions pop up time and again. We thought we’d address them today to help clear up some of the confusion.

I can apply for a visa from within South Africa while in the country on a tourist visa.

Truth: You are not allowed to change to any other visa category from within South Africa while in the country on a tourist visa. You must submit applications for another visa category from your home country to comply with visa regulations for South Africa.

I do not need a visa if I’m not getting a salary from within South Africa while in the country for work purposes.

Truth: If you are a foreigner with permanent residence outside South Africa, you will need a visa to enter South Africa for any purpose. This includes volunteer work and short-term work when paid by an overseas employer. The reason for your entry into South Africa will ultimately determine what type of visa you should apply for.

I can start working for an employer as soon as my visa application has been submitted.

Truth: To take up employment with an employer, your visa application must be approved and you must have received your visa. Until such time, you cannot work for an employer legally.

I don’t need to renew my temporary residency while waiting for a decision on my permanent residency application.

Truth: Visa regulations for South Africa stipulates that you must have a valid visa at all times. This means that you have to renew your temporary residency visa should it reach its expiration date while you’re waiting for an outcome on your permanent residency application. It’s only once the permanent residency has been approved and you have received your permanent residency certificate, that your temporary residency visa is no longer necessary.

As a permanent resident, it is fine to only travel with my identity document (ID).

Truth: As a permanent resident of South Africa, you must travel with your original permanent residence certificate. If you lose your certificate, you must do a Proof of Permanent Residence Application with the Department of Home Affairs.

Need further clarification on visa regulations for South Africa?

Then don’t hesitate to speak to one of our immigration consultants. Our Cape Town team is available on +27 (0) 21 424 2460 and our Johannesburg team can be reached at +27 (0) 11 234 4275. Alternatively, request a call back and a consultant will contact you within 24 hours.