How to retire to South Africa

Today we’re going to tell you how to retire to South Africa. It’s not just for people over the age of 65.

You can ‘retire’ to SA at any age, which makes South Africa a popular destination with Europeans who seek the African sun during their cold winter months.

Your options to retire to South Africa

You have two options should you wish to retire to South Africa:

  • Retired visa: You can apply for either temporary residency or permanent residency.
  • Financially independent permit: This permit grants immediate permanent residency.

Which option is the best for you?

You can use the below to help you decide which visa or permit would be best for your needs:

1. Do you simply want to spend summers in South Africa?

If this is your goal, a temporary residency retired visa could serve you well. It’s a much better alternative than having to apply for visitor visas time and again.

2. Do you want to visit often but don’t want to continuously have to renew a visa?

Visa renewals are time consuming tasks. That’s why we recommend applying for permanent residency if you don’t want to have to renew a visa every couple of years. You can use either the retired visa or a financially independent permit to gain PR.

Your status as a South African permanent resident will entitle you to most of the same rights and privileges as South African citizens. You’ll however not be able to obtain a South African passport and you also won’t be able to vote in government elections.

It’s important to note that your status will lapse if you’re out of SA for three consecutive years at a time.

3. Do you want to have the option of operating a business, working or studying while in South Africa?

You’re only allowed to reside in South Africa as a temporary resident on a retired visa – you’re not allowed to work, study or start a business.

In order to conduct any of these activities, you’ll have to consider applying for permanent residency. This means an application for either permanent residency on a retired visa or a financially independent permit.

Once you have permanent residency, you are free to study, take up a job or start a business, just like every other South African.

Your alternative is exploring other South African visa options which would allow you to work, study or start a business.

Qualifying for retirement to South Africa

As you might have expected, you’ll have to be able to meet certain requirements to be eligible to apply for either a retired visa or a financially independent permit. The main criteria for both are financial in nature.

You can speak to one of our consultants about the complete set of criteria for each visa, but herewith the main requirements:

  • Temporary residency on a retired visa: You’ll need to be able to demonstrate pension, annuity, rental or other investment income amounting to R37,000 per month OR a cash lump sum to the value of R37,000 for 48 months (the duration of the retired visa). Please note that cash lump sum is only acceptable to some Embassies. It is best to speak with your consultant in this regard.
  • Permanent residency on a retired visa: You must be able to prove a life-long guaranteed pension or annuity income of R37,000 per month.
  • Financially independent permit: You are required to have a net worth of at least R12 million and you must pay a once-off fee of R120,000 to the Department of Home Affairs if your application is approved.

Want to know if you qualify for retirement to South Africa?

If you’d like to have your eligibility assessed for any of the visas or permits discussed, take our online immigration assessment.

As soon as we have your details, one of our consultants will contact you to discuss your eligibility, advise on the best way forward and explain how we can help with your application.

Our immigration assessment is not only non-obligatory but also free of charge.

More questions first?

If you want to start by getting more information about retiring to South Africa, you are more than welcome to call us on +27 (0) 21 424 2460 or to send us an email at