How to start the process to immigrate to South Africa

Thousands of people from all over the world want to move to South Africa. Often, many of these people put their plans on hold because they don’t know how to start the process to immigrate to South Africa.

That’s understandable. There’s so much information out there! That’s where we come in, though. Our consultants break down the process for you and take you through it step by step.

For starters, here’s a simplified explanation of how to start the process of immigration to South Africa:

How do I start the immigration process to South Africa?

The first step in the process is determining if you meet South Africa’s visa rules and regulations. That is a crucial step if you want to apply for temporary or permanent residency. The best way to do this is to take a formal assessment for immigration to South Africa.

Where can I find a South African immigration assessment?

Should you wish to take an assessment for immigration to South Africa, you have come to the right place. At Intergate Immigration, we offer a free assessment, which will help you determine if you qualify for immigration to South Africa or not. 

 All that is required is for you to click here to proceed.

 After you have completed your assessment, one of our immigration consultants will contact you to discuss your visa options and answer your questions.

Why is this the first step in the process?

One of the main reasons why you will need to take an assessment is to see if you meet the requirements. Too many people spend large sums of money, time, and energy only to find out later that they do not qualify.

There is no use proceeding with the immigration process if you do not qualify. Starting at the very beginning is going to prove the most useful.

What happens if I do not qualify to immigrate to South Africa?

The good news is that there are many different visa options to explore. South Africa has the following visa categories:

  • Work visas: South African work visas enable foreign nationals to work in South Africa on a short-term, long-term, or permanent basis. The available work visas are the critical skills work visa, intra-company transfer work visa, general work visa, corporate workers visa, exchange visa, and short-term visitor’s visa section 11(2).
  • Spousal and life partner visas: Eligible spouses and life partners can join their South African spouses in SA. These visa holders can apply for endorsements for work and study or to run a business in South Africa.
  • Relatives visas: First-kin and second-kind relatives of South Africans can apply for relatives visas. First-kin relatives can apply for temporary and permanent residency, but second-kin relatives can only apply for temporary residency.
  • Business visa: The business visa allows eligible foreign nationals to conduct entrepreneurial activities in South Africa. These include:
    • owning all or part of a business orestablishing a business and/or
    • being involved in the operations of a business.
  • Retired visa: Eligible retirees can apply for a retired visa. There are no age requirements, but retired visa holders are only allowed to reside in South Africa –they may not be employed in South Africa.
  • Study visa: The study visa enables children of school-going age and tertiary students to study at schools and universities in South Africa. 
  • Financially independent permit: Foreign nationals who are able to demonstrate a net wealth of at least R12 million can apply for residency through the financially independent permit. Successful applicants will receive permanent residence and their dependents can apply for PR with them.

Our consultants will discuss all the visa and immigration pathways open to you during the assessment process.

More helpful information about how to start the process to immigrate to South Africa

When people ask us about how to begin their immigration to South Africa, they also typically ask three other questions at the same time. Let’s also answer them here:

1. What are the requirements to immigrate to South Africa?

South Africa’s visas each have its own set of requirements that applicants must meet. Here are those criteria:

  • Critical skills work visa: You must have a valid job offer from a South African employer, and your occupation must appear on the critical skills list. Furthermore, you must hold a relevant tertiary qualification and register with the relevant South African professional body. 
  • General work visa: You must have a valid job offer from a South African employer, and the employer must prove that they could not find a suitable South African for the position. Please be aware that this work visa is notoriously hard to get!
  • Intra-company transfer work visa: The companies involved in an intra-company transfer must show that a branch, subsidiary, or common shareholding relationship exists between the company abroad and the company in South Africa. You must demonstrate your intention to transfer your skills and knowledge to the local South African employees. 
  • Corporate workers visa: You must have a corporate workers certificate from an employer holding a corporate visa.
  • Exchange visa: You must be under the age of 25 to apply. You may work in South Africa for a maximum of a year.
  • Spousal visa: You must be married to a South African citizen or permanent resident. 
  • Life partner visa: You must be in a committed, long-term, monogamous relationship with a South African citizen or permanent resident. Furthermore, you must prove that you’ve lived together and shared finances for two years or more.
  • Relatives visas: Your parent, sibling or child must be a South African citizen or permanent resident.  
  • Business visa: You must have at least R5 million to invest in the book value of your business. You must also provide a comprehensive business plan, demonstrating that the company is viable and in South Africa’s best interest. Additionally, South African citizens or permanent residents must make up 60% or more of the total staff complement. 
  • Retired visa: You must demonstrate a lifelong, irrevocable retirement income and/or income from assets realising R 37,000 per month.
  • Study visa: School-going children must have a letter of acceptance at a school, and tertiary students must have a letter of acceptance with a formally registered education institution and proof of South African medical insurance. 
  • Financially independent permit: You must be able to show a net worth of at least R12 million. You can demonstrate your net worth by a wide variety of assets, including (but not limited to) cash, investments, commercial or residential property, art, jewellery, and vehicles.  

2. How do you apply for a South African visa?

The general process of applying for a South African visa is as follows:

  • Eligibility assessment to see if you qualify to apply for a visa
  • Gathering the necessary documents
  • Submitting your application 

However, each visa has unique requirements determining what happens during the application process. 

For example, you must apply for professional body registration for a critical skills work visa or draw up a business plan to apply for a business visa. It’s best to speak with an immigration consultant to see how your visa application process will look. 

3. How much does a South African visa application cost?

The main costs associated with a South African visa application are the VFS and visa application fees, which differ from one visa type to the next. 

You’ll have to add the service fees of an immigration agent if you’re getting professional assistance with your application.

Other costs include but are not limited to:

  • Postage and courier costs
  • Translation costs, if applicable
  • Document certification and/or verification, if applicable
  • Police clearance certificates
  • SAQA fees, if applicable
  • Professional body registration fees, if applicable
  • Medical examinations and X-rays

It isn’t easy to give a fixed or estimated cost as visa application costs vary. However, an immigration agent could quote you exact costs at the start of your dealings with them. 

Contact us to start your immigration to South Africa

Our consultants are here to assess your eligibility and answer your questions! 

When you become a client, one of our administrators will work with you to successfully submit your visa application. 

To get the ball rolling on your immigration, take our free eligibility assessment. You’ll hear from one of our consultants within 24 hours and find out if you can immigrate to South Africa.