The last thing you should do if you want to immigrate to South Africa, is rush into it.
Instead you want to take some time to ask yourself a couple of key questions to set yourself up for success right from the start.
But what questions should you be able to answer?
This is where we come in. As South Africa’s leading independent immigration company, we know exactly the type of questions you should have answers to before immigrating.
There are 10 questions to be exact. Here they are:
1. Do you qualify for a visa?
It may be stating the obvious, but before you take any action, you must find out if you’re eligible to immigrate to South Africa. In other words – do you qualify for one of South Africa’s visas?
South Africa offers a number of different visa and permit options that allows for various activities:
- Work visas.
- Spousal and life partner visas.
- Relative visa.
- Business visa.
- Study visas.
- Retired visas.
- Financially independent permit.
Intergate can help you determine if you qualify for any of the above visas with our immigration assessment. It’s done for free and it’s non-obligatory too, meaning you’re not committed making use of our services once you’ve taken the assessment.
2. Do your immediate family members also need a visa?
When you immigrate to South Africa for work or to start a business, your spouse or life partner as well as your children would also have to apply for visas.
In the case of spouses and life partners, it’s an application for what is known as an ‘accompanying spouse’.
Dependent children must have study visas to start or continue their schooling in South Africa.
3. Will you apply yourself or use an immigration company?
You can make an application yourself, as there is no law stating you must use an immigration company.
Be warned though – South Africa does operate its immigration rules on a points system, which means there are a lot of grey areas and ambiguity. This makes for a complex and frustrating experience for many prospective immigrants who attempt their visa application on their own.
To make the process go as smoothly as pleasantly as possible, our recommendation is to employ the services of a professional immigration company. Immigration companies know the Immigration Act back to front, deal with the Department of Home Affairs regularly, and know about changes to immigration legislation when it happens
4. How will you select your immigration company?
You’ve decided to employ the services of an immigration company, but how to you go about choosing the right company?
Unfortunately the South African immigration landscape is not heavily regulated, which means just about anyone can act as an immigration adviser. There are no exams to pass, neither any licensed or registrations to achieve, as is the case with emigration to New Zealand and Australia for instance.
There are ways, however, to help ensure that you deal with a reputable immigration company. Check and do the following:
- It’s a registered South African company with premises. Ask a friend in South Africa to visit the offices if you’re unable to.
- The company consists of an adequately sized team of professionals.
- They are experienced and have been trading for a number of years.
- Ask for proof of associations, affiliations and the like – talk is cheap.
- Enquire about the company’s client management system and processes.
- Ask if the company have other support services to assist you.
5. What is your timeframe?
Immigration to South Africa takes time – you have to plan well in advance. Some visas, like the general work visa, more often than not takes up to a year to reach an outcome.
6. Do you want to buy a property or start out by renting a place?
Obtaining the visa is only part of the story. The other part is a successful relocation.
If you want to rent to become familiar with your city and its neighbourhoods before buying a place, we recommend having a look at any of these property rental sites:
Should renting not be for you, we recommend working with a property buyer’s agent to help you with buying a house or apartment.
South Africa’s property laws differ greatly from most other countries around the world. For instance, in South Africa an Offer to Purchase is a binding document.
A property buyer’s agent can help you navigate this and the other unique traits of South Africa’s property laws.
SAHomeBuyers is a great agency to work with, as they also assist with finding properties, identifying neighbourhoods that suit your needs best, reviewing the sales agreement, and negotiating a fair price. You can have a look at SAHB’s website to view their full service offering.
7. How will exchange control regulations impact on any money you send to South Africa?
For many immigrants the concept of exchange control will be a new one. The very briefest of descriptions is that it controls the flow of money and assets both into and out of South Africa.
It is imperative you get good advice from your very first transfer to South Africa. The best place to go is a South African FSCA registered company. Our trusted partner is Incompass, which is part of the Intergate Group. Incompass can guide you through exchange control issues and secure the very best exchange rates for your currency transfers.
8. Will you bring pets with you when you immigrate to South Africa?
Let’s face it – if you have pets, you definitely won’t want to leave them behind.
The good news is that you can bring your pets to South Africa, you’ll just have to follow the correct processes. You can read more about these processes and requirements on our blog.
9. Are you shipping any goods to South Africa?
Most people who immigrate to South Africa move with their household goods, especially if the move is long-term. This means shipping furniture and other belongings to South Africa, all of which could be a big mystery to solve on your own.
Our experts have done some of the groundwork for you, so that shipping your goods is a little simpler. You can read about South Africa’s import rules and regulations, including prohibited items, on our blog.
10. Do you need medical aid?
Immigrants who immigrate to South Africa should view medical aid as compulsory. Waiting times at public hospitals to see doctors and specialists are long and frustrating. Private hospitals are the opposite, plus private institutions provide world-class healthcare.
You’re ready to start immigrate to South Africa…
When you have the answers to these 10 questions, you’re set to start your immigration to South Africa.
If you have any questions about the visa application process itself, or questions about how Intergate can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us in either Cape Town or Johannesburg:
- CT: +27 (0) 21 424 2460
- JHB: +27 (0) 11 234 4275
Alternatively, send us a call back request or pop us an email. You can rest assured that you’re speaking to immigration experts at one of South Africa’s leading immigration companies. We’ve successfully processed more than 40, 000 visa applications over the past 15 years!
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