What is a life partner visa?
A life partner visa enables a foreign national to join their South African partner in South Africa.
The South African partner can be a citizen or permanent resident, and the relationship can be between partners of the same or opposite sex.
The main requirement is that the relationship is of a stable and permanent nature.
What are the requirements of a renewal of a life partner visa of South Africa?
Many people assume that a renewal is a simple and quick process. In most cases, they’d be wrong. Most South African visa renewals are as much work as a first-time visa application.
When it comes to a life partner visa renewals, you’ll have to prove again that your relationship is stable and exclusive, and that you’re both committed to the relationship. You have to do this by proving the following to the Department of Home Affairs:
1. You are co-habitating
For your first life partner visa application, you would’ve had to prove that you and your partner have lived together for at least two years. When renewing your South African life partner visa, you’ll have to prove that you are still living together. In other words, you’ll again have to submit proof such as utility bills or rental agreements in both partners’ names, spanning the last two years.
2. You share financial responsibilities
The Department of Home Affairs want to see that the partners in a relationship support each other financially. To satisfy this requirement, you must provide proof of items such as shared bills, assets and liabilities. As with proof of co-habitation, this proof must cover two years.
What else is there to know?
- You must submit your application for a South African life partner visa at least 60 days before your existing visa expires. With that said, you cannot apply for an extension more than 6 months before the expiry date of your existing visa.
- South African police clearance certificates are now done at your VFS appointment if you submit your renewal in South Africa. This means you don’t have to apply for one before the time.
- At the time of writing, life partner visa renewals are taking around 3 months to reach an outcome.
Tired of having to do renewals? Consider permanent residence
You can apply for permanent residence when you can prove shared finances and co-habitation of 5 years. Permanent residence allows you to stay in South Africa indefinitely, if your application is successful. South African permanent residence will afford you the same rights as a South African citizen, except for the right to vote in elections and to hold a South African passport.
However – and this is a big ‘however’ – the Department of Home Affairs takes between 2 to 4 years to process life partner permanent residence applications. While your application is with the Department, you still have to hold a valid visa to reside in South Africa, which means you may still have to renew your temporary residence visa while waiting on the outcome of your PR application.
What is the best way to get your renewal right the first time?
The Department of Home Affairs is clear on the requirements to meet for a life partner visa renewal. Unfortunately, the Department has never actually put the items of means of evidence in black-and-white.
Unfortunately, this means having sufficient evidence is often open to interpretation.
For instance, one adjudicator might accept only a shared rental agreement as proof of co-habitation while another might insist on seeing both a shared rental agreement and shared utilities.
This makes the life partner visa one of the trickier visas to renew. However, if you want to get it right the first time, our suggestion is work with an immigration consultant.
When an immigration consultant helps with your visa renewal application, you can rest assured that:
- The requirements are met as per the Department of Home Affairs’s rules and regulations.
- All the evidence is supplied, as the consultant will know what the Department of Home Affairs is likely to accept.
- The necessary supporting documents are submitted.
- You have expert advice on hand should regulations change without warning.
Intergate can help with the renewal of your life partner visa
Our immigration consultants have helped thousands of foreign nationals to renew their life partner visas – and we can do the same for you. Many of our consultants are foreign nationals who have gone through the immigration process themselves. This gives our consultants a unique perspective on and understanding of the process.
To get in touch with one of our team members, simply send us an email or call us on +27 (0) 21 424 2460. Just be sure to do it well ahead of your visa’s expiry date!