Retirement Visa: A Comprehensive Guide to Retiring in South Africa

Retire in South Africa

South Africa, with its sun-packed days, excellent living standards, and retiree-friendly visa regulations, has become a popular destination for international retirees. If you’re considering South Africa for your retirement years, understanding the retirement visa is crucial. This guide will walk you through the qualifying criteria, highlight key benefits of living in South Africa, and answer some frequently asked questions that come up for this popular visa category.

Who Can Apply for a South African Retirement Visa?

South Africa is a retiree-friendly destination. The general requirements of good character and health apply, but the retirement visa’s main criteria are financially based. It’s important to note that the retirement visa is a temporary visa valid for four years. However, retirees can apply for permanent residency, which requires the same monthly income but it must be life-long guaranteed.

Financial Criteria for a Retirement Visa in South Africa

South African immigration laws require retirees to demonstrate financial self-sufficiency to avoid straining state resources. Applicants must show a minimum income of ZAR 37,000 per month.

‘A persons who wish to retire in South Africa may apply for a retired person visa, provided that he or she receives at least R37 000 per month from a pension fund or an irrevocable retirement annuity or has a net worth or a combination of assets realising a minimum monthly income of R37 000’. (Source: VFS Global)

Age Restrictions for a Retirement Visa

Unlike many countries, South Africa imposes no age restrictions on retirement visas. However, it’s important to note that the intention of this visa is provisioned for individuals who are no longer actively working for an employer or involved in the day-to-day operations of running your own business on a full time basis.

Health and Good Character Requirements

All South African visa applicants must meet health and good character requirements. Good character means no history of criminal behaviour and this would be demonstrated by means of police clearances. Health requirements include a medical certificate with a General Practitioner confirming that you’re in an overall good state of health and don’t suffer from any contagious conditions.

Types of Residency for the Retirement Category

Temporary retirement visas are valid for four years and can be renewed as many times as you like, provided you continue to meet the qualifying criteria. However, retirees can also choose to apply for permanent residency, which we recommend, as this provides an extra sense of security for those investing and making South Africa your new home in your retirement years.

Alternatives to a Retirement Visa

South African immigration rules also offer the Financially Independent Permanent Residency route for those who do not meet the ZAR 37,000 per month life-long guaranteed income criteria. This residency option is ideal for high net worth individuals who have substantial assets. Discover more about this residency category here.

Key Benefits of Living and Retiring in South Africa

  1. Top Educational Institutions: If you have accompanying children, South Africa offers some of the best educational institutions in Africa, providing quality education from primary through tertiary levels.
  2. Rich and Diverse Culture: South Africa is known for its vibrant and diverse culture, with 11 official languages and a rich history. This cultural diversity is reflected in its people, food, music, art, and daily life.
  3. Breathtaking Landscapes and Wildlife: From the iconic Table Mountain to the Kruger National Park, South Africa boasts some of the most stunning landscapes and wildlife in the world. Whether you’re interested in beaches, mountains, or safaris, there’s something for every nature lover.
  4. Great Quality of Life: South Africa offers a high standard of living with modern amenities, excellent healthcare facilities, and a relatively low cost of living compared to many Western countries. The climate is generally pleasant, with plenty of sunshine year-round.


Retiring in South Africa offers a blend of excellent living standards, rich cultural experiences, and breathtaking natural beauty. Understanding the retirement visa and its criteria is the first step towards making South Africa your dream retirement destination. 

Contact Us

Intergate Immigration is one of South Africa’s largest independent immigration agencies. With a successful track record of processing thousands of applications, we are here to assist you with your visa and residency application. For personalised assistance, reach out and let us help you navigate your retirement journey. Contact us at +27 (0)21 424 2460 or to speak to one of our experts – we can’t wait to hear from you!