However, as with all things immigration related, it’s not as straightforward as it seems.
You see, if you’re a South African and your spouse is a foreigner, the correct visa is the spousal visa under the family category.
On the other hand, if you’re a foreigner who’s coming to South Africa to work, the appropriate visa is an accompanying spouse visa.
We’ve already covered the accompanying spouse visa in detail here, so today we’ll concentrate on the spousal visa:
- How is a spousal visa defined?
- What are the requirements?
- Can my spouse work while in South Africa?
- Can my spouse get permanent residency?
We’re also answering a question you might not want to ask yourself – what happens if the marriage ends? Before we get there though, let’s get to all the other questions on our list:
How is a spousal visa defined?
A spousal visa for South Africa is a temporary visa for foreigners who have been married for less than 5 years to a South African citizen or permanent resident. It enables the foreigner spouse to join their husband or wife in South Africa.
How long is the visa valid for?
Spousal visas are usually issued for either 2 or 3 years. Depending on your circumstances, your spouse can either renew the visa or apply for permanent residency when the expiry date approaches.
What are the South African spousal visa requirements?
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) wants to see that your marriage is real. This is their main concern.
How do you prove your marriage is real? The DHA asks for a valid marriage certificate.
The rest of the requirements we’ll be happy to discuss with you once a decision has been made to apply for a spousal visa.
Can my spouse work while in South Africa?
It’s a ‘yes’, but not without a work endorsement on the visa. Studying may also not be undertaken without an endorsement and the same goes for running a business.
You can read more about endorsements here.
Can my spouse get permanent residence?
Yes, your spouse will be able to apply for a South African spouse permit if or when you’ve been married for 5 years or longer. You’ll have to prove that the marriage is still intact two years after your spouse has become a permanent resident.
A word of advice – permanent residence applications can take up to 2 years to finalise, so it’s advisable to start by applying for temporary residence, even if you’ve been married for longer than 5 years. Then your spouse can apply for permanent residence as soon as a temporary residency visa is issued.
What happens if the marriage ends?
A spousal visa for South Africa is granted based on the fact that a valid marriage exists between yourself and your foreign partner. Thus, the visa is subject to the marriage surviving.
In the eyes of Home Affairs, when the marriage ends, the visa is deemed to end.
Please note that the same is true if the marriage ends within the first two years of receiving permanent residency.
Should you wish to discuss this in more detail, please feel free to give us a call.
Get started with an application for a spousal visa for South Africa
If you can’t wait to bring your spouse to South Africa, get the ball rolling straight away.
The first step is doing an immigration assessment. Ours take only a couple of minutes, is free of charge and you can do it here.
Our consultants will contact your spouse to discuss their eligibility and the requirements as well as work endorsements if necessary.
It’s only the start of the process, but the sooner you get started, the sooner your spouse will be able to join you in South Africa.