The Department of Home Affairs realises that couples want to come to South Africa together when one person is starting a job here. That’s why the DHA created the accompanying spouse visa for South Africa.
As the name suggests, this visa allows the non working partner to join their significant other in South Africa. The application will be made at the same time as the main applicant’s visa or it can be made after the work visa has been issued.
Here’s what you ought to know about this visa:
Both spouses and life partners may apply
The DHA recognises both marriages and life partnerships for the accompanying spouse visa. However, you’d need to prove the union or partnership:
Proof of a marriage must be provided in the form of a marriage certificate.
- Life partnership
The same requirements as for the life partner visa are demanded. That means you have to provide:
- Proof of cohabitation for two years and shared finances for two years;
- A notarial agreement; and
- Letters from friends and family confirming the relationship.
It’s a temporary visa only
An accompanying spouse visa can only be issued for a maximum of 3 years, even if the main applicant’s visa is valid for 4 or 5 years.
As such, this visa does not lead to permanent residency unfortunately. However, should your spouse or partner apply for and receive permanent residence, you will be eligible to apply for permanent residence once you’ve been married for 5 years or can prove cohabitation or shared finances for 5 years.
You’re not allowed work or study
Unfortunately the accompanying spouse visa for South Africa only allows you the reside in South Africa, nothing more – you can’t work or study.
If you’d like to do either, you’d have to apply for the appropriate visa. It would be one of these visas:
In most cases you’re allowed to change your visa while still in South Africa, but there are exceptions.
What if I want to start a business?
You’re allowed to apply for a business visa, but in this case the application must be made in your home country. You cannot change from an accompanying spouse visa to a business visa in South Africa.
The same goes for any other activity you’d like to take up in South Africa that is not working or studying.
A final note on the accompanying spouse visa for South Africa
You’d also still need to submit all other documentation usually required with South African visas, such as medical reports and police clearance certificates, as part of your application.
The most important, however, still remains that the couple is able to prove the marriage or life partnership.
Be sure to start getting this proof together early in the process. The earlier, the better, and the sooner you can join your significant other in South Africa.