Emigration to South Africa, or any other country for that matter, can be overwhelming and frustrating. However, if you get the basics right and have specialists assisting you, your emigration is bound to cause you far fewer grey hairs.
Here we’ll share the basics of emigration to South Africa that you should know so that you know where to start, how to proceed and as a bonus – the most important thing you should do after you’ve received your visa.
1. Determine whether you are in fact eligible to live in South Africa
Emigration requires time, effort and money. There is no point in pursuing your relocation journey when you don’t know whether you qualify to live in South Africa.
This is why it’s important to start your emigration process by doing thorough research and finding a trusted immigration agent that can assist you. Luckily for you, Intergate Immigration offers a free, no obligation eligibility assessment.
2. Find out which South African visa you should apply for
It’s incredibly important to explore all your options in order to ensure that you apply for the correct visa. Your application may be denied if you apply for the incorrect visa.
Here is a rundown of all the visas plus links to more information:
- Work visas: Here you have a choice of a critical skills visa and general work visa. Intra-company transfer work visas and individual corporate work visas are also options, with the difference that the push for these visas would come from an employer.
- Spousal or life partner visas: These visas are for anyone in a permanent relationship with or married to a South African.
- Relatives visas: Relatives visas are for first kin and second kin family members of South Africans.
- Retirement visa: This visa is for anyone who would like spend their retirement years in South Africa. There is no age limit attached to the retirement visa.
- Business visa: The business visa is for anyone who wants to make a living in South Africa by either starting a business, buying into one and being a partner in a business or investing in a business.
- Study visa: The study visa is for foreign national children of school-going age as well as students who want to undertake tertiary studies in South Africa.
- Volunteer visa: This visa allows for voluntary or charitable work to be done with a registered NPO or NGO in South Africa.
3. Ensure that the immigration company you work with is above board
You’ll find that immigration agents for some countries, for example New Zealand, are governed by strict rules and regulations. This means you’re able to check with official bodies and organisations that the agent you’re dealing with is authorised and licensed.
Should anything go wrong due to the actions of the immigration agent, it is subsequently also possible for the immigrant to take action against the agent.
In South Africa you are not guaranteed this peace of mind unfortunately, as immigration agents do not have to be licensed.
This does not mean that it’s impossible to check the credentials of your agent – it just means that you have to be more vigilant and diligent when enlisting the services of an immigration agent.
You can for instance check affiliations, partnerships and testimonials. You could also ask the agent if they or their employer are ISO certified. ISO certification is a good indication of the level of service you can expect to receive.
4. Apply for documentation such as police clearance certificates sooner rather than later
It could take months for required documentation to be issued, so we always advise our clients to apply for documents such as police clearance certificates as soon as possible. The sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll be able to lodge your visa application.
It is important to chat to your immigration agent regarding your timeline. Certain documents are time sensitive. To avoid having to redo any paperwork, please ensure you understand the validity of certain documents which will need to be included in your application.
5. Ensure that your passport is valid for long enough
Your passport must be valid for 30 days longer than your intended stay for temporary residence.
For example, if you want to apply for a 3-year study visa, your passport must be valid for 3 years and 30 days at a minimum. If not, your visa will be issued in line with your passport expiration date.
6. Check that the information on your visa is correct before departing for South Africa
Incorrect information on your visa could cause you a lot of unnecessary headaches. That’s why we strongly advise that you double-check that your visa has been correctly issued in terms of the duration of your stay, the type of visa, the spelling of names and so on.
7. And your bonus tip: Maintain your legal status at all times while in South Africa. Here’s how….
You have your visa, you’re in South Africa – now ensure that you stay legal at all times.
You do this by adhering to the conditions of your visa at all times and by planning renewals or change of status well in advance to avoid running out of time on your existing visa. That means submitting at least 60 days before the expiry of your visa.
Our advice though? Start renewals or new applications much earlier! We recommend 6 months prior to expiry.
Ready for detailed advice on emigration to South Africa?
Do you now feel that you know a bit more about the basics of emigration? Are you ready to explore emigration to South Africa further?
You’re at the right place if you are. Our immigration experts can do an eligibility assessment with you and advise you on which visa you should apply for.
Please feel free to speak to our agents about our credentials. What we can tell you right now is that Intergate has been going strong for 15 years. We have successfully helped thousands of families, individuals and corporates with emigration to South Africa.
We look forward to hearing from you and helping you realise your dream of living in South Africa!