We answer your 8 most-asked questions about South African immigration

Immigration is synonymous with questions – and lots of them! Some questions pop up time and again. That’s why we’ve decided to answer the eight questions you ask us the most in one place so that it’s easy to reference.

Go on – bookmark this page immediately! Then start reading…

1. What are the South African work visa requirements for Zimbabweans?

We get the same question from other nationalities. The truth is that South Africa’s work visa requirements, as stipulated in the Immigration Act, are the same for all people from all countries.

However, Zimbabweans in South Africa on a Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) is able to work in South Africa without applying for a further work visa.

2. How do I apply for South African citizenship?

To apply for South African citizenship you must have held permanent residence for 5 years from the date of obtaining your PR in South Africa. If you are eligible to apply, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will only proceed with your citizenship application when verification of your permanent residence has been confirmed by the Immigration Services (IMS) through a written and signed letter of proof of PR. You must attach this letter to your citizenship application.

You can view all the details on how to apply for South African citizenship on the DHA’s website.

Please note that Intergate Immigration does NOT assist with citizenship applications. Intergate only assists with applications for temporary and permanent residence.

3. How do I get a South African visa?

You must meet the requirements to submit an application. There isn’t only one set of requirements though. Each one of South Africa’s visas has its own criteria. Here we’ll discuss the main requirements, but go to our visa section for comprehensive details on South African visa criteria.

Critical skills work visa:

Your occupation and qualification must appear on South Africa’s critical skills list.

General work visa:

You must have a written job offer and the employer must be able to prove that they couldn’t find a South African for the position.

Intra-company transfer work visa:

The South African company must be a subsidiary, branch or affiliate of the overseas company. Both the overseas and South African company have a number of criteria to meet.

Corporate workers permit:

This visa is for South African employers and it offers the possibility to employ great numbers of employees from abroad, all under the remit of one application. You’ll be able to apply for an individual corporate workers visa if the employer’s application is successful.

Spousal visa:

You must be married to a South African.

Life partner visa:

You must be in a genuine and stable relationship with a South African for at least 2 years.

Relative’s visa:

You must be a first-kin or second-kin family member of a South African. This includes spouses, life partners, children, parents, brothers and sisters.

Business visa:

You must be able to invest at least R5 million into your business and 60% of your workforce must be South Africans. Furthermore, you must submit a comprehensive business plan and set up the business in a suitable company structure.

Study visa:

  • Dependent student: You must have a letter of acceptance from your child’s school. You must also provide an undertaking that your child will have medical cover for the full duration of the period of study in addition to proof of South African medical cover.
  • Non-dependent students: You must have a letter of acceptance, your course must be full time, and the learning institution must be approved by the Department of Higher Education and Training. Additionally, you will need to have in place medical insurance for the duration of your study visa from a registered scheme in terms of the Medical Schemes Act.

To find out if you are eligible for one of the above visas, take our free immigration assessment. If you are, our consultants and administrators can help with your visa application.

4. What are the requirements for a life partner permit in South Africa?

Let’s start by mentioning that the DHA did away with the term ‘permit’ in 2014. Instead, ‘visa’ now refers to both temporary and permanent residence.

The requirements for temporary residence are:

  • You and your partner must be able to prove evidence of joint cohabitation and shared financial responsibility for a minimum of 2 years.
  • You must be able to show that the relationship is valid and of a lasting nature.

To apply for permanent residence, you must also be able to provide the above proof, but for 5 years instead of 2 years.

Read all about the life partner visa and its requirements on our website.

5. How can I get a work visa in South Africa?

If you’re a first-time applicant, you must apply from your home country. Many people assume that it’s possible to change from a visitor’s visa to a work visa in South Africa but that is incorrect.

However, if you are in South Africa already on another visa that gives you temporary residence, you may be able to change to a work visa in South Africa. To find out if you can, it is best to call or email us for a consultation.

6. How do I endorse my South African spousal visa?

When on a spousal visa, you may only work, study or run a business with an endorsement on your visa. These endorsements are:

  • Work: A valid contract of employment.
  • Study: A letter of acceptance from an appropriate learning institution.
  • To set up and run a business: Proof that a suitable business structure is in place and that the business is registered for tax.

7. How do I renew my spousal visa?

Renewing your spousal visa is essentially the same as making a first-time application. You’ll have to meet all the requirements again. However, you can apply for permanent residence if you’ve been married for longer than 5 years.

8. How do I get permanent residence in South Africa?

There is not one standard route to permanent residence. Your route to permanent residence, and the requirements you’ll have to meet, will depend on the type of temporary residence you hold.

You can get more information about permanent residence from our visa section.

Didn’t see your burning questions here?

Then please feel free to either email or call us for a free consultation. You can reach our Cape Town team at +27 (0) 21 424 246o while our Johannesburg team is available at +27 (0) 11 234 4275. You can also request a call back for one of our consultants to contact you instead.