The Financially Independent Permit is governed by the South African Immigration Act and is appropriate for those with a high net worth seeking permanent residency in South Africa.
Below we look at some of the salient points of qualifying for the Financially Independent Permit as well as the application process.
What is a Financially Independent Permit?
A Financially Independent permit, if granted, allows for the applicant to remain in South Africa on a permanent basis.
You may even leave South Africa but there is a need for you to return every 3 years to maintain your permanent residency. Please note this entry into South Africa can be for a very short time – even over night.
What is the qualifying criteria?
You must still meet the good health and character requirements. Other than this and the normal documentation, the main criteria is financial.
The Financially Independent Permit is designed to attract high net worth individuals. As such you need to be able to prove net assets of R12, 000, 000 (12 million rand).
Must I bring these funds to South Africa?
There is no requirement to invest these funds in South Africa and they may remain in any country you so choose.
What does the permit allow me to?
The most attractive feature of the Financially Independent permit is that it grants permanent residence status. As such the holder has the right to conduct any activity they wish. This could mean taking up employment, starting a business or just retiring.
How long does the permit application take?
The Department of Home Affairs take between 24 to 48 months to process a financially independent permit.
Where do I need to apply?
Applications for permanent residency can be made either here in South Africa or at a South African missions abroad.
Can I bring with dependants / partners or spouses?
If the application for permanent residency for a spouse or partner was being made simultaneously with the main applicants, they would also need to show 12 million in net assets.
However if the application is made after the main applicant has received permanent residency then a Spousal or life partner application could be possible, negating this needs and the extra fees.
Dependent children will be required to obtain an appropriate visa – more than likely a study visa.
Are there any drawbacks?
The Financially Independent permit does attract higher fees. There are the normal fees payable to the Department of Home Affairs of R1520 per applicant. In addition there is the processing free of R1350 to the visa application centre.
Once your Financially Independent permit is approved you will then be asked to pay a further R120,000. To stress, this fee is only payable on your Financially Independent permit being approved so it is never at risk.
Why it may not be a drawback?
The reason it may not be a drawback refers back to the point made above:
Once you have received your financially independent permit you are allowed you to carry out any economic activity:
If you cannot meet the requirements for these visas and permits, or do not wish to first obtain a temporary visa and then apply for permanent residency then the extra fee may well be not just secure you an easier immigration path but also be your only viable route.
Getting help with your visa or permit application
We welcome the opportunity to consult with you as to your eligibility for a visa /permit and answer any questions you may have with no obligation.
Alternatively you can fill out the below online enquiry form to contact us.