Financially Independent Permit – Retirement to South Africa

Financially Independent Permit Retirement to South Africa
Financially Independent Permit Retirement to South Africa

Whilst the Financially Independent Permit attracts a much larger fee for the Department of Home Affairs from immigrants to South Africa, it is an often under-utilised immigration route.

Though South Africa is retiree friendly, in terms of its immigration requirements some applicants may find it hard to reach the required guaranteed income levels that would result in a successful retired permit application for permanent residency.

Income levels of a guaranteed R37,000 per applicant are required and this must be shown from a source such as a pension or rented property that clearly demonstrates the income is for life.

In an era where more and more people shy away from managed pension solutions and take responsibility for their own retirement income, often capital is built up to supply income but this is not in the form of a traditional pension.

How the Financially Independent Permit can work for retirees

The independent retired persons permit can be of use if applying for permanent residency when the applicant cannot demonstrate income, but can demonstrate available capital.

The basic premise of this application is that the immigrant moving to South Africa is of such financial standing that they will not be a drain on the South African government or economy. The independent financial persons permit can also be utilised where the applicant cannot demonstrate income but can demonstrate available capital, as the qualifying criteria specifies the capital worth of the applicant and not the income levels.

Instead of the required R37,000 per month per applicant a retired permit requires the applicant can show a net wealth of 12 million rand. The 12 million rand is not required to be brought into South Africa and may remain in any jurisdiction of the applicants choosing.

Furthermore, there is no tax on the person’s accumulated wealth other than ongoing requirements in terms of income tax and capital tax, and only then if the person is deemed a South African resident for tax purposes.

The Independent Financial permit enables the immigrant to apply immediately for permanent residency, which if granted places no restriction on the immigrant in terms of what economic activity they may wish to carry out – such as run a business, work, study and of course retire.

The Downside

The Independent financial permit does attract a larger submission fee with the Department of Home Affairs. Over and above the normal R1520 a further fee of R120, 000 is payable. Worth noting however is that the fee is payable in two parts – the first smaller one on submission and the much larger fee only when the certificate is approved. The larger part of the fee is therefore not payable unless the application is approved.

Processing Times

It can also be that the Financially Independent permit is processed quicker than other permit routes but applicants must be aware that this is not always the case with the Department of Home Affairs being the sole influence on the length of time and granting of a Financially Independent permit.

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.

You can take our free one minute assessment here or request a call back for more information. Or simply call us at +27 (0)21 424 2460.

Alternatively you can fill out the below online enquiry form to contact us.


First Name *

Surname *

Email Address *

Telephone Number

Language *

Country Of Residence *

What Visa would you apply for? *

Where in SA would you move to? *

Comments *