Life Partner Permit South Africa

Life Partner Permits South Africa
Life Partner Permits South Africa

A life partner permit is an application based upon the individuals relationship with a South African for permanent residence.

Who should apply for a life partner permit South Africa?

Applications for a life partner permit should be made by those individuals who are in a permanent relationship with a South African citizen or Permanent Residence holder.

Life partner permits do not discriminate between hetrosexual or same-sex couples and the requirements and process are identical. See here for more details.

What is the definition of a life partner in South Africa?

Lets first look at the official definition:

“Such relationship must be intended to be permanent, exclude any other person and involve cohabitation, an obligation of mutual emotional support between the parties and a reciprocal obligation to support one another financially in circumstances where the one has the means to do so and the other requires such support to maintain, without recourse to public funds, his or her financial and social standing and standard of living.”

This is not a black and white area and perhaps one of the most difficult parts of applying for a life partner permit. As with many countries South Africa places a large emphasis on the period of cohabitation.

For a life partner permit this cohabitation period must be for 5 years.

If you cannot meet the 5 year cohabitation requirements then please see here for details on the temporary residence option, the life partner visa.

There is also an onus of proving the relationship meets the official definition and proving the relationship is akin to that of a married one with both emotional and financial support being factors.

Therefore applications for life partner permits need to ensure that they include ample proof of the permanent nature of their relationship.

What type of proof needs to be submitted with a Life Partner permit application?

Proof needs to substantiate both the historic nature of the relationship as well as it going forward. Obvious items include:

  • Joint bank statements
  • Joint financial commitments
  • Proof of cohabitation
  • Affidavits from relations and friends as to the nature and term of the relationship

Most of these of course apply to financially supporting each other, emotional support can be hard to prove with documentation.

For this very reason and the fact that the life partner permit is one of the most abused in South Africa, interviews are compulsory. Interviews comprise of a Department of Home Affairs or Consulate Official taking up their right to call the applicant and their spouse in for interviews.

These interviews will normally be conducted separately and together and the aim is for the official to form an opinion as to whether the couple meet the criteria of proving the relationship is in keeping with the official definition.

It must therefore be stressed that advice and consultation from an immigration expert is best sought.

Where to apply for your Life Partner permit

In the past, Life partner permits were commonly applied for in South Africa. The life partner of the South African would enter South Africa on a Travel visa, valid for 3 months. After entry they would then make the submission at a Department of Home Affairs Office.

This route is now no longer available to most people as new legislation has prevented any permit or visa application in South Africa that changes an applicants status. The vast majority of applications must now be submitted in the applicants home country, with the exception of those who already hold a life partner visa or other qualifying visa type.

Can you work on a Life Partner Permit?

Yes you can. In fact, you can enjoy all the rights that a South African Citizen does with regards to your ability to work, run a business or study.


Life partner permits can be a complex area and the burden of proof on the relationship is one key element.

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. Alternatively simply call us on +27 (0)21 424 2460.

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


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