Retired Permit / Visa – Immigration to South Africa – Retiring to South Africa

A retired permit, visa, as a means of immigration to South Africa, is granted to immigrants wishing to spend their retirement years in South Africa. For immigration to South Africa, under the category of a retired permit, the criteria is based on the premise that the immigrant is not looking to work, study or carry out their own business.

Retired Permit / Visa Criteria

As with all permit applications and visa applications associated with immigration to South Africa, there are a number of criteria that must be satisfied. Below are some of the main points:

  • There are no age restrictions on a retired persons permit, either for a minimum age or maximum;
  • Applications for retired person permits can be made under the temporary and permanent categories;
  • Both income and capital can be used when a temporary or permanent retired person permit is being applied for;
  • Pension, retirement or an irrevocable annuity and other lifetime guaranteed income can be utilized when applying for a Permanent Residency in the Retired Persons category.

More details can be found in our knowledge base and brochure download section.

Working out if you qualify for a retired permit / visa

Working out whether you meet the qualifying criteria can be quite complex as only certain types of income and capital are allowed. To ensure you meet the qualifying criteria you would need to contact us.

Retired Permit / Visa – Temporary Residency

Applications for retired permits under temporary residency can be made for a period of 4 years only. After the 4 years they can be further extended by making an application to home affairs and proving that the criteria are still being met.

As a retired persons permit one of the main criteria concerns the prospective immigrant’s financial status and proving they have sufficient means to support themselves.

For temporary residency each applicant must demonstrate that they have: ZAR 37,000 per month, per applicant. This can be in the form of cash/cash equivalents or cash income generated by capital asset(s). The proof of funds can be either of the aforementioned or a combination of both.


Retired temporary permit / visa based on cash or cash equivalents:

For each month the couple apply for a temporary retired persons permit, they would need to show cash available to the amount of ZAR 37,000. Therefore the 4 year permit equation would be 48 months (4 years/12 months in a year) times ZAR 37,000 per month. A figure of ZAR 1,776,000 in cash or cash equivalents will need to be shown as proof of funds in order for the couple to qualify.

Retired temporary (or permanent residency) based on cash income generated by a capital asset or pension:

A married couple with an income of R74,000 per month from appropriate property rental income or pension.

The criteria would be met and the couple could apply for the 4 years under the retired persons permit category. They could also apply for permanent residency provided the rental income or pension income used as proof of funds can be proved to be life-long guaranteed. For more details see the below section Retired Permit/Visa permanent residency.

For a Retired Permit / Visa for Permanent Residency

Permanent residency applications under the retired permit category can be made without the need to first obtain temporary residency, but in practice most immigrants will apply for both (where they meet the qualifying criteria) due to the long processing times of Home Affairs – approximately 24 months.

The financial criteria for retired permits under the permanent category are similar to that of temporary in that the ZAR 37,000 monthly income needs to be proved. However, the proof of funds needs to be life-long guaranteed income and not capital based or a cash lump sum.

Please note that at the time of submission of your Retired Permanent Residency application, the annuity or pension income needs to be payable at the current date. Bank statements will be needed as supporting evidence that these funds are credited into your account when submission takes place.

Financially independent permit – the alternative to proving income

For those applicants who cannot meet the required income levels for residency under the retired permit or retired visa a suitable alternative for those with assets over 12 million rand would be the Financially independent permit. You can read more about the permit and visa alternative here.

Check out our Video on the Retirement permits for South Africa

How To Find Out More About Our Services?

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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