South African Spousal Permit – Need to knows

If you are seeking to move to South Africa, and are married to a South African citizen or Permanent Residence holder, you may be eligible to apply for a South African Spousal permit.

South Africa’s immigration regulations differentiate a temporary residency application from that of a permanent residency application by referring to the former as a visa and the later as a permit. In the case of a spousal permit your application would be for permanent residency.

Below we give you our top ten hints and tips for applying for a South African Spousal Permit

  1. If you have been married for 5 years you may make an application for permanent residency under a spousal permit.If you have been married for less than 5 years the only option available to is to apply for a temporary spousal visa.The same will apply with regards to those who can prove cohabitation, but are unmarried. If you can prove 2 years cohabitation you should read here for more information on the life partner visa, or if you can prove cohabitation for more than 5 years, then you should read here for more information on life partner permits.
  2. Applying for a South African Spousal Permit, under the permanent residency category, can take up to 2 years (in extreme cases more). Therefore you may wish to consider an application that is for both temporary and permanent residency at the same time. Intergate Immigration can help you now in applying for a South African Spousal Visa.
  3. When applying for a South African Spousal Permit you should wherever possible make the application in your own country of citizenship/residence. New regulations in 2014, issued by by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), now mean that you may not make a change of status application in South Africa. This means you cannot change from a visitors status to spousal visa status. Whilst in theory you may still apply for a Spousal Permit (permanent residency) in South Africa, it is recommended you are on a Spousal Visa status when making this application to allow for a swift application process.
  4. Upon obtaining a spousal permit you are entitled to work, run a business or study. On receipt of the spousal permit you become a permanent resident of South Africa and are therefore allowed to carry out economic activities as any South African citizen would. There is no need to apply for further permissions or submit any notifications to the DHA related to your activities.
  5. Proving you are married is a fairly simple exercise with a marriage certificate being enclosed with the spousal permit application.
  6. For many non South Africans coming to South Africa with their partners, job hunting can be a frustrating exercise but needlessly so. Demonstrating to any prospective employer that you are to be treated the same as a South African applying for a position and do not need a work permit can greatly enhance your chances. Your Spousal Permit will afford you this right and your appointed immigration company can help here by supplying you with a letter confirming such.
  7. It is generally a requirement that you submit proof, 2 years after receipt of your spousal permit, to the DHA, that you are still married to your South African spouse, as per your initial application. A failure to do so puts your Spousal permit at risk and it there for essential that you ensure you comply with this regulation.
  8. When you receive your Spousal permit (permanent residency) you will not receive an endorsement in your passport. You will be issued with a permanent residency certificate. This permanent residency certificate is an extremely important document and is required for example when you travel. Please ensure it is kept safe.
  9. Upon receipt of your permanent residence certificate you will need to apply for an ID book / Smart card. This needs to be done in person.
  10. To maintain your Spousal Permit for permanent residency you need to ensure you visit South Africa at least once every 3 years.

Get more advice on applying for a South African Spousal Permit

You can contact one of our immigration consultants on the below methods. Your consultation will carry no costs nor any obligations and you can expect a full reply within 24 hours.

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.


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