Types Of South African Visas

By | November 12, 2018

Types Of South African Visas

There are several Visa options to apply for when visiting South Africa which includes ;


  • Visas for medical treatment
  • Visas for working in the entertainment industry
  • Visas for attending a conference
  • Visas for compliance of Treaty conditions
  • Visas for crew (maritime)
  • Visas for cultural / economic / social exchange programmes
  • Transit visas (foreigners en-route to the neighbouring countries)
Visa for people requiring medical attention 

This visitor’s visa is issued to people who want to visit South Africa for medical treatment of less than three months.
All applications for visits for medical purposes must:
  • 
Include a letter from a medical practitioner or medical institution, indicating the nature of the ailment, the reason/ necessity for treatment, the period of treatment and particulars of the appointment/s made in South Africa
  • 
Include full details of the person or institution responsible for the medical expenses and hospital fees. If your medical scheme or employer will be liable for the expenses incurred, proof of medical cover must be submitted
  • People who require medical treatment for longer than three months must apply for a temporary residency permit.
  • 
Emergency patients transported by emergency flights or vehicles will be allowed entry if they do not have a visa. Immigration officers will facilitate their entry by not applying clearance procedures.
  • However, 
The person in charge of the emergency flight (or the pilot, the driver of the vehicle or the aircraft /vehicle owner) must report the entry and presence of the patient as soon as possible to an office of the Department of Home Affairs
  • An immigration officer will visit the patient and if necessary, will issue the necessary medical permit. If the patient does not have a valid passport, she/he will be issued with a permit to legalise his or her stay for the duration of his or her 
hospitalisation.
Visas for people in the entertainment industry 
If you are from a country that is not exempt from South African visa requirements and do not intend to work for longer than six months, then:
  • 
You must submit an application for a visa with the relevant documentation as listed on the application form, pay the prescribed fee and you must also request for authorisation to work on the visitor’s visa at your nearest South African embassy or mission.
  • If approved, your visa will be endorsed to allow you to stay and work for a period of between 30 and 
90 days.

Types of Temporary Residence Visas 


Business Visa 

Foreigners who are contemplating investing in the South African economy by establishing a business or by investing in an existing business in the country must apply for a business visa. As an applicant, you will be required to invest a prescribed financial capital contribution.
To invest in or open a business in South Africa you will need to, along with Form BI-1738, submit a certificate issued by a chartered accountant registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants to the effect that you have: 

  • At least an amount in cash to be invested in the Republic as determined from time to time by the Minister, after consultation with the Minister of Trade and Industry or
  • At least an amount in cash and a capital contribution as determined from time to time by the Minister, is available.
  • An undertaking by the applicant that atleast 60% of the total staff complement to be employed in the operations shall be South African Citizens or permanent residents, permanently employed in various positions.
  • An undertaking to register with:
    • The South African Revenue Service
    • Unemployment Insurance Fund
    • Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries
    • Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission, where legally required and
    • Relevant professional body, board or council recognized by SAQA, where applicable.
  • A police clearance certificate from each country where you resided since the age of 18 years, including the Republic of South Africa 
A letter of recommendation from the Department of Trade and Industry regarding –
    • the feasibility of the business
    • and the contribution to the national interest of the Republic.
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate if you have travelled or intend travelling through a yellow fever endemic area 
Medical and radiology reports

The capital requirements above may be reduced or waived in respect of the following types of industries/businesses: 
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • 
Clothing and textile manufacturing
  • 
Chemicals and bio-technology
  • Agro-processing 
Metals and minerals refinement
  • 
Automotive manufacturing
  • 
Tourism 
Crafts


Business Visa applications made for existing businesses require the following documents (in addition to all those listed above) to be submitted with the temporary residence application form: 


  • Financial statements for the preceding financial year
  • The contribution to the national interest of the Republic
Work Visa 

Work visas are issued only to foreigners where South African citizens with the relevant skills are not available for appointment. These visas are issued for a set duration which varies on the type of work visa being applied for and applications are lodged through Visa Facilitation Services Centres(VFS) across the country or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.

General work Visa 

General work Visas are valid for the duration of the contract of employment or a period not exceeding 5 years.
To apply, you must submit the following documentation:
  • A duly completed application form signed by yourself, the applicant
  • 
A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • 
A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses in the Republic until the applicant receives a salary. This should be in the form of:
    • 
bank statements
    • cash available,
    • or 
travellers’ cheques
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • 
A written undertaking by the employer accepting responsibility for the costs related to the deportation of the applicant and his/ her dependent family members, should it become necessary.
  • An application for a general work visa shall be accompanied by –
    • A certificate from the Department of Labour
    • Proof of qualifications evaluated by SAQA and translated by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of the Republic
    • 
A contract of employment signed by both yourself and the employer.
    • 
Full particulars of the employer including proof of registration with the Registrar of Companies
    • 
An undertaking by the employer to inform the Director- General upon the employee no longer being in the employ of such employer or when employed in a different capacity or role.
    • 
All required documentation for a spouse and/or children if they intend to accompany you
Critcal skills work Visa 

Critical skills work Visas are issued for a period not exceeding five years) and to apply one you must submit the following:
  • 
A duly completed application form signed by yourself, the applicant.
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of 
Payment of the prescribed fee.
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act.
  • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses in the Republic until you receive a salary. This should be in the form of:
    • 
bank statements
    • cash available,
    • or 
travellers’ cheques
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return or an undertaking from the employer
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • 
A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • Proof of application for a certificate of registration with the accredited professional body, council or board recognized by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
  • Proof of evaluation of the foreign qualification/s by SAQA translated by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of the Republic.
  • Proof of employment within 12 months after obtaining a Critical skills work visa in the form of an employment contract specifying the occupation and capacity in which the foreigner shall be employed.

Intra-company Transfer Work Visa 

Occasionally, multi-national companies may decide to transfer an existing employee from a foreign branch to a branch in South Africa. These employees must apply for intra-company transfer work visa. In such cases, no proof of steps taken to obtain the services of a South African citizen/permanent residence will be required.

Intra-company transfer work Visa are issued for a period not exceeding 4 years and cannot be renewed or extended.
To apply for one you must submit: 

  • A duly completed application form signed by yourself, the applicant
  • 
A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit.
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • 
Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses in the Republic until you receive a salary. This should be in the form of: 
    • bank statements
    • cash available,
    • or 
travellers’ cheques
  • 
A cash deposit of equivalent value to a return ticket
  • 
An employment contract with the company abroad
  • A letter from the employer/company abroad confirming that the you will be transferred to a branch/affiliate company in South Africa
  • A letter from the South African company where you will work, confirming the transfer from the parent/affiliated company abroad. This letter should specify the occupation and capacity in which you will be employed and should also confirm that the maximum duration of employment will not exceed 4 years
  • An undertaking by the employer:
    • that you will leave South Africa once the 4-year period comes to an end 
confirming that your passport is valid
    • that you will be employed in the position for which the permit is issued
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • All required documentation for a spouse and/or children if they intend to accompany you
Corporate Visas 

A corporate visa allows a corporate entity (e.g. a mine group, farmer, etc) to employ a pre-determined number of skilled/semi-skilled/ unskilled workers. A corporate visa is issued for a period not exceeding three years, Applications must be made at any VFS centres or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.
To apply for a corporate work Visa the corporate entity will have to: 

  • Submit duly completed application forms signed by the applicants
  • Provide a corroborated statement demonstrating the need to employ foreign workers and the number of foreigners to be employed
  • 
A certificate by the Department of Labour
  • 
Proof of registration of the corporation with the:
    • The South African Revenue Service
    • Unemployment Insurance Fund
    • Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries
    • Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission, where legally required
  • The applicant for a corporate visa must provide proof that at least 60% of the total staff complement that are employed are citizens and permanent residents employed permanently in various positions.
  • Provide a job description and remuneration for each foreign worker
  • An undertaking to ensure that:
    • 
the foreigner workers have valid passports 
the foreign workers will be employed only in the specific positions for which the visa are issued 
the foreign workers will leave South Africa on completion of their duties
    • 
A cash deposit or guarantee for the foreign workers may be payable by the corporate entity or by the workers in the case of skilled workers
Upon receipt of the approved number of workers, the DHA will issue the corporate visa and authorization certificates for each worker in terms of regulation 18(2)(b), then the corporate entity can start recruiting workers. Once a corporate visa has been issued to the applicant (entity), the applicant may then proceed to recruit workers, the workers will then apply for Corporate worker certificates and these certificates are issued in line with the Corporate visa for 3 years, but may not exceed the validity period of the corporate visa.
Study Visas 

If you are a foreign student and wish to study in South Africa you can apply for a study visa by completing Form BI-1738. Study visas must be applied for at VFS Centre across the country near the educational institution you will be studying at or at the nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad. 
Study visas for studies at a learning institution shall be issued other than a school shall be issued for the duration of course registered for. Study visas for learning institutions defined as a school shall be valid for the duration of the study: provided the duration shall not exceed eight years at a primary school and 6 years at a secondary school.

The following documents must be submitted with the BI-1738 application form: 
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • 
Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • 
Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses during the sojourn in the Republic and to also pay for the tuition fees. This should be in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available,
    • or 
travellers’ cheques
  • Proof of medical cover
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket.
  • In the case of African students, an undertaking from the relevant government to take full responsibility of the student and to pay all costs, should it become necessary to deport the student
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • An unabridged birth certificate in the case of minors.
  • In the case of a minor, the particulars of the person in the Republic of South Africa who will act as the learner’s guardian and a letter from such person confirming guardianship
  • 
Consent from both parents for your stay in South Africa, or from the parent who has sole custody, along with proof of sole custody
  • 
An official letter from the educational institution, where you intend to study, confirming provisional acceptance and the duration of the course.
  • 
Proof of medical cover renewed annually for the period of study with a medical scheme registered in terms of the Medical Schemes Act.
  • 
If you are 18 years and older, a police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years is required. This should be submitted with the application
The holder of a study visa may conduct part-time work for a period not exceeding 20 hours per week.
The overriding consideration in processing applications for study permits are that:
  • 
No foreigner may displace a South African citizen/resident at a local educational institution
  • The student must have proof of sufficient funds to pay for day- to-day living expenses, accommodation as well as tuition fees during his/her stay in South Africa
  • The student must have adequate medical cover with a registered South African medical scheme and proof thereof
Exchange Visas 

Exchange Visas may be issued to foreigners who are not older than 25 years of age and wish to participate in cultural, economic or social exchange programmes administered by an organ of the State or a public higher educational institution in conjunction with an organ of a foreign state. Applications must be made at any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.

The validity period of an exchange permit depends on the length of the programme for which it is issued and usually does not exceed 12 months. Exchange permits cannot be renewed or extended.
Should you successfully apply for an exchange permit, you will not qualify for a temporary residence permit until you have lived outside the Republic of South Africa for at least 12 months.

If you require an exchange visas in order to take part in a programme administered or organized by a learning institution in South Africa in conjunction with a learning institution/organ of a foreign state (Section 22(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002)),
the following documents are required: 

  • A duly completed application Form BI-1738
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover your living expenses during your stay in the Republic in the form of:
    • 
bank statements
    • 
cash available,
    • or 
travellers’ cheques
  • Undertaking(s) by the host(s) in the Republic of South Africa
  • Proof of medical cover
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket or an undertaking by the relevant institution to cover costs for deportation, if necessary
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • 
A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • 
A letter from the Department of Education or a public higher educational institution in the South Africa, confirming that it is responsible for organizing/administering the programme, outlining the activities and duration thereof, as well as confirming that it will take full responsibility for the student whilst he/she is in the country
  • 
A letter from an organ of the foreign state, confirming the particulars of the student, including confirmation of the student’s registration with a tertiary educational institution abroad, as well as the date on which study will commence
  • A report from a South African organ of state or learning institution prescribed in regulation 19(3)
If you require an exchange visa in order to take part in a programme administered or organized by an organ of the state (Section 22(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002)),
you must submit the following:
  • 
A duly completed application Form BI-1738
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • 
Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • 
Proof of financial means to cover your living expenses during your stay in the Republic in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available,
    • or 
travellers’ cheques
  • Undertaking(s) by the host(s) in the Republic of South Africa
  • 
Proof of medical cover 
Medical and radiology reports
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket or an undertaking by the relevant institution to cover costs for deportation, if necessary, along with proof of a return ticket
  • A letter from the organ of state confirming the status/existence of the exchange programme.
  • A letter from the educational institution abroad confirming your enrolment or a letter from the foreign state organ confirming your participation in the programme and their awareness of the exchange programme.
  • 
Annual reports from the sponsoring body, outlining progress of the programme. In the absence of a sponsoring body, the educational institution or organ of state must submit the reports.
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
To apply for an exchange visa issued according to Section 22(b) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002) you must submit the following documentation at the nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate in your country of origin:
  • A duly completed application Form BI-1738
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • 
Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover your living expenses during your stay in the Republic in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • 
cash available,
    • or 
travellers’ cheques
  • 
Undertaking(s) by the host(s) in the Republic of South Africa
  • Proof of medical cover
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket or an undertaking by the relevant institution to cover costs for deportation, if necessary, along with proof of a return ticket
  • 
A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • A statement from the prospective employer confirming that:
    • 
the position for which the exchange permit will be issued exists
    • that your remuneration complies with labour requirements
    • 
the employer will provide for your welfare and needs whilst in its employ
    • the employer will inform the Department if you do not comply with the terms and conditions of your permit or leave the Republic
    • you will leave the country when your permit expires.

You will not qualify for a permanent residence permit within 2 years after the expiry of your exchange permit.

Retired Persons’ Visa 
Retired persons’ permits may be issued to persons who wish to retire in South Africa, provided that such persons comply with the financial requirements provided for in the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002) and its Regulations. Applications must be made at any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.
To apply for a retired persons’ visa you must submit the following documents with the Temporary Residency Permit Form BI-1738: 
  • A passport with at least 1 free page for a visa.
  • The passport must be valid for 30 days after expiry of the intended visit
  • 
2 recent passport size colour photographs
  • 
A photocopy of a valid residential permit, if applicable
  • 
Permit fees (cash or bank transfer);
  • 
A vaccination certificate (if you have travelled through or intend travelling to the yellow fever belt)
  • Proof of medical cover
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • The minimum payment to a foreigner shall be per month, the amount determined from time to time by the Minister, this amount is currently set at R37 000,00.
  • 
A minimum prescribed net worth currently set at R37 000,00.
  • 
A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • 
The spouse and dependent children accompanying the holder of a retired person visa may be issued with an appropriate visa.
Relatives’ Visa 

Relative’s Visa

A relative’s visa may be issued for the prescribed period by the Director-General to a foreigner who is a member of the immediate family of a citizen or a permanent resident, provided that such citizen or permanent resident provides the prescribed financial assurance. The financial assurance contemplated in section 18(1) of the Act shall be an amount, per person and per month, as determined from time to time by the Minister by notice in the Gazette, to be proven by means of a current salary advice or a certified bank statement not older than three months at the time of application: Provided that the financial assurance shall not be required where the South African citizen or permanent resident is a dependent child. The current amount determined by Minister is R8 500.00. Relative’s visas are issued for a maximum period of two years at a time.

Applications must be made at any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.
To apply for a relative’s visa you must submit:

A duly completed BI-1738application form
  • A passport with at least 1 free page for a visa.
  • The passport must be valid for 30 days after end of the intended visit
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act.
  • 
Payment of the prescribed fee (not applicable for the spouse or dependent children of a South African citizen/permanent resident)
  • 
A cash deposit equivalent value to a return or onward ticket (not required for the spouse or dependent children of South African citizen/permanent resident).
  • 
A statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit and proof that you are an immediate family member of a South African citizen/permanent resident (a full birth certificate for children, a marriage certificate in the case of a spouse and proof of kinship for others)
  • 
A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • Medical and radiology reports for yourself and all family members accompanying you (pregnant women and children younger than 12 years need not submit these reports)
  • Proof of South African citizenship or permanent residence of the relative in South Africa in the form of an identity document or passport
  • Proof availability of a minimum amount of R8500 per month per person for living expenses (this does not apply for a spouse or dependent minor child of a South African citizen/ permanent resident)
  • The holder of a relatives visa may not conduct work.

 

Medical Treatment Visa 


Medical Treatment visas may be issued for a maximum period of six months at a time.


To apply for a medical treatment visa, you must provide the following documentation:

  • 
A duly completed BI-1738 application form
  • A passport with at least 1 free page for a visa.
  • The passport must be valid for 30 days after end of the intended visit
  • 
Payment of the prescribed fee.
  • Proof of financial means to cover your day to day expenses as well as those of persons accompanying you (the medical permit holder), if any, in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available,
    • or 
travellers’ cheques
  • A letter from your medical practitioner or a medical institution, indicating the reasons/ necessity for treatment, the period of treatment and particulars of the treatment plans in the Republic of South Africa
  • Details of the person or institution responsible for your medical expenses and hospital fees
  • 
Should your medical scheme or employer not be liable for expenses incurred, proof of financial means or medical cover must be submitted
  • 
Proof of sufficient financial means or provision for the costs indirectly related to the treatment.
  • 
Particulars of persons accompanying you
  • A copy of a return or onward air ticket.
  • Kindly note that the Department may request a cash deposit equivalent to the value of an air ticket to the country of your origin or residence
  • 
A vaccination certificate, if required by law.
Please note that a medical permit holder may not work or apply for work while in the country.