Temporary Residency as a means of Immigrating to South Africa
When making the decision to immigrate to South Africa, the most important decision to initially make is what type of visa or permit you will be applying for.
Temporary residency is the normal route for immigration into South Africa and the period a temporary residency permit is issued for can range from 6 months to 5 years. The period of the temporary residency depends upon each type of visa or permit, issued under the temporary category, as well as Home Affairs’s decision on how long to issue it for.
Types of Temporary Residency in South Africa
Temporary residency can be applied for under the following visa / permit types:
Work Visa / Permit – this area has 4 sub-sections to it:
- General work permit – for employees who do not fit under the below 3 categories.
- Intra-Company Transfer – for employees who are being moved from their existing employer outside of South Africa to a branch or closely associated company within South Africa.
- Critical skills – this visa is based on a list of critical skills for South Africa. Foreigners whose occupations and qualifications appear on the list, may be eligible to apply.
- Individuals under a corporate permit – the employer needs to hold a corporate permit for individuals to make an application under this category. More information on corporate permits here.
It should be noted that there are often confusion around whether life partners or spouses of South African citizens or permanent residency holders need a work permit or not. Whilst permission must be given by the Department of Home Affairs, this takes the form of an endorsement, not a work permit. This is still a complex area of immigration but it bypasses many of the requirements needed for a work permit.
Life Partner/ Spouses permit / visa – For foreign partner and spouses
Business visa / permit – For applicants who wish to commence and operate their own business.
Retired visa / permit – For applicants who wish to immigrate to South Africa and retire.
Study Visas – Both for students wishing to continue their studies in South Africa and children who are accompanying adults and are of an age whereby they can still study.
Relatives visa / permits – Applications are accepted from migrants who have first-kin or second-kin relationships with South African citizens or permanent residency holders.