It is quite common for entire families to move to South Africa once someone is offered a job in South Africa, including spouses and children, all of whom will need a long term visa to be in country.
In nearly all circumstances, a visa which is valid for a period longer than three months must be applied for in person at the South African Embassy/Consulate of the applicant's country of residency. There are, however, certain circumstances where this is not the case.
Applying for long-term visas for multiple applicants (especially small children) can often lead to logistical nightmares as it can be quite an expense for an entire family to fly and/or drive to a South African Embassy or Consulate to submit, especially if citizens of a country such as Russia or the United States of America.
In terms of section 10(6)(b) of the Immigration Act, a spouse or child is entitled to change their status in South Africa to a work or study visa if the main applicant (the parent or spouse) is the holder of a work or business visa.
Practically, what this means is that if there are children who will be studying in South Africa upon arrival, they can apply for their study visa once here as long as one of the parents is on a work or study visa, as it falls under the category of 'exceptional circumstances'. This is especially practical for children who have not yet been placed in a school in South Africa and therefore do not have the necessary documents required to apply for a study visa before they arrive in country.
Slightly less beneficial is the option for a spouse to apply for a work or study visa in South Africa upon arrival. It should be noted that if the spouse does not intend to work or study, then any long term visa they wish to have will need to be applied for from abroad and the exceptional circumstances will not apply.
If your family is moving to South Africa with you and you are unsure of what visa to apply for or where from, please contact us and receive your free initial assessment.