Temporary Residency in South Africa

Temporary Residence Permit South Africa

To live in South Africa as a temporary resident, it is crucial to apply for a temporary residency visa. All temporary residency visas vary in duration but can be for a period of three months up to five years, depending on the purpose of the visit. There is a closed list of categories for temporary residency and so an applicant must carefully consider both what they are eligible for and what they intend to do in South Africa.

An initial application for a temporary residency visa to reside in South Africa as a person other than a holiday must be done from an applicant’s country of citizenship or residency, so it is important to make plans to submit before coming to South Africa and to allow for sufficient time for an application to be adjudicated by the South African embassy abroad.

There are exceptions to applying abroad, which include: 1) an applicant is obtaining a medical treatment visa, 2) is the child or spouse of a general work visa/business visa holder or 3) an applicant has a waiver which gives them permission to change their status in the country.

If an applicant already has temporary residency for South Africa, they will be entitled to renew or change their visa to another category from within South Africa, barring a few exceptions. Such an application must be submitted 60 days prior to the expiration of the current visa, otherwise additional documentation to explain why a submission was not made timeously will need to also be submitted.

Choosing a category of temporary residency can be challenging, but we pride ourselves in being able to give personalised advice on which categories are suitable to an applicant and to take the applicant through the process – whether it is a first-time submission, renewal or change of status.

Visa Categories:

  • Visitors
    "In terms of South African immigration law, there are various categories of visitor visas extending from one month to three years, such as: short term work visas, volunteer visas and research visas." Read more here
  • Volunteer
    "Legally a person cannot volunteer in South Africa on a tourist visa. A volunteer visa is needed for any person wishing to come to South Africa to volunteer - whether it is for 3 days, three years or anything in between!" Read more here
  • Accompanying Spouse/Minor to a Work Visa holder
    "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." Read more here
  • Spousal
  • Short-Term Work Assignment
    "A short-term work visa is a great solution when an employer is desperately in need of an employee for a special task that should not take any longer than 90 days." Read more here
  • Study/Research
    "South Africa is a leading destination for continuing studies. Any study visa must be applied for from abroad, unless you are linked to a spouse or parent who is entering South Africa on a work visa." Read more here
  • Medical treatment
    "A medical treatment visa is a great category for an applicant who is coming to South Africa for treatment of an illness, which covers a broad category of treatments." Read more here
  • Business
    "A business visa is the ideal solution for an entrepreneur who wishes to expand or create business opportunity within South Africa." Read more here
  • Relatives
    "A foreigner who has a relative in South Africa that is either South African or a South African permanent resident may be eligible for temporary and/or permanent residency." Read more here
  • Critical Skills
    "A critical skills visa is ideal for an individual who has both academic and work experience which fall under a set list of critical skills issued by the Department of Home Affairs." Read more here
  • Intra-Company
  • Corporate
  • Retirement
    "Retirement is best for an individual who wishes to reside in South Africa but has no intention or need to work whilst here. Even though labelled 'retirement', this category is available to any age person, if they have the finances (and comply with all other requirements)." Read more here
  • Exchange
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