Temporary Residency in 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.

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