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Immigration basically means the action of coming to live temporarily or permanently in a foreign country. In South Africa, immigration is governed by the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 with visas and permits being issued by the Department of Home Affairs.

The type of visa that an applicant should apply for is determined by the activities that they wish to undertake in South Africa. Our immigration services extend to all South African visa applications, permanent residency applications, citizenship applications, administrative appeals and related litigation.

Visa services that we offer:

s13: Study visa

This study visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to study in South Africa for a period not less than the duration of the study.

The holder of a study permit may apply for permission to work for the purposes of getting work experience as part of their studies. The holder of a study visa in a higher education institution may conduct work for up to 20 hours a week.

NB: The student must have adequate medical cover with a registered South African medical scheme and provide the proof.

s22: Exchange visa

This visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to participate in an exchange programme (cultural, economic or social), organized by a South African government institution or a South African learning institution, in conjunction with a learning institution or government institution of a foreign country.

For certain exchange programmes, a person may not apply for any other visa in South Africa until he or she has complied with the requirement of a prescribed period of physical presence in his or her foreign country or of domicile outside of South Africa, e.g. a student from the Manhattan College of music coming on a music and cultural exchange with the Department of Arts and Culture for 3 months from United States of America.

Work means; conducting any activity normally associated with the running of a specific business; or being employed or conducting activities consistent with the profession of the person, with or without remuneration or reward in South Africa.

s19(2):General work visa:

This visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to work in South Africa. General work visas are valid for either the duration of the contract of employment or a period not exceeding 5 years.

NB: An appropriate visa may also be issued to the members of such foreigner's immediate family for the duration of the general work visa.

s19(4): Critical skills visa:

This visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to work in South Africa who qualifies under the critical skills list published by the government in the link below:

http://www.dha.gov.za/images/immigration_critical_skills.pdf

It can also be applied for by academics and researchers who are doctoral/PhD graduates intending to research in the subject areas listed in the above critical skills list.

A critical skills work visa shall be issued for a period not exceeding five years.

NB: The critical visa issued allows the holder to move from one employer to another, and it is not limited to a single employer.  

NB: An appropriate visa may also be issued to the members of such foreigner's immediate family for the duration of the critical skills visa.

s21: Corporate work visa:

This visa may be issued to a corporate applicant (both locally registered and foreign corporates) to employ foreigners who may conduct work for the corporate applicant in South Africa. The permit allows a corporate entity (e.g. a mine group, farmers, etc.) to employ a pre-determined number of skilled/semi-skilled/unskilled workers.

There is no fixed validity period for such permits as the validity period is determined and stipulated by the corporate entity upon application.

A foreign person intending to take up employment with a corporate applicant must apply for a corporate worker certificate.

Once employed in terms of a corporate worker certificate, the foreigner shall work for the holder of that corporate visa only.

NB: An appropriate visa may also be issued to the members of such foreigner's immediate family for the duration of the corporate worker certificate visa.

s19(5): Intra-company transfer work visa (renewals only):

This visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to work in South Africa as an existing employee of a company who is being transferred from a foreign branch of the company to a local branch in South Africa, or a staff member of an overseas company being transferred to a subsidiary or affiliated business that is operating in South Africa.

The holder of an intra-company transfer work visa may conduct work only for the employer of that company.

The initial application must be submitted at the South African Mission (Embassy/High Commission) in the applicant’s country of origin or of permanent residence, and renewals thereafter may be submitted in South Africa.

NB: An Intra-company transfer work visa is issued for a period of 4 years and may not be renewed.

NB: An appropriate visa may also be issued to the members of such foreigner's immediate family for the duration of the Intra-company transfer work visa.

s22: Exchange Visa

This visa may be issued to a foreigner who is under 25 years of age and has received an offer to conduct work for no longer than one year through participation in an exchange programme. 

 

This visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to establish or invest in a business, or who has established or invested in a business in South Africa in which he or she may be employed. As an applicant, you will be required to invest a prescribed financial capital contribution.

The holder of a business visa may not conduct work other than work related to the business in respect of which the visa has been issued. The Director-General may reduce or waive the financial or capital contribution required for businesses which are prescribed to be in the national interest, or when so requested by the Department of Trade and Industry.

The capital contributions 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

NB: An appropriate visa may also be issued to the members of such foreigner's immediate family for the duration of the business visa.

This visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to receive medical treatment in the Republic for longer than 3 months. It may not be issued for longer than a period of 6 months at a time.

A foreigner can apply for a medical visa if they are on a valid visitors/ port of entry visa. A person on a medical treatment visa may not apply for a change of status to his or her visa while in the Republic, unless exceptional circumstances exist.

NB: A medical treatment visa does not entitle the holder to conduct work.

This visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to visit South Africa for a period not exceeding 3 months. The holder of a visitor's visa may not conduct work while in the Republic.

s11(1)(b)(i) - academic sabbatical

This visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to visit South Africa for the purposes of engaging in an academic sabbatical provided that the applicant can prove that they have sufficient available financial resources.

s11(1)(b)(ii) - voluntary or charitable activities

This visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to visit South Africa for the purposes of engaging in voluntary or charitable activities provided that the applicant can prove that they have sufficient available financial resources.

s11(1)(b)(iii) - research

This visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to visit South Africa for the purposes of engaging in research activities provided that the applicant can prove that they have sufficient available financial resources.

s11(1)(b)(iv) – any other prescribed activity 

This visa may be issued to a foreigner intending to visit South Africa for the purposes of engaging in any other prescribed activity provided that the applicant can prove that they have sufficient available financial resources.

May be issued for the following categories:  teaching at international schools; work in the film or advertisement industry; a foreign journalist seconded in South Africa by a foreign news agency; visiting professors, lecturers or academic researchers; artists; entertainers; tour leaders; and as a state witness testifying in a criminal court case.

s11(6) – This visa may be issued to a foreigner who is the spouse of a citizen or permanent resident. The applicant may be allowed to work, study or conduct business & may apply for Permanent Residency 3 months after being issued with this visitor’s visa.

s18(1)(a) – This visa may be issued to a foreigner who is a relative of a permanent resident or South African citizen, provided that such permanent resident or citizen provides proof of financial support. The holder of this visa may not conduct work while in the Republic.

s20 – This visa may be issued to a foreigner of any age who intends to retire in the Republic for a period exceeding three months, provided that the foreigner provides proof that they have the right to a pension or an irrevocable annuity or retirement account which will give such foreigner a prescribed minimum payment for the rest of his or her life from the country of his or her origin or a minimum prescribed net worth.

This visa may authorize the holder to conduct work under terms and conditions as the Director-General may deem fit to determine under the circumstances. In addition, the visa may not exceed a four-year period.

This permit may be issued by the Director-General to a corporate applicant in order to employ foreigners who may conduct work for such corporate applicant in the Republic.

These permits may be issued to individuals seeking asylum in South Africa and subsequently qualifying for refugee status as a result of being forced to flee their home countries where their lives were threatened due to factors such as their race, religion, tribe and nationality to name a few.

According to the regulations, in order for an individual to qualify for refugee status, they must be able to provide evidence that their life has been endangered in their home country.

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