Moving to a new country entails more than just packing your bags and boarding a plane. If you are contemplating a more permanent move to South Africa, applying for the correct visa should be at the top of your list of priorities.

If you are merely visiting South Africa, a Visitor’s Visa will be required and this type of visa is relatively easy to obtain. However, should you fall head over heels for the beauty of South Africa or a South African, you will require a longer-term visa.

A Visitor’s Visa affords you only three months in the country, although this can be extended, on application, by a maximum of three months. Unless you are comfortable with flying back and forth between your country of residence and South Africa on a regular basis, you will have to apply for a longer-term visa, or even permanent residency.

These longer-term visas each has its own specific set of requirements and hoops to jump through.

A Business Visa or Permit, for instance, can be applied for if you want to invest, or already have invested, in a business in South Africa. One of the requirements is that you invest R5 million in the business, either in the form of cash or new machinery or equipment. This is often enough to frighten off many entrepreneurs.

However, you can apply to the Department of Trade and Industry to have this requirement waived, if you can show that your business employs South Africans, creates work and will benefit the South African economy.

Alternatively, if you are in the fortunate position of already having a nest egg, you can apply for a Retirement Visa. This can be either on a temporary or permanent basis. Naturally, the requirements for permanent residency are stricter than those for a temporary permit. For instance, in order to obtain permanent residency based on retirement, you will need to prove that your monthly income is guaranteed life-long and is not capital-based. Capital-based income can be relied upon if applying for a temporary residency permit.

Should you fall in love, with a South African citizen and decide to get married, you will be able to apply for a Spousal Visa and, eventually, permanent residency as a result of your union.

Whether you want to retire in South Africa, work or start a business here, we will be able to assist you with the correct visa or permanent residency application.

In addition to this, our team of commercial and tax attorneys will assist you in complying with South Africa’s regulations in order to ensure that your business can thrive, you are tax compliant and that your financial immigration and exchange control issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently.


Lili Von Geyso |Senior Associate


Areas of Expertise: Litigation, Deceased Estates, Contractual Law, Labour Law, Notarial, Immigration Law



Henning Pieterse | Partner


Areas of Expertise: Corporate & Commercial Law



Erlise Loots | Partner


Areas of Expertise: Tax (Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Tax Directives re Capital Gains Withholding Taxes, Tax Clearances, and Estate Duty), Curatorships, Trusts, Estates, Exchange Control (involving remittance of funds abroad, formal emigrations, foreign investment allowances and the endorsement of title deeds), Non-resident services and advice

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)