The South African Immigration Act provides a number of options for how family members of either South African citizens, permanent residents or long term visa holder can join their relatives in South Africa.
In short, these options are the following:
The Spousal Visa falls under the Relatives Visa category, and allows a foreign person that is legally married in terms of a civil marriage union to a South African citizen or permanent resident to apply for a Spousal Visa.
In the event of the person being married to the South African citizen or permanent resident for a 5 year period then the person may also apply for permanent residence. Permanent residence applications have extremely long processing times, and it is therefore highly advisable that the person should first apply for a Spousal Visa, and thereafter for permanent residency. Due to issues with monitoring the progress of the permanent residency application from an overseas country it is also strongly advised that the permanent residence application should be submitted from within South Africa.
Spousal visas are issued for a 2 year period, and can be renewed.
Life Partner Visa:
The Life Partner Visa is applicable where the foreign person has been in a long time permanent relationship with the South African citizen or permanent resident, but they are not married. The primary criteria to illustrate the long term relationship are the following:
The same rule applies as per the Spousal Visa in that once the relationship has existed for a 5 year period then the foreigner may apply for permanent residence.
Both the Spousal Visa and Life Partner Visa allow for the foreigner to apply to have the visa endorsed so that they may either work, operate their own business or study in South Africa.
Both the Spousal Visa and Life Partner Visa as described above fall into the Relatives Visa category, but the Relatives Visa also applies to other persons that fall within the first or second degree of kinship to a South African citizen or permanent resident.
Those that fall within the first degree of kinship include the following:
Those that fall within the second degree of kinship include the following:
Accompanying Spouse or Dependent Visa:
This category is applicable to those that are accompanying the holders of long term temporary residence visas. Accordingly, this category would typically be used by the spouses and children of persons coming to work in South Africa as well as the spouses of persons coming to live in South Africa for retirement purposes.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with regards to any of the above visa options.
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