The Business Visa is applicable to those that are looking to either establish a business or invest in an existing business in South Africa. It is also applicable to those looking to purchase a business outright. The requirements for a Business Visa essentially result in the process being a step two process.
The first step involves an application to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The application to the DTI addresses the issue whether the investment will be successful, and whether it will be to the benefit of the national interest of South Africa. The primary requirement for this application is providing a Business Case which addresses the above two points.
Other matters included in the application to the DTI will be proof that the applicant has the required minimum investment amount that will be invested in South Africa, as well as undertakings that the applicant will ensure that a specific percentage of his labour force will be South African citizens. The required minimum investment amount is presently set at R 5 million.
With regard to the minimum investment amount, specified industry-types might have a reduced or waived requirements. These industries include the following Clothing and Textile Manufacturing, Tourism Crafts, Biotechnology and Chemicals, Information and Communication Technology, Automotive Manufacturing and Agro-processing of Metals and Minerals. In such cases where the applicant wishes to invest less than the required minimum amount then a Waiver application must be submitted motivating this.
When the DTI has assessed the application they will issue a Recommendation Letter either supporting or rejecting the investment. If the DTI should not support provide a Letter of positive Recommendation then it is not worth proceeding further with the application as the Department of Home Affairs places significant reliance on the DTI decision.
Once the DTI has recommended the investment an application for a Business Visa can then be submitted with the Department of Home Affairs. Various other documentation will then be included in this application.
It should be remembered that the Business Visa is designed specifically for the applicant that wishes to work in their own business in South Africa. If an applicant wishes to expand their business to South Africa, but doesn’t wish to work in the business himself or herself, but rather wishes to transfer employees from their existing overseas business to their South African business then other options can be considered.
A Business Visa is granted for 3 years which can be renewed, and the applicant may also apply for Permanent Residency.
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