Visa Information for South Africa 2023- How to Apply

By: Izza Kazmi

Visa Information for South Africa 2023: If you intend to work legally in South Africa, you may apply for one of three types of work visas. There are a variety of temporary work visas available for those who wish to work in South Africa. Examples include general employment, inter-company transfers, highly skilled immigrants, and business entrepreneurs.

Due to its booming economy and manufacturing sector, South Africa offers numerous employment opportunities for competent workers in a variety of fields, and more and more foreigners are finding employment there. However, there are fewer employment opportunities for unskilled and semi-skilled employees in South Africa. Thus, the government encourages eligible individuals to apply for jobs in scarce occupations; the most recent list of key skills has over 35,000 openings in 53 different categories. Work visas in South Africa, together with their requirements and application procedures, are described here.

In South Africa, there is also an emphasis on attracting entrepreneurs, especially when doing so will result in:

South Africa gets money from other countries, makes goods for export, and puts South Africans to work.
The various types of South African work visas depend on the applicant’s employment situation.

Who Needs a South African Work Visa?

Your South African work visa is your temporary residency visa. Non-citizens and permanent residents who wish to work in South Africa are frequently required to apply for a work visa. Work visas are valid for a predetermined number of years or for the duration of the employment contract. In general, visa extensions are possible. An application for a work visa is recommended if:

  • You wish to find temporary work in South Africa, with or without compensation.
  • Your ambitions include temporarily establishing or operating a business in South Africa.
  • Your international employer desires to temporarily transfer you to a branch or affiliate in South Africa.
  • You are recruited to serve temporarily as a government employee or consultant in South Africa in accordance with an intergovernmental agreement.
  • You wish to visit a South African company in which you own more than 25 percent of the voting stock.
  • You intend to acquire South African real estate for investment or rental purposes.
  • You wish to produce a feature film, documentary, or television commercial in South Africa.
  • You are a priest or religious worker volunteering to work at a South African religious organisation.
  • You aim to work as an au pair in South Africa briefly as part of a cultural exchange.
Visa Information for South Africa 2023- How to Apply
Visa Information for South Africa 2023- How to Apply

Types of South African Work Visas

Skilled Workers Visa (Highly Skilled Migrants): The South African government deems certain skills to be exceptional. Individuals with these skills and/or credentials are eligible to apply for a Critical Skills Work Visa. The applicant for this visa does not need to be employed at the time of application. Through the DHA’s list of important skills, the law specifies which abilities qualify as essential. An approved South African body (such as SAQA) must verify the applicant’s writing skills; this ensures that the applicant is competent for the crucial sector of employment.

Occasionally, a letter from the relevant professional organisation is also necessary. This can aid your application if you have a degree, have published articles, or are an expert in a specialised field. The Critical Skills Work Visa has a maximum validity period of five years and may be extended. Nevertheless, as shown below, permanent residency can be gained immediately after getting a Critical Skills Work Visa.

General Work Visa for South Africa 2023:

The most common visa type is the General Work Visa. To obtain this visa, the employer must establish that a South African cannot fulfil the post. This typically necessitates that they first advertise the position in local media to ensure that jobs are not denied to South African nationals.

Second, applicants must give evidence of their qualifications and/or experience. Their credentials must be verified by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The Department of Labor must certify, among other things, that the applicant’s salary and benefits are similar to those paid to South African natives in comparable positions.

Applicants must submit a permanent employment contract together with their application to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) or the embassy, consulate, or diplomatic post of their home country. Employers must be informed of their foreign employees’ visa status; if an employee works illegally, the corporation is also liable and may be subject to hefty DHA fines.

Corporate Visas for South Africa 2023:

A corporate visa is issued to a company, not an individual, and allows that company to employ several foreign workers within a specified time period. Employees are granted their own corporate worker certificates. This type of visa is also incredibly advantageous to businesses, as it lets them acquire foreign workers much more quickly and at a reduced cost to the DHA.

Business Visas for South Africa 2023:

You must apply for a business visa if you plan to relocate to South Africa to start a business or invest in an existing one. Applicants must invest substantial sums and provide a business plan. All applicants for a business visa must provide a letter of reference from the Department of Trade and Industry confirming the business’s viability and contribution to South Africa’s national interest. Additionally, you must demonstrate:

  • The business employs at least 60 percent South Africans; the proposed business is undesirable; the firm has the best chance of success based on a comprehensive business plan; and the business complies with existing South African company law.
  • The DHA stipulates, among other things, that you must submit Form BI-1738 and a certificate from a chartered accountant registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants stating that you have a capital contribution and/or cash of at least ZAR 5,000,000 that originated from outside South Africa.

Waivers can reduce this fee for businesses that benefit the nation, including those in information and communication technology, apparel and textile manufacturing, chemicals and biotechnology, agro-processing, metals and mineral refining, automobile manufacture, and tourism. If you intend to stay temporarily, you should apply for a work visa; if you plan to remain for an extended period, you should also consider applying for a permanent residence permit.

Intra-company Transfer Visa (ICT) for South Africa 2023:

In the modern world, employees of multinational firms routinely relocate across countries. You must apply for the intra-company transfer visa if you have been transferred to South Africa. Before relocating to the South African branch, applicants must have worked in the company’s overseas office for at least six months. The present immigration legislation prohibits extending this visa beyond its four-year validity period. The applicant may apply for a two-year extension if he or she has a valid ICT visa for two years (issued under the old act). However, these years do not count towards obtaining a South African permanent residency card.

You’ll need either a work visa or a business visa, depending on whether you’re being transferred to your company’s branch or just seconded there. If you are temporarily transferred to a South African branch or affiliate and will be directly reported to and paid by the local branch, you must get a work visa. If, however, your employer is seconding you to a South African branch or affiliate for a set purpose and duration and you will continue to report directly to and be paid by the parent company abroad, you do not need a work visa. You should instead apply for a business visa in a different nation.

Changing Employer

It is vital to know that the aforementioned work visas prohibit changing jobs. If you plan to switch jobs, you can acquire information through the Visa Facilitation Centre (VFS) or the nearest Department of Home Affairs office; your application will be subject to all of the first application’s criteria.

Where to Apply For a South African Work Visa

Foreign nationals wishing to enter South Africa must submit their visa application at:

  • the South African embassy, consulate, or diplomatic representative in their country of residence or citizenship; if none is available in their country of residence, at a South African diplomatic representative in a neighbouring or nearby foreign country; or, if they are already in South Africa, at the nearest Visa Facilitation Centre (VFS). You can receive application forms from the relevant authority in your country either online or in person.
  • Visit the DHA website for details on the prerequisites and a complete list of South African resident permits.

Extension of Visa Duration

To extend your visa, you must apply at a Visa Facilitation Centre (VFS) office in South Africa at least 90 days before its expiration date. You can also submit your application online. A charge is required when requesting an extension of a temporary residence visa; the amount for the extension is the same as the fee for the first application.

Permanent Residency Permit in South Africa:

If you possess a work visa, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency. Anyone who has held a general work visa for the last five years may apply for a permanent residence permit. You can apply immediately if you have a Critical Skills Work Visa and five years of experience in your field. Applicants with essential skills must have a permanent employment contract or an offer of permanent employment. Applications for residency permits are processed at the headquarters of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). Visas for South African relatives

If you obtain a work visa or permanent residence permit for South Africa, your spouse and children can obtain residence visas if they meet the requirements. They may also wish to apply for their own employment or study visas, either before travelling to South Africa or once they have arrived there.

To apply, you must provide evidence of your relationship (marriage or birth certificates) and your partner’s South African residency status. Read more about South African visas and permissions in Expatica’s guide.

Finding a Job in South Africa

Before relocating to South Africa, visa applicants must visit the country and participate in numerous interviews. Although it incurs an additional expense, it can provide numerous advantages. Work visas are not as difficult as they may seem. If a prospective employee is unable to accept a job offer due to visa restrictions, an immigration consultant or attorney can call or visit them to allay any concerns the employer may have.

Some companies may be concerned with the short term, seeking to hire candidates who can begin work within a month or meet with them immediately. When talking with a possible employer, it’s important to be patient and clear about the details of the visa you want.

Organizations seeking knowledge and contemplating hiring foreigners have the opportunity to do so under certain conditions. These include not being able to find a qualified South African candidate for the job, needing critical expertise that isn’t usually available in South Africa, or just needing someone from a foreign office or branch of a multinational company.

South Africa has updated a variety of restrictions governing work visa options, and while the procedure is still very tough, it is now possible for a company to hire a foreigner.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I schedule an appointment for a South African visa?

Until further notice, the online appointment system is presently suspended. For an appointment, please email us at or phone our switchboard at 073 392 4501.

Is a visa for South Africa now available?

Now, eligible passport holders can apply for visas online and receive them by email. You can also apply for a South African Visa if you are travelling for tourism (tourist visa) or business.

Where may one obtain a South African visa?

Since each application is looked at on its own, you should contact the South African mission or consulate overseas or any office of the Department of Home Affairs to find out if you need to apply for a visa. 

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