Visa & permit types


We are here to guide you as to which type of visa or permit is best suited for you and your family.
Click on any of the visa and permit types below to find out more or contact us today for assistance. 

Temporary residence visa

Temporary residence visas are usually valid between three months and up to five years. The validity of a visa can depend on the purpose of the visa, the maximum validity of the relevant category as well your personal circumstances. If you need a temporary residence visa to be renewed or changed from within South Africa, please chat to us for more details.

Holiday visa

If you are simply planning a short stay in South Africa, without any intention of working or practicing any other activity for which a residence visa is required, you may qualify for a visitor’s visa.

Depending on your citizenship, you may need to apply at your local South African embassy or consulate before leaving for South Africa. However, most European countries and the UK, USA and Australia are exempt from this, and tourists will be issued with a visitor’s visa on their arrival, as long as they can present a valid return ticket. To check if your country is on the list of those that must apply for a visa beforehand, click here.

A visitor’s visa is issued for between 30 and 90 days, depending on your country of origin.
A once-off extension of a visitor’s visa is possible, for a maximum period of 90 days. The application for an extension will need to be submitted 60 days before your visitor’s visa expires. Different rules apply for those whose visas were issued for fewer than 90 days.

In some cases, it is possible to get an extended visitor’s visa for long-term stays of up to three years. However, this is not possible for leisure purposes. Please see long-term work authorisations for more information.

Medical visa

Should you wish to come to South Africa for medical treatment, or if you are in South Africa already, requiring medical care, for a duration of more than three months, you are required to apply for a medical visa. This visa is issued for a maximum period of six months, it can however be extended.

Work visas

As in many countries, South Africa regulates immigration so as to only allow employment for foreigners where its own citizens with the necessary skills are not available for appointment. However, foreign workers are allowed in skill shortage areas or to fulfil certain specialised corporate requirements. 

Work visas are issued for a set duration that varies depending on the type of work visa being applied for. Applications are lodged with the Department of Home Affairs, through the VFS offices across the country or at the nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.
Work visas are issued in different sub-categories. STARZMANN CONSULTING will assess your detailed circumstances to help you decide which category you should apply for, so we can maximise the probability of a successful and timeous work visa.

General work visa

If you do not meet the criteria of any of the other work visa categories, you may need to apply for a general work visa. According to the South African Immigration Act, the applicant for a general work visa has to provide a conditional offer of employment from a South African employer. The employer also has to provide documentation confirming that all efforts to employ South African citizens or permanent residents for the specific role were unsuccessful. This is done by the employer through the Department of Labour, who will then issue a recommendation to the Department of Home Affairs.

Corporate worker certificate for employees of corporate visa holders

If the company you work for has a corporate visa, you can apply for a corporate worker certificate, which is much simpler and has fewer requirements than a normal work visa. Companies use corporate visas if they need to recruit a number of foreign staff over a set time period, which helps them reduce costs and speed up the work authorisation application process.

Critical skills work visa

Introduced in the new Immigration Amendment Act & Regulations of June 2014, the critical skills work visa aims to attract much-needed skills to South Africa. For a visa in this category, your qualifications and skills must feature on the critical skills list, which is based on your educational background, and then further broken down into occupations. To view the critical skills list, click here.

Intra-company transfer work visa

This is the visa for you if you are being transferred from a subsidiary, branch or affiliated company based outside South Africa, to a subsidiary, branch or affiliated company here in South Africa.

The visa will allow you to relocate to South Africa and undertake employment for a maximum duration of four years, and only for the specified employer. The purpose of the visa is to transfer skills.

Visas for short-term work and/or business activities

This type of visa may be issued to foreigners who are unable to apply for a work visa. It allows you to conduct work for a maximum period of 90 days, with an option to renew it once for an additional 90 days, with or without remuneration. The authorisation to work must be applied for prior to entering South Africa.

Work visas for spouses or life partners of South African citizens and/or permanent residence holders

South African immigration law provides simplified regulations for spouses or life partners of South African citizens or permanent residence holders, with regards to working, studying, starting a business or pursuing any other activity. Chat to us for more information.

Exchange visa

The purpose of this temporary residence visa is intercultural, economic or social exchange, as well as for international work exchange for applicants under the age of 25 years.

Long-term work authorisations

Extended visitor’s visas for long-term stays of up to three years can be obtained in individual cases, for example, if the purpose of your stay is an academic sabbatical, for research or voluntary and charitable activities. It may also be granted if you teach at international schools, work in the film industry,  are a seconded journalist, a visiting professor or lecturer, an artist or entertainer or a tour leader. This, however, must be considered on individual assessment of each application.

Treaty visa

A treaty visa is based on the bilateral or multilateral international agreement of which the Republic of South Africa is a party. Applicants for this type of visa are usually part of a programme or project (i.e. social, political or economic projects). The validity period of this visa, as well as the relevant permission, depends on the agreement with the individual province(s). It is important for you to seek advice for your individual situation at an early stage.

Retired person’s visa

A retired person's visa is granted to immigrants wishing to spend their retirement years in South Africa without undertaking work, studies or continuing to run a business. However, in some cases, you may be authorised to work if you can motivate extensively as to what value you will add. 

A retired person's visa requires you to be able to support yourself financially with proof of a monthly pension or other source of income such as a retirement annuity or assets generating gains. Your financial status has to be presented with the application.

Business visa

A business visa in South Africa can be applied for by immigrants seeking temporary and/or permanent residency in order to set up and operate their own business. 

The business can be a start-up, a purchased company or a partnership. In addition to standard criteria, and amongst others, a capital equivalent or cash investment into the business from funds abroad needs to be proven, as well as the requirement that 60% of your workforce will be South African citizens or permanent residency holders.

Investment requirements can be reduced within reason, and if so recommended by the Department of Trade and Industry. If you plan to invest less than ZAR 5 million, an additional waiver application would need to be submitted before you submit your business visa application.

Study visa

Study visas are necessary from school-going age until completing one’s tertiary education at a recognised learning institution. The visa will be issued for the specific institution you attend and the course you have applied for. If you study at a higher educational institution, you may also work for up to 20 hours a week.

Spousal and life partner visa

As a spouse or life partner of a South African citizen or permanent residence holder, you will be able to reside in South Africa, as well as conduct any activity such as studying, working, owning or operating a business. 

If you are married, you will qualify for such a visa immediately. A life partner must be able to prove cohabitation for a period of two years prior to submitting an application for this visa. 

Chat to us to find out more. 

Relative’s visa

In order to successfully apply for a relative’s visa, you will need to be either a first kin or second kin relative of either a South African citizen or permanent residence holder. Some first kin relatives may apply for both temporary residence and permanent residence (relative’s visa or relative's permit) while second kin may only apply for temporary residence, which is the relative’s visa. Various conditions apply in addition to the standard requirements. 

Accompanying family

Holders of a temporary residence visa in most categories can be accompanied by family members (spouses, dependants and/or minors) who would qualify for a long-term visa to accompany the holder of a long-term temporary residence visa. Please note that children of school-going age must apply for a study visa.

Corporate visa

This is a visa which is granted to corporates to make their task of hiring a number of foreign staff over a set period of time more streamlined. This type of visa helps to reduce costs and speed up the work authorisation application process, while the corporate worker certificate is generally used for project-based work.

Among a large number of requirements to be fulfilled, the corporate applicant has to show that there is an insufficient number of South African citizens or permanent resident holders capable of filling certain roles within the organisation. STARZMANN CONSULTING is an expert consultancy for corporate visa applications and has successfully guided various corporate clients through this application process.

Volunteer visa

The volunteer visa is issued to individuals who wish to be employed, without remuneration, by a charity or non-profit organisation in South Africa, or who want to enter the country to perform voluntary work. Amongst other conditions, volunteer visa applicants must provide proof that they will be able to support themselves for the duration of their stay in South Africa.

Permanent residence permits

Permanent residence in South Africa allows you maximum flexibility with regards to entry and exit, as well as regarding any activities followed in South Africa. In some categories or instances, certain conditions are attached to the permanent residence permits issued. 

The status of permanent resident does not affect your citizenship. The permanent resident can obtain a South African identity book endorsed as ‘non-citizen’, but not a South African passport.

Please note that taking up permanent residence may in some instances lead to the loss of certain tax advantages. We therefore recommend seeking advice from a tax consultant prior to submitting an application for permanent residence in South Africa.

Financially independent permits

If you can successfully prove assets above a certain threshold (currently ZAR 12 million), you can apply in this category, effectively resulting in a permanent residence permit for South Africa to be issued. A detailed financial breakdown of the applicant's net worth is required, amongst other conditions.

Permanent residence based on continuous work visa

As an employee, you may qualify to apply for a permanent residence permit, provided you have already had a work visa for a minimum of five years and can produce an employment contract which is valid for an unlimited period.

Permanent residence – Family and partners

If you are a first kin relative (biological or adopted child, biological and adoptive parent, or step-parent) of a South African citizen or permanent residence holder, you may qualify to apply for a permanent residence permit.

As a spouse of a South African citizen or permanent residence holder, you may qualify to apply for a permanent residence permit if it can be proven that your relationship has existed for a minimum of five years.

Permanent residence – Extraordinary skills

A permanent residence permit based on extraordinary skills can be issued if you have the requisite skills found in the critical skills category. A proof of post-qualification experience of the last five years must also be provided, in the form of testimonials from previous employers and a comprehensive curriculum vitae. 

In addition, a letter of motivation is required indicating that the critical skills you possess will be to the benefit of the South African environment in which you intend to operate.

However, if you studied in South Africa towards a degree in a field that is considered a critical skill, you are eligible to apply for permanent residence without providing proof of five years of post-graduate experience.

Permanent residence – Business

A business permit in South Africa can be applied for by those seeking temporary and permanent residence to set up and operate their own business.

The business can be a start-up, a purchased company or a partnership. In addition to standard criteria, and amongst others, a capital equivalent or cash investment into the business from funds abroad needs to be proven, as well as the requirement that 60% of your workforce will be South African citizens or permanent residency holders.

In some cases, investment requirements can be reduced within reason, if so recommended by the Department of Trade and Industry. If you plan to invest less than ZAR5 million, an additional waiver application would need to be submitted before you apply for your business permit.

Permanent residence – Refugee

You will need proof of five years’ continuous refugee status in the Republic of South Africa. You must also provide a certification from the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs that you will remain a refugee indefinitely.

Permanent residence – Retired person

If you are already retired and/or are intending to retire in South Africa, you may qualify to apply for a retired person’s permit. 

When applying for this permit, you must provide proof of a right to a pension  or an irrevocable annuity or retirement account. Alternatively, you will need to provide proof of assets realising a monthly determined amount. The requirements as by law meet those of the retired person’s visa; however, there are significant differences in the application process and processing timeline.

Proof of permanent residence

Persons who have previously been granted permanent residence for South Africa, subsequently left the country and now wish to take up residence again, might want to find out if their permanent residence is still valid. A permanent residence status might have lapsed should you have been absent for too long. Please contact us for more information regarding this.
If you have lost your original permanent residence certificate, you won't be reissued with a new permanent residence certificate but can apply for a confirmation of your permanent residence status, which will replace the initial certificate.


We assist with both reviewing and appealing rejected applications. This must be done 10 working days after receiving the outcome, so please contact us as soon as possible to get started on your case.


Some regulated requirements for temporary and permanent residence applications can be waived by the Department of Home Affairs. An application for a waiver request must be submitted prior to the submission of an application. 

Provided the waiver is approved, the application itself can then be submitted without needing to fulfil some of the criteria.

Overstay appeal

If you have overstayed your visa in South Africa, you will be declared undesirable when leaving South Africa, which will result in being banned from re-entering for up to 5 years. Depending on the circumstances, however, if you have a pending application for a visa and have not received the outcome, you may appeal the decision. We can assist you with the application.

Get in touch

Please fill in the form below, and we will get back to you within one business day.

Select arrow
Select arrow