South Africa - Family & Partner - Spouse Visa (Marriage Visa)
This visa route is available to people in either heterosexual or same sex relationships and can be applied for as either a temporary residence permit or a permanent residence permit depending upon the length of the marriage or relationship in question.
Immigration services for South Africa are varied and for those wishing to migrate, a range of permits both temporary and permanent are available.
South African visas cater for a range of different immigrants based upon the proposed length of time in the country and the purpose of the visit.
For candidates who intend to travel to South Africa on a short-term basis, either as a tourist or to undertake such activities as visiting friends and family, a straightforward South African visitor visa, often known as a travel visa or tourist visa will be required.
For those wishing to spend a longer period of time in the country, either to work, set up a business or study in South Africa a range of temporary residence permits are available along with permanent residence permits for those seeking to relocate permanently.
The benefit of migrating to South Africa through a spousal immigration visa of this kind is that candidates are assessed purely upon their marital status or the duration of their relationship. Unlike South African business visas no investment needs to be made and where South African work permits require an offer of employment to be in place from a South African company, no such requirement is in place for those applying to join their spouse or partner.
Where candidates apply for temporary residence permits successful applicants will be permitted to live and work in South Africa with permission to seek and undertake employment as they choose.
In addition, candidates applying for permanent residence will receive the benefits afforded to permanent South Africa residents, which encompass many of those enjoyed by South African citizens with some exceptions, such as the right to vote.
As discussed, the South Africa immigration structure makes no distinction between heterosexual and same sex relationships and married partners or life partners may apply equally.
In the case of married applicants who wish to immigrate to South Africa through this route on a temporary permit, it must be demonstrated that the marriage in question exists, i.e. through the presentation of a marriage certificate.
Where applicants are in a life relationship, i.e. a permanent arrangement, an affidavit must be signed by both the applicant and the sponsoring partner, which confirms that the parties are in a permanent relationship which excludes all others.
In addition, life relationships will need to be supported by documentary evidence such as evidence of co-habitation and mutual financial arrangements such as utility bills, loans and bank accounts.
Spouse Visas and Life-Partner Visas
Where candidates wish to apply for spouse immigration or life-partner immigration as a permanent option, the key additional requirement is that the applicant must have been married to or in a life relationship with the sponsoring South African permanent resident or South African citizen for a period of approximately a year.
In addition, where candidates immigrating to South Africa are granted permanent residency, the applicant will need to demonstrate two years after the permit is issued that the relationship is still in existence. At this stage, a permanent residentâs permit can be revoked if evidence of this is not satisfactorily supplied.
After a total of five years, the permit will no longer be subject to the continued existence of the relationship and cannot be withdrawn because of a change in marital or relationship status.
Due to the fact that a permanent residency permit can take up to two years to issue a common practice is to apply for temporary residence whilst simultaneously applying for permanent resident status.
Working in South Africa
Applying for a South African spousal visa whether through the temporary or permanent route will in most cases result in the applicantâs permanent settling in South Africa. As a result, the South African spouse visa makes provision for applicants to seek and engage in employment in the country. Successful applicants may start a business, undertake a job or study in South Africa once an endorsement is granted from the Department of Home Affairs.