The Free State Development Corporation will assist investors in applying for work permits.
In terms of Section II of the VISA Act, in order to gain admission to South Africa any person (other than a South African citizen) must be in possession of a valid visa unless provisionally exempted from the visa requirements. Applications for visas must be submitted to the nearest/most convenient South African diplomatic or consular representative along with the required visa fees. Visa applications and passports may be forwarded by courier service or mail. A minimum of ten (10) days are required to process visas.
- The outcome of the application should be awaited and no travel arrangements must be made prior to the application.
- The processing period is a maximum of ten days
- A non-fundable processing fee will be charged.
- The application should be made for the full period of your intended duration of visit as extensions are only granted under exceptional circumstances.
This is a multiple purpose visa. The condition for which the visa is applied for prescribes the type of visa one would apply for.
A business visa may be granted to any person who intends proceeding to the Republic of South Africa for the following purposes:
- To promote commerce, trade or industry between South African organizations and organizations abroad
- To explore investment opportunities
- To hold business discussions or attend business meetings
- To visit a business enterprise as shareholder or director
- To conduct business studies for surveys with a view to promoting business of business interest in South Africa
Other visa types include:
- Medical Visa
- Re-entry visa
- Diplomatic, official and courtesy visas
Applying for Work Permits
You should enquire at your nearest Department of Home Affairs Office in your area if you are already in South Africa, or at your nearest South African Embassy, High Commissioner or Consulate, if you are applying from outside of South Africa.
Department of Home Affairs
Sub Directorate: Temporary Residence
Private Bag X114
Telephone + 27 (0) 12 314 8911
Fax + 27 (0) 12 328 3908
There are limited employment opportunities in South Africa, particularly for the unskilled and semi-skilled workers. Work permit applications will therefore not normally be approved if you fall into this category as there are already sufficient South Africans to fill these positions. Companies wishing to bring in workers from abroad will have to satisfy the Department of Home Affairs that they are unable to source the required personnel locally.
Who Should Apply for a Work Permit
Work permits are a form of temporary residence permit. They are issued for a minimum of one year, after which , on application, they may be extended. You should apply for a work permit if:
- You wish to take up temporary employment in South Africa
- You wish to set up or run a business temporarily in South Africa
- You are a key employee of a foreign company that wants to transfer you temporarily to an affiliate of the company based in South Africa.
- You have been recruited to work temporarily in South Africa as an employee by the government in terms of an intergovernmental agreement.
- You wish to visit a company in South in which you have more than 25% share
- You wish to acquire fixed assets in South Africa for speculation or rent
- You wish to visit south Africa to produce a feature film, documentary or TV commercial
- You are a priest or religious workers volunteering to work temporarily at a religious institution in South Africa.
- You are an au pair intending to work temporarily in South Africa.
Who should apply for a work seekers permit
If you have one or more job offers in South Africa, and you wish to visit the country to attend interviews with your prospective employee, you should apply for a work seekers permit.
Work permits and permanent residence
If you have a valid work permit you can apply for permanent residence but you will have to submit proof of a satisfactory work record of employment in the country.
If you have a work permit and wish to bring your family to South Africa
Your wife/husband and children will need visas in order to accompany you to South Africa (except if you hold passports of the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland including Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Mann and Jersey). In these instances you will be issued with temporary permits on arrival in South Africa. They can also apply for temporary residence permits, either before departing your country or when you arrive in South Africa.
If you are working for an international company with an office in South Africa
If your company has requested that you work in the South Africa office, whether you will need a work permit or a business visa will depend on whether you are being transferred or merely seconded to your company’s SA branch.
- If your company is transferring you temporarily to a SA branch or affiliate and you will be on the payroll of the local branch, then you will need a work permit
- If your company is seconding you to a SA branch or affiliate for a specific purpose but you will still report directly and be on the payroll of the parent company, then you should apply while still abroad for a business visa.
If you want to stay in South Africa for a longer period than your permit or change the purpose of my visit.
Work permits are issued for a maximum period of one year. It is advisable to request the a permit for the full duration of your intended visit when you first arrive in the country, as extensions are subject to additional fees. If you wish to stay for an extended period, you must keep your work permit/residence permit valid by applying for an extension from the Home Affairs Office in South Africa.
This should be done at least eight weeks before your permit expires otherwise it cannot be extended and you will be obliged to leave the country and re-enter from abroad. You should also be specific about the purpose of your visit as it cannot be changed once you arrive in South Africa.
If you wish to change employers once you are in South Africa.
This is not possible if you were allowed to enter South Africa as a contract worker, or on the understanding that you be employed by a designated organisation for a specified period. You will need to submit a full application to your nearest Home Affairs Office in South Africa, subject to all the requirements of the specific application.
If you intend to set up and run a business in SA.
Setting up a business is usually an expensive, long-term endeavour. If you are only in South Africa on a temporary, short term basis, then you should apply for a work permit. If however you intend to relocate permanently to South Africa you should consider applying for permanent residence. You can do this either before entering the country or you could enter SA on a work permit and then apply for permanent residence.
This information serves to act as a guide only. Requirements for South Africa are subject to change and each application will be treated on an individual basis. It is therefore advisable to check the requirements while you are still in your home country.
If you need a re-entry visa
If you are in South Africa on a valid work or work seekers permit, and you leave the country temporarily, you and your dependents will not require a re-entry visa, provided your permit does not expire while you are out of the country. This is applicable even if you permit may have “single entry” endorsed on it.
If you are intending to set up and operate a business in South Africa.
Setting up a business is usually an expensive, long term endeavour. If you are only intending to stay in South Africa on a temporary, short term basis, then you should apply for a work permit. Otherwise you should consider applying for a permanent residence. You can apply for a work permit prior to arriving in South Africa and thereafter apply for a work permit.