It can be quite common for business visa holders to want to immigrate and move their entire families, including spouses and children to South Africa. All of them will of course require a long-term visa to be allowed into the country.
If you and your dependents are looking to immigrate, there are a variety of different categories of visas available. The general work visa, study visa, and permanent resident holders, are all eligible for working endorsements to legally work in South Africa.
Spouses and children are welcome to accompany a business visa holder, but naturally must apply and be accepted for the appropriate visas. If your children are over the age of 6 you must ensure they are given study visas, so they can go to school.
With all visa applications, there are certain eligibility requirements for the application process. Individuals eligible for dependent status can include:
- Spouse (husband or wife) in a legally recognised marriage or partnership.
- Minor children (under the age of 18) or financially dependent adult children.
As the main applicant, i.e. the one applying for the business visa, you must be able to demonstrate the ability to financially sustain yourself and your dependents during your stay in South Africa, which can include bank statements, financial statements, or any other adequate evidence.
You must provide a police clearance certificate for you and your dependents (those over 18) from your home country, or any other country you have lived in for more than 12 months during the past 5 year.
You must also provide proof of relationship for all your dependents. That can include a marriage certificate, spousal affidavits and birth certificates for your children. If this includes adult children, you may be required to demonstrate their financial dependence on you.
Making sure you have all the necessary documentation for the application process is imperative well ahead of time as some documents will take a while to process. Here’s a list of all the documentation required for the spouse application process.
- Application form
- Valid Passport: valid for at least 30 after the date you leave South Africa.
- Yellow Fever Certificate: not necessary if you are only travelling in direct transit through the area.
- Police Clearance Certificate for those over 18 years old
- Medical Report: used to ensure that the applicant is in good health and not a threat to public health.
- Marriage Certificate
- Spousal Affidavit: provides proof that you live together with your spouse and share financial responsibilities.
- Divorce Decree: only necessary if you have been divorced.
- Full or Specific Parental Rights: only necessary if you have children from a previous relationship.
- Death Certificate: only relevant if your spouse is deceased.
- Proof of Adoption: only where applicable.
- Legal Separation Order: provided under exceptional circumstances.
- Financial Means: refers to 3 months’ bank statements, that provide proof that you have the financial means to support yourself and your family in South Africa.
Once you have all documents together, you can submit your families’ application together with yours, or after yours has already been processed and issued.
The processing time for a spousal visa can vary depending on the place of submission.
At the embassies abroad, it usually takes 8-12 weeks but within South Africa it can take several months unfortunately.
Application Process for Children (Study Visa)
If the child is old enough to attend school (grade 1), then they must apply for a study visa.
As such, they will require several documents, the first and most important being an acceptance letter from a South African educational institution. Whether it’s a school, college, or university, it must meet the requirements of the study visa. It is very important that the learning institution is registered with the Department of Eduction.
Next comes the standard set of documents including a valid passport with two blank pages, a birth certificate, a completed study visa application form, proof of sufficient funds to cover the tuition fees and living expenses, and of course the medical report.
For children over 18, you must also acquire a police clearance certificate so as to demonstrate the child’s character and lack of a criminal record. Please note that the children will either have to be covered by your international travel insurance or have a South African medical aid.
Finally, after submitting the application and paying the relevant fee, you will wait for the study visa to be processed, the timeframe of which can vary. In some cases, your child may be required to attend an interview at the consulate or embassy.
Once your child has received their visa, they may enter South Africa for the purpose of studying.
When you apply for visas for your dependents, there are several things to consider.
Ensure you’re applying for the right visa, and that you’re working through the correct application process. All the required documents for the specific visa they’re applying for must be collected timeously.
You should also ensure that there is evidence that you can support your dependents financially during their stay in South Africa.
Applying for a business visa is a time-consuming venture, and the process can be exacerbated when dependents such as spouses and children are added into the mix.
Just remember to keep calm, and don’t make any mistakes in any of your application forms. Consider hiring a professional to consult and assist in the process to relieve some of the stress during the process.
Written by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor