There are a variety of different factors that can and will affect the processing times for your business visa applications, both for new applications and renewals and sometimes you will not even be provided with a reason.
Let’s break them down.
The average processing time for a South African business visa overseas is 8 to 12 weeks. Naturally, there are certain circumstances that could alter this timing, and this doesn’t include the processing time for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The processing time of the DTI application is roughly 45 working days.
Visa processes can be very unpredictable and the number of visa applications in South Africa changes, more often than not, seasonally.
What’s important to note is that it is out of your hands, and all you can hope to do is track your application consistently.
Both the DHA and the DTI are involved in the application process and the majority of the process is with the DTI application, as their letter of recommendation is imperative to the process.
The extensive DTI procedures take up to 45 working days, as the DTI committee will review all the documents submitted and do a thorough assessment before they can issue a positive recommendation.
Following the recommendation, you can move on to dealing with the Department of Home Affairs.
If you are submitting your application abroad, you can expect approximately 8 to 12 weeks for an outcome. This increases to 2 to 6 months if you are submitting within South Africa
(note: this is only possible if you already hold a valid visa for South Africa).
The most important thing you can do regarding your business visa application is to start early. The sooner you begin your process, the quicker it will be over. The entire process can be extremely time-consuming, so be aware of the processing times and the required documentation, as some of that may take a while to acquire.
Make sure to gather all the necessary documentation and ensure you have all the correct information. Try making a checklist as well of everything you need and organise them systematically so as to streamline your own application process.
Expect to spend time on the process as a whole and put aside some of that time to do research. Explore the options and requirements of the specific visas available to you and stay updated on the most up-to-date requirements and regulations surrounding those visas.
Be prepared, and don’t be afraid to seek guidance and support. There are experts readily available to assist you in your visa application process, and reaching out can make all the difference.
There is no formula for nor a single answer to the question of how long an application takes. Every scenario is different and unique to the business in question, and you can even wait up to 8 months for your business visa to be approved from start to finish.
Regardless, ensure you’re consistently tracking your application and keeping up to date with the latest notices and announcements from the DHA and the DTI.
Written by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor