You need to ensure you’ve gathered all the necessary documents.
Included in this, which will be touched on, is a valid passport, proof that the funds have been invested in the company and remain invested, and any other relevant supporting documentation.
Once you have received your positive DTI recommendation, you’ll need to complete the relevant business visa extension application form accurately via VFS, double-checking as you go along. . It usually takes around 8-12 weeks for the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to process and deliberate on your application, but that much is always subject to change and is influenced by a variety of different factors.
The DTI recommendation is the key factor in acquiring a business visa for South Africa and is required as well for an extension application of said visa.
The requirements to receive a recommendation are as follows:
- You need to provide a foreign direct investment of ZAR 5 million
- You need to have a local employment rating sitting at a minimum of 60%
If you were unable to invest the above figure, you will have to apply for a waiver from the DHA. The DTI must recognise you and your business as being within the national interest for the DHA to approve your waiver.
Only once your DTI recommendation and the waiver have beenapproved you are able to submit your business visa renewal application. Please ensure to plan in plenty of time, especially if you are submitting a waiver application. You need to submit your renewal before the expiration date of your current application.
The application renewal process is almost the same as the initial application. The documentation is almost the same as well but with a few extra pieces of material required.
It is advised to begin the application process well in advance of your current visa’s expiration date keeping in mind that the DTI application itself roughly takes 45 working days and waivers have taken up to a year and longer recently.
The application process is relatively simple in theory.
- Gather your required documents, listed below.
- Familiarise yourself with the requirements, guidelines, and processes using whatever platform you so choose.
- Capture the application form accurately on the VFS website
- Schedule, pay the DHA feesand attend an appointment, well before your visa lapses.
- Submit, and then track your application status.
You will also be required to resubmit biometrics and updated photographs for the new visa.
The required documentation for an application for a visa extension is not dissimilar to the original list of documents required. Nonetheless, here is a list of the essential documentation required.
You will need:
- Online application form to be filled out on VFS.
- A valid passport, It must be valid for at least 30 days beyond your intended exit date.
- Proof of accommodation. You need to prove that you have a place to stay in South Africa. Sufficient examples include hotel bookings, rental agreements, or a lease that contains your name, the duration of your stay, and the details of the accommodation.
Despite the usual suspects mentioned above, there are a few additional documents that you will be required to submit, depending on the type of visa you’re looking to extend.
For extending a business visa, you will have to include the following:
- A medical report.
- A letter from the Department of Labour confirms at least 60% of your staff count is made up of South African citizens permanently employed in various positions.
- A Tax Clearance certificate from the South African Revenue Service (SARS)
- A Proof of Unemployment Insurance Fund.
- A Proof of Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries and Diseases.
- A Proof of registration with the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC)
- A Feasibility and Contribution letter from the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) and,
- A Financial statement of the preceding financial year.
You will also have to include a document signed by either a professional accountant or a chartered accountant. They will have to be registered with the South African Institute of Professional Accountants or the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants respectively.
As always, making sure your applications are concise and accurate is incredibly important. Following all the steps in the correct order and making sure to follow any additional instructions laid out to you by either the DHA or the DTI is the key to ensuring a successful application.
Ensure you apply early and leave plenty of room for the turnaround times, be on time for submissions and your appointments, and make sure you consistently track your application online.
The process of renewing your business visa doesn’t have to be difficult, nor does it have to be time-consuming.
All in all, to be prepared for anything is of the utmost importance. When working through a renewal application, make sure you’re consistently keeping up with the South African DHA, or simply contact an Immigration Specialist to retrieve the most up-to-date information possible.
Written by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor