Application and Renewal: Business Visa

Transparent and accessible information on the Business Visa in South Africa

Email a Business Visa Specialist

Qualifying for the South African Business Visa

The South African Business Visa is a necessary visa for investors that want to actively work in South Africa or having banking access to the business they invested in. The business visa permits you to establish or invest in a business in South Africa and can also allow you to apply for Permanent Residence in South Africa, should you choose.

To qualify for a business visa for South Africa, you need to either start a business or invest in an existing one. You cannot apply for a business visa solely because you own property in South Africa. Unlike investor visas in other countries, the South African business visa has specific requirements unique to the country.

In order to qualify for a business visa, you must fulfill two main criteria:

  • Make a foreign direct investment of at least 5 million South African Rand.(aprox. $266,000.00 or €242,000.00)
  • Ensure that 60 percent of your business’s employment is for South African citizens and permanent residency holders.

A South African Business Visa is issued in accordance with Section 15 of the South African Immigration Act.
A South African Business Visa covers a B2B, B2C, or partnership with a South African citizen.

Please note: Foreign business owners in South Africa must prove that they have a minimum of R5 million (ZAR) available for personal investment from abroad (or if already invested, proof that the funds were transferred from abroad must be provided)
A waiver to reduce this amount is presented in the below “Steps of Application”

Business Visa - Consultation Package

Need help with a Business Visa issue?
Let us assess your Immigration Case
in a 1-on-1 meeting with our Expert

Business Visa - Application Package

We can complete assist you with your visa application on your behalf,step by step, taking the stress and hassle out of this process.

South Africa Business Visa Requirements, Forms & Documentation

All Required Application Forms can be found at our Immigration Resources

The first step to obtain a Business Visa is applying for a recommendation from the Department of Trade and Industry

Documents Required for the DTI application:

    A business proposal covering the following:

  • Personal details about the applicant
  • Description of the business
  • Applicant’s expertise
  • Services
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitive advantage
  • Management and employees
  • Financial projections
  • Contribution to national interest
  • Feasibility of the business
  • Other relevant information
  • A Chartered Accountant certificate
  • Proof or undertaking that:

  • At least 60% of the total staff complement will be South African citizens or permanent residents if you’re opening a new business
  • The business is registered with the South African Revenue Service
  • The business is correctly registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund, Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries and Diseases, Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (where legally required), and any relevant professional body, board, or council recognised by SAQA in terms of section 13(1)(i) of the National Qualifications Framework Act
  • A written Partnership Agreement if the business is or will become a partnership
  • Copies of qualifications and a CV or resume
  • A motivation letter stating the reasons for the waiver request for the R5 million requirement, should it be applicable
  • Audited financial statements of the company for the previous two years if you are going to invest in an existing business in South Africa

Once you have obtained the DTI recommendation, you either apply for a waiver (if necessary) or straight for the business visa. Due to the long processing times of the waiver applications, we highly recommend to avoid the waiver process where possible.

Documents Required for a Business Visa Application

  • Correctly and accurately filled Application form: DHA-1738
  • Valid passport of all the applicants
  • If you apply from outside of South Africa, passport photos (2x)
  • Police clearance certificate of all applicants older than 18 years, for all countries where persons have lived for 12 months and longer during the past 5 years
  • Medical report of all applicants
  • Provide a residential address of the intended place of stay within the Republic and the business,
  • Residential or physical address of his or her host in the Republic
  • Copy of flight reservations
  • Marriage certificate or Proof of life-partner relationship (or any previous divorce decrees)
  • Yellow fever certificate of all applicants, in case of having travelled through or from a yellow fever area
  • Business proposal submitted to the DTI
  • A Chartered Accountant certificate
  • Waiver (in case this was applied for)
Only certain types of businesses allow you to have reduced the capital requirements (R5 Million).
Industries that benefit from this relinquishment include:
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Clothing and textile manufacturing
  • Chemicals and biotechnology
  • Agri-processing
  • Metals and minerals refinement
  • Automotive manufacturing
  • Tourism
  • Crafts

Business Visa Application or Renewal Fees

The Department of Home Affairs charges R1,520 for the submission of a South African Business Visa.
If you apply for a waiver to reduce the capital requirement, the fee for submission in-country at VFS is R1,550.

The cost for a South African South African Business Visa Application is a combination of the below factors:

  • DTI Application
  • Chartered Accountant Certificate
  • Waiver application (where applicable)
  • Business visa application

Your best chance of successful application or renewal is to contact one of our expert immigration consultants to discuss the fees and costs relevant to your application.
Our in-house South African Business Visa Team, is considered as the best possible authority on this process.
They give you up-to-date information on costs based on current trends and circumstances.

Summary on applying for a South African Business Visa

Step 1: Application for a Recommendation from the DTI

In order to apply for a Business Visa, you need a positive recommendation from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
If your investment is below 5 million Rand, the DTI decides whether you can go ahead and apply for a waiver and move on with your application.

The DTI application is submitted via email (For attention: Mr F Maluleke Enquiries: , processed by IBN Immigration Solutions on behalf of our clients. It usually takes around 45 working days. A Chartered Accountant Certificate is required to confirm the availability of funds.

IBN Immigration Solutions handles the application and communication with the DTI.

Step 2: Waiver Application (if applicable)

If your investment is below 5 million Rand, you can apply for a waiver. Waiver applications are applied and submitted after a positive DTI recommendation. Waivers can be requested at the South African mission abroad or through VFS in South Africa.

Waiver processing times vary. It’s advisable to invest at least 2.5 million Rand to enhance chances of success.

Step 3: Business Visa Application

After obtaining the DTI recommendation (and possibly a waiver), apply for the Business Visa. Submit your application at the South African embassy/mission in your country of origin, residence, or in South Africa if eligible.

Processing Times for a South African Business Visa

The processing times vary between places of submission and are usually 8-12 weeks.
The business visa is issued for a maximum duration of three years and if the investment has not taken place at the time of application, it needs to be invested within the first two years and proof needs to be shown.
The invested money cannot be taken out of the business again up until 5 years after obtaining Permanent Residency or when decided to cancel the Business Visa.

Renewing/Extending a South African Business Visa

A renewal of the Business Visa can be done in South Africa, all steps shown, have to be followed again:

Frequently Asked Questions

Business investment visas in South Africa are initially valid for up to three years. After this period, you can apply for a three-year renewal.

Spouses and children can apply along side the main applicant, they have to submit their own applications.

Children joining primary school, will have to apply for a study visa.

Business visa applicants can apply for Permanent Residency based on their own business and investment. This is a new application and again follows the same steps as for temporary residence. DTI application (waiver if applicable) and business visa application.

The DTI does a site visit for Permanent Residence applications. We therefore highly recommend to only apply for Permanent Residence if the investment has already been done and the business is already running smoothly. If Permanent Residence is issued, the money invested still needs to remain in the company for at least another 2 years. Proof of this needs to be submitted to the Department of Home Affairs and is part of the condition of the Permanent Residency.

Spouses (for 5 years and longer) and children can apply for Permanent Residency alongside the main application. They have to all submit their own applications.

Related Posts

Permanent Residency for Business Visa Holders: Requirements and Process

Permanent Residency for Business Visa Holders: Requirements and Process

When you acquire your South African business visa, you will be able to apply for permanent residency. Read this article for more information.

Read More
Including Dependents: Spouses and Children on a Business Visa

Including Dependents: Spouses and Children on a Business Visa

It can be common for business visa holders to want to immigrate and move their families; learn how to do that with our informative article.

Read More
Renewal Process: Extending Your Business Visa in South Africa

Renewal Process: Extending Your Business Visa in South Africa

It is possible to extend your existing Business Visa. In this article, we explain the steps needed for the renewal process.

Read More