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Investor Visa in South Africa

Investor Visa in South Africa

The investor visa in South Africa is essentially a permanent residence permit offered to a foreign national who intends to open a business in the country.

The entrepreneur visa in South Africa is part of the types of permits that allow the applicant to obtain residency on grounds other than a direct residence.

Direct residence is awarded to foreign nationals after having lawfully lived in South Africa for a number of years, and based on their work permits.

The investor visa in South Africa offers a faster route to residency, however, it is subject to a number of conditions, like all other categories of permits.

Our lawyers in South Africa can help foreign entrepreneurs apply for business visa.

Moreover, we can also provide legal guidance on the steps needed to open a company in the country in 2024.

Investor visa in South Africa requirements and features

A business visa in South Africa is designed for investors who wish to open a company in the country.

This type of visa also allows the holder (referred to as the main applicant) to bring his family members. For this purpose, the spouse or other members of the family apply for their visa at the same time as the main applicant.

The following documents are required when making an application for an investor visa in South Africa:

  • filled in application form and appointment letter;
  • application fee payment;
  • valid and original passport;
  • valid temporary stay visa;
  • marriage/divorce certificate relevant to the status of the applicant;
  • proof of financial support;
  • original police clearance record;
  • radiological and medical report, yellow fever vaccination certificate in some cases;
  • a certificate issued by a chartered accountant attesting that at least R5million in cash is made available;
  • letter of recommendation from the Department of Trade and Ministry as to the feasibility of the business;
  • statement to register with the South African Revenue Service and the Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries and Diseases;
  • proof of registration with the relevant professional body or board, according to the South African Qualifications Authority, as applicable.

As far as the investment in the business and the fees are concerned, the following are relevant:

  • the investment amount is at least R5 million;
  • at least 60% of all the permanent staff of the company are to be citizens or permanent residents of South Africa;
  • the fee for the application is R 2,870 (can be subject to change).

Foreign nationals can also apply for an investor visa in South Africa when they invest in an existing company as a partner (or when they have already done so). The following documents are also required in this case:

  • proof of having invested in the said business;
  • the partnership agreement;
  • confirmation letter from the Department of Labour that at least 60% of the employees in the business are citizens or permanent residents, irrespective of their position in the company.

Please keep in mind that the list of documents above is not an exhaustive one and additional documents may be required on a case-by-case basis when you apply in 2024.

The authorities reserve the right to ask for clarifications or additional documents, as needed. If these are required, our lawyers in South Africa can assist you.

Documents will need to be translated when they are not issued by foreign authorities in one of the official languages in South Africa (English is one of these languages).

The documents are offered in original or certified copies. The translation needs to be performed by a sworn English translator.

Company formation in South Africa is subject to several requirements that apply to all new business owners, not only investors. Issues such as the business name, the incorporation documents and the submission of the application for registration with the authorities (the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, for example) can be fully assisted by our team.

Businesses not suitable for the investor visa in South Africa

The following types of businesses are not taken into account for the business visa in South Africa:

  • companies in the exotic entertainment industry;
  • businesses in the hospitality and security industries;
  • fast-food businesses and their franchises;
  • companies in the cosmetic and beauty industry;
  • second-hand motor vehicle import businesses, which import these in order to export them to other markets.

For those foreign nationals who are already in the country, our team can provide details on how to apply for permanent residence.

South Africa’s population

According to South Africa’s 2022 Census there were 2,4 million international migrants living in the country. This is just above 3% of the total population (estimated at more than 62 million inhabitants). Other data shows the following:

  • many immigrants come from the Southern African Development Community Region;
  • the top countries from which foreign nationals come to South Africa are Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, and the United Kingdom; these have remained the top countries since 2011;
  • out of the country’s total population, 51,5% were women and 48,5% were men;
  • Gauteng was the most populous region, with 15 million inhabitants; the second largest was KwaZulu-Natal, with 12,4 million people.

Our team also assists foreign nationals who wish to apply for a different type of visa in 2024 or a South Africa residence permit. Depending on one’s situation, the general work visa, the critical work visa (for professionals that comply with the critical skills list published in the Government Gazette), or the study visa can represent viable options. You can reach out to us for more information on these visas.

Our lawyers specializing in immigration to South Africa can not only answer questions about business visas, they will also guide applicants who apply for other types of residence permits or those who need assistance when applying for a business residence permit together with their family members. We recommend getting in touch with our team as soon as you decide to apply.

Contact our law firm in South Africa for more information about the entrepreneur visa in South Africa, as well as other types of residence permits.