Business Permits

Foreigners who are contemplating investing in the South African economy by establishing a business or by investing in an existing business in the country must apply for a business permit. As an applicant, you will be required to invest a prescribed financial capital contribution.

To invest in or open a business in South Africa you will need to, along with Form BI-1738, submit a certificate issued by a chartered accountant registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants to the effect that you have:

  • At least R2,5m (two and a half million rands) in cash
  • A capital contribution of at least R2.5m or
  • At least R2m in cash and a capital contribution of at least R500 000 that originated from abroad and is available to be invested as part of the book value of the business
  • A business plan outlining the feasibility of the business, both in the long and the short-term
  • Proof or an undertaking that at least five citizens or permanent residents shall be permanently employed
  • An undertaking to register with South African Revenue Services
  • Proof of registration with the relevant trade body, board or council (where applicable)
  • A police clearance certificate from each country where you resided since the age of 18 years, including the Republic of South Africa
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate if you have travelled or intend travelling through a yellow fever endemic area
  • A repatriation deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket to your country of origin/permanent residence, which is refundable after your final departure or after you have acquired a permanent residence permit
  • Medical and radiology reports

 

The capital requirements above may be reduced or waived in respect of the following types of industries/businesses:

  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Clothing and textile manufacturing
  • Chemicals and bio-technology
  • Agro-processing
  • Metals and minerals refinement
  • Automotive manufacturing
  • Tourism
  • Crafts

 

Business permit applications made for existing businesses require the following documents (in addition to all those listed above) to be submitted with the temporary residence application form:

  • Financial statements for the preceding financial year
  • A partnership agreement

 

Work Permits

Work permits are issued only to foreigners where South African citizens with the relevant skills are not available for appointment. These permits are open-ended and applications must be made at any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.

 

Quota work permits

For a Quota work permit, you must submit the following documents along with the BI-1738application form:

  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit.
  • Payment of the prescribed fee.
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses during the sojourn in the Republic. This should be in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available, or
    • travellers’ cheques
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years

 

You must also:

  • Lodge a cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return or onward ticket
  • Submit certification from the South African Qualifications Authority confirming the necessary qualifications for the occupation
  • Submit confirmation of the required work experience for the occupation.
  • Register with the relevant trade body, if required by law
  • Submit all required documentation for a spouse and/or children if they intend to accompany you

Within 90 days of admission, the holder of a quota permit shall submit to the Director- General confirmation of having secured employment within the category or class contemplated in section 19(1) of the Act and every 12 months thereafter, confirmation of continued employment within that category or class.

 

General work permits

General work permits are valid for the duration of the contract of employment. To apply, you must submit the following documentation:

  • A duly completed application form signed by yourself, the applicant
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses in the Republic until the applicant receives a salary. This should be in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available, or
    • travellers’ cheques
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • Lodge a cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return or an undertaking from the employer
  • A contract of employment signed by both yourself and the employer.
  • Original proof of qualifications and evaluation thereof by the South African Qualifications Authority.
  • If the qualifications are in a foreign language, you must have the documents translated into one of the official languages by a sworn translator (and provide proof of registration of the translator)
  • The original advertisement of the post/position as it appeared in the national printed media. The advertisement must comply with regulation 16(5):
    • Reflect the full particulars of the relevant newspaper or magazine as well as date on which the advertisement was published
    • Stipulate the minimum qualifications and experience required to fill the position
    • Clearly define the position and the duties to be performed
    • Measure at least 60mm by 60mm.
    • State the closing date for applications
    • Should not be older than 3 months at the time of application for a work permit. This period is calculated from the closing date of advert
  • Proof that all short-listed candidates have been interviewed in terms of regulation 16(4)(d)
  • A letter of motivation from the employer as required in regulation 16(4)(d)
  • A letter of registration, if required by a law, from the relevant professional body/board/ council or undertake to register with the relevant professional body, board or council in the Republic of South Africa, where applicable.
  • Full particulars of the employer including proof of registration with the Registrar of Companies
  • A certificate by the Department of Labour or an extract from the database of a benchmarking organisation stipulating the salary earned by employees occupying similar positions in the Republic of South Africa
  • All required documentation for a spouse and/or children if they intend to accompany you

A general work permit shall lapse if within 6 months of issuance and if every year thereafter the holder fails to submit satisfactory proof to the Director-General that he/she is still employed along with proof of the terms and conditions of the job, and the job description.

 

Exceptional skills work permits

Exceptional skills work permits are valid for three years only and to apply one you must submit the following:

  • A duly completed application form signed by yourself, the applicant.
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit.
  • Payment of the prescribed fee.
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act.
  • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses in the Republic until you receive a salary. This should be in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available, or
    • travellers’ cheques
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return or an undertaking from the employer
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • A letter from a foreign or South African organ of State, or from an established South African academic, cultural or business body, confirming the applicant’s exceptional skills or qualifications.
  • Testimonials from previous employers, if applicable, and a comprehensive curriculum vitae
  • Other proof to substantiate the exceptional skills or qualifications, such as publications and testimonials
  • A letter of motivation indicating that your exceptional skills will be to the benefit of the South African environment in which you intend to operate.
  • All required documentation for a spouse and/or children if they intend to accompany you

 

Intra-company Transfer Work Permits

Occasionally, multi-national companies may decide to transfer an existing employee from a foreign branch to a branch in South Africa. These employees must apply for intra-company transfer work permits. In such cases, no proof of steps taken to obtain the services of a South African citizen/permanent residence will be required.

 

Intra-company transfer work permits are valid for 2 years only and cannot be renewed or extended. To apply for one you must submit:

  • A duly completed application form signed by yourself, the applicant
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit.
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses in the Republic until you receive a salary. This should be in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available, or
    • travellers’ cheques
  • A cash deposit of equivalent value to a return ticket
  • An employment contract with the company abroad
  • A letter from the employer/company abroad confirming that the you will be transferred to a branch/affiliate company in South Africa
  • A letter from the South African company where you will work, confirming the transfer from the parent/affiliated company abroad. This letter should specify the occupation and capacity in which you will be employed and should also confirm that the maximum duration of employment will not exceed 2 years
  • An undertaking by the employer:
    • that you will leave South Africa once the 2-year period comes to an end
    • confirming that your passport is valid
    • that you will be employed in the position for which the permit is issued
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • All required documentation for a spouse and/or children if they intend to accompany you

 

Corporate Permits

A corporate permit allows a corporate entity (e.g. a mine group, farmer, etc) to employ a pre-determined number of skilled/semi-skilled/unskilled workers. There is no fixed validity period for such permits as the validity period is determined and stipulated by the corporate entity upon application. Applications must be made at any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.

 

To apply for a corporate permit the corporate entity will have to:

  • Submit duly completed application forms signed by the applicants
  • Provide a corroborated statement demonstrating the need to employ foreign workers and the number of foreigners to be employed
  • Provide a job description and remuneration for each foreign worker
  • An undertaking to ensure that:
    • the foreigner workers have valid passports
    • the foreign workers will be employed only in the specific positions for which the permits are issued
    • the foreign workers will leave South Africa on completion of their duties
  • A cash deposit or guarantee for the foreign workers may be payable by the corporate entity or by the workers in the case of skilled workers

Before the permit can be issued, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has to refer the application to the Department of Labour as well as the Department of Trade and Industry, who will then approve the number of foreign workers who can be employed by the entity making the application. Upon receipt of the approved number of workers, the DHA will issue the corporate permit and authorisation certificates for each worker in terms of regulation 18(2)(b), then the corporate entity can start recruiting workers.

Unskilled workers will need temporary residence permits to enter the country. Whilst skilled workers will need to apply for general work permits, although they do not have to comply with all the requirements as prescribed above (for general work permits).

 

Study Permits

If you are a foreign student and wish to study in South Africa you can apply for a Student Permit by completingForm BI-1738. Study permits must be applied for at any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs near the educational institution you will be studying at or at the nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.

Study permits are valid for the duration of the course for which they are issued, alternatively 36 months for school and 24 months for other institutions.

 

The following documents must be submitted with the BI-1738 application form:

  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover envisaged living expenses during the sojourn in the Republic and to also pay for the tuition fees. This should be in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available, or
    • travellers’ cheques
  • Proof of medical cover
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket. In the case of African students, an undertaking from the relevant government to take full responsibility of the student and to pay all costs, should it become necessary to deport the student
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • In the case of a minor, the particulars of the person in the Republic of South Africa who will act as the learner’s guardian and a letter from such person confirming guardianship
  • Consent from both parents for your stay in South Africa, or from the parent who has sole custody, along with proof of sole custody
  • An official letter from the educational institution, where you intend to study, confirming provisional acceptance and the duration of the course.
  • If you are 18 years and older, a police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years is required. This should be submitted with the application or within three months of submission

 

As a holder of a study permit you may also apply for permission to work for the purposes of getting work experience, as part of your studies to obtain a diploma or degree by submitting:

  • an offer to do practical training
  • consent from the educational institution
  • proof that your are still a registered student

 

The Department’s consent to get practical training as part of your studies is issued free of charge provided that you are a registered student and that your study permit remains valid for the entire duration of the training period.

Alternatively, as a foreigner studying at a higher educational institution with a valid study permit, you may work part-time for no more than 20 hours per week. However, you may not work during academic vacations.

 

The overriding consideration in processing applications for study permits are that:

  • No foreigner may displace a South African citizen/resident at a local educational institution
  • The student must have proof of sufficient funds to pay for day-to-day living expenses, accommodation as well as tuition fees during his/her stay in South Africa
  • The student must have adequate medical cover with a registered South African medical scheme and proof thereof

 

Exchange Permits

Exchange permits may be issued to foreigners who are not older than 25 years of age and wish to participate in cultural, economic or social exchange programmes administered by an organ of the State or a public higher educational institution in conjunction with an organ of a foreign state. Applications must be made at any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.

The validity period of an exchange permit depends on the length of the programme for which it is issued and usually does not exceed 12 months. Exchange permits can not be renewed or extended.

Should you successfully apply for an exchange permit, you will not qualify for a temporary residence permit until you have lived outside the Republic of South Africa for at least 12 months.

 

If you require an exchange permit in order to take part in a programme administered or organized by a learning institution in South Africa in conjunction with a learning institution/organ of a foreign state (Section 22(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002)), the following documents are required:

  • A duly completed application Form BI-1738
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover your living expenses during your stay in the Republic in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available, or
    • travellers’ cheques
  • Undertaking(s) by the host(s) in the Republic of South Africa
  • Proof of medical cover
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket or an undertaking by the relevant institution to cover costs for deportation, if necessary
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • A letter from the Department of Education or a public higher educational institution in the South Africa, confirming that it is responsible for organizing/administering the programme, outlining the activities and duration thereof, as well as confirming that it will take full responsibility for the student whilst he/she is in the country
  • A letter from an organ of the foreign state, confirming the particulars of the student, including confirmation of the student’s registration with a tertiary educational institution abroad, as well as the date on which study will commence
  • A report from a South African organ of state or learning institution prescribed in regulation 19(3)

 

If you require an exchange permit in order to take part in a programme administered or organized by an organ of the state (Section 22(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002)), you must submit the following:

  • A duly completed application Form BI-1738
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover your living expenses during your stay in the Republic in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available, or
    • travellers’ cheques
  • Undertaking(s) by the host(s) in the Republic of South Africa
  • Proof of medical cover
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket or an undertaking by the relevant institution to cover costs for deportation, if necessary, along with proof of a return ticket
  • A letter from the organ of state confirming the status/existence of the exchange programme.
  • A letter from the educational institution abroad confirming your enrolment or a letter from the foreign state organ confirming your participation in the programme and their awareness of the exchange programme.
  • Annual reports from the sponsoring body, outlining progress of the programme. In the absence of a sponsoring body, the educational institution or organ of state must submit the reports.
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years

 

To apply for an exchange permit issued according to Section 22(b) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002) you must submit the following documentation at the nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate in your country of origin:

  • A duly completed application Form BI-1738
  • A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of intended visit
  • Payment of the prescribed fee
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act
  • Proof of financial means to cover your living expenses during your stay in the Republic in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available, or
    • travellers’ cheques
  • Undertaking(s) by the host(s) in the Republic of South Africa
  • Proof of medical cover
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • A cash deposit equivalent to the value of a return ticket or an undertaking by the relevant institution to cover costs for deportation, if necessary, along with proof of a return ticket
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • A statement from the prospective employer confirming that:
    • the position for which the exchange permit will be issued exists
    • the your remuneration complies with labour requirements
    • the employer will provide for your welfare and needs whilst in its employ
    • the employer will inform the Department if you do not comply with the terms and conditions of your permit or leave the Republic
    • you will leave the country when your permit expires.

You will not qualify for a permanent residence permit within 2 years after the expiry of your exchange permit.

 

Retired Persons’ Permits

Retired persons’ permits may be issued to persons who wish to retire in South Africa, provided that such persons comply with the financial requirements provided for in the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002) and its Regulations. Applications must be made at any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.

 

To apply for a retired persons’ permit you must submit the following documents with the Temporary Residency Permit Form BI-1738:

  • A passport with at least 1 free page for a visa. The passport must be valid for 30 days after expiry of the intended visit
  • 2 recent passport size colour photographs
  • A photocopy of a valid residential permit, if applicable
  • Permit fees (cash or bank transfer);
  • A vaccination certificate (if you have travelled through or intend travelling to the yellow fever belt)
  • Proof of medical cover
  • Medical and radiology reports
  • Proof of financial statements in the form of
    • Bank statements
    • Salary advices
    • Undertaking by the host (s) in South Africa
    • Cash available (including credit cards or traveller’s cheques to cover envisaged living expenses while in South Africa)
  • If travelling by air, you must be in possession of a return or onward ticket, or proof of sufficient funds, or lodge a cash deposit (to be advised by Department of Home Affairs foreign office)
  • A written statement and documentation confirming purpose and duration of visit
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years

 

If you intend to be accompanied by a spouse or children, then the following additional documents must be attached to the Temporary Residency Application form:

  • Medical certificates for all family members accompanying you
  • Unabridged birth certificates
  • A marriage certificate, where applicable
  • Proof of a spousal relationship
  • A copy of the marriage certificate or affidavit (partner)
  • A divorce decree or proof of legal separation if applicable
  • Proof of custody or adoption of a minor(s), if applicable
  • A death certificate in respect of a late spouse, if applicable
  • Consent from the parent(s) of a minor(s), if applicable
  • Proof of the following:
    • Pension income of a minimum of R20 000 per month, or a life-long irrevocable retirement annuity / retirement account with the equivalent value of R20 000 per month
    • A net worth not less than R12 million from which at least R15 000 per month will be paid out for living expenses

 

Relatives’ Permits

As an immediate family member of a South African citizen or permanent resident you may be issued a relative's permit once the financial means as contemplated in the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002) have been complied with. Relative’s permits are valid for a minimum period of 24 months and may be extended.

Applications must be made at any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad. For a spouse and/or a dependent child of a South African citizen or permanent resident the permit is issued free of charge, whilst there is a fee for other relatives wishing to join their family members in South Africa.

 

To apply for a relative’s permit you must submit:

  • A duly completed BI-1738application form
  • A passport with at least 1 free page for a visa. The passport must be valid for 30 days after end of the intended visit
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act.
  • Payment of the prescribed fee (not applicable for the spouse or dependent children of a South African citizen/permanent resident)
  • A cash deposit equivalent value to a return or onward ticket (not required for the spouse or dependent children of South African citizen/permanent resident).
  • A statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit and proof that you are an immediate family member of a South African citizen/permanent resident (a full birth certificate for children, a marriage certificate in the case of a spouse and proof of kinship for others)
  • A police clearance certificate from each country in which you resided for 12 months or longer since the age of 18 years
  • Medical and radiology reports for yourself and all family members accompanying you (pregnant women and children younger than 12 years need not submit these reports)
  • Proof of South African citizenship or permanent residence of the relative in South Africa in the form of an identity document or passport
  • Proof availability of a minimum amount of R5 000 per month per person for living expenses (this does not apply for a spouse or dependent minor child of a South African citizen/permanent resident)
  • If applying at a regional office, you must be in possession of and submit a valid temporary residence permit, in terms of Regulation 7(6)

 

Medical Treatment Permits

Medical Treatment permits are valid for only 6months and applications must be made at any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs or nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad.

 

To apply for a medical treatment permit, you must provide the following documentation:

  • A duly completed BI-1738 application form
  • A passport with at least 1 free page for a visa. The passport must be valid for 30 days after end of the intended visit
  • Payment of the prescribed fee.
  • Proof of financial means to cover your day to day expenses as well as those of persons accompanying you (the medical permit holder), if any, in the form of:
    • bank statements
    • cash available, or
    • travellers’ cheques
  • A letter from your medical practitioner or a medical institution, indicating the reasons/ necessity for treatment, the period of treatment and particulars of the treatment plans in the Republic of South Africa
  • Details of the person or institution responsible for your medical expenses and hospital fees
  • Should your medical scheme or employer not be liable for expenses incurred, proof of financial means or medical cover must be submitted
  • Particulars of persons accompanying you
  • A copy of a return or onward air ticket. Kindly note that the Department may request a cash deposit equivalent to the value of an air ticket to the country of your origin or residence
  • A vaccination certificate, if required by law.
  • If applying at a regional office, you must be in possession of and submit a valid temporary residence permit, in terms of Regulation 7(6)

Please note that a medical permit holder may not work or apply for work while in the country.









We are in the process of updating our contact details on this website. WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE's contacts has been updated

Forms will no longer be available from this website.

Please visit your nearest Home Affairs office to obtain 

ORIGINAL APPLICATION FORMS 

necessary information.

We apologise for any inconvenience.


Provincial Managers Contacts:

Eastern Cape

Gcinile Mabulu 
043 642 2178
082 887 5563
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Free State

Bonakele Mayekiso
051 430 1130
082 800 1755
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Gauteng
Albert Matsaung
011 242 9003
082 8879 293
albert.matsaung@dha.gov.za


KwaZulu-Natal
Nosipho Shandu
033 845 5042
079 145 2274
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Limpopo
F.N. Motsitsi
015 287 2800/ 30

082 662 2673
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Mpumalanga
Robert Zitha
082 801 4528
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


North-West
Irene Mantlhasi
018 397 9919
082 880 7804
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Northern Cape
Abednego Mvula
053 807 6700 /6701
082 803 3792
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Western Cape
Yusuf Simons
021 488 1400
082 809 2142
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Acting DMO:Cape Metro
Mr Ignitius Mokgele
079 690 7722
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DMO: Cape Winelands
&West Coast

Ms Elaine Ngoie
082 887 8779
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DMO: Central Karoo,
Eden & Overberg

Mr Mosiuoa Ngaka
072 621 5047
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.