Are you wondering how your spouse can come to South Africa? Then we are ready to bet that you are either a Saffa returning home or a foreigner coming here to work. The short answer? A spouse visa for South Africa.
However, as with all immigration issues, it’s not as easy as it seems.
Spouse visa or accompanying spouse visa?
You see, if you are a South African and your spouse is a foreigner, the correct visa is the spouse visa according to the section on relatives of the Immigration Act.
However, if you are a foreigner who comes to South Africa to work or do any other activity such as studying or doing business, the appropriate visa is an accompanying spouse visa.
We have dealt with the related spouse visa previously, so today we will focus on the spouse visa. Some of the key points we will address are:
- The difference between a spouse visa and a spouse permit.
- What Comes First – Marriage or Visa?
- The requirements.
- Can you submit within South Africa?
- Can my spouse do an activity in South Africa?
- How long does it take to process?
We also answer a question you may not want to ask yourself – what happens when the marriage ends? Before we get there, however, let’s address all of the other questions on our list:
What is the difference between a spouse visa and a spouse permit?
The term visa and approval is often used interchangeably and can be confusing when trying to decipher the most appropriate visa application. In simple terms, the term “visa” refers to a temporary stay and the term “permit” to a permanent stay.
A spouse visa for South Africa is issued for 2 to 3 years and can be applied for as soon as you are married. A spouse’s license for South Africa can be applied for once you and your spouse have been married for 5 years. Once permanent residence has been issued, it is considered permanent residence in South Africa.
What Comes First – Marriage or Visa?
For those who still want to get married, we are often asked which comes first – the wedding or the visa?
The main requirement for a spouse visa is proof of civil marriage based on a marriage certificate. Hence the visa application comes after marriage.
If you are considering an alternative visa option for your foreign partner before getting married, a life partner visa can be applied for. As a couple, you must show the authorities that you have been in a relationship for at least two years. There are two main types of evidence that authorities would like to see:
- Proof of living together; and
- Proof of shared financial responsibility.
In addition, many couples inquire about the marriage process in South Africa with the intention of subsequently applying for a spouse visa. You can Click here for further insight and information in this regard.
What are the requirements for a South African spouse visa?
The Home Office (DHA) wants to make sure that your marriage is legitimate. This is their main concern.
How do you prove that your marriage is legitimate? The DHA asks for a valid marriage certificate, which results in a civil marriage. It doesn’t have to be a South African marriage certificate. It can be a marriage certificate from around the world, provided that it is registered as a civil union with the relevant government authorities.
We will be happy to discuss the remaining requirements with you once the decision has been made to apply for a spouse visa.
Can the spouse visa be submitted within South Africa?
Guideline 7 of 2019 was adopted in July 2019. This means that spouses, life partners and children of South African citizens or permanent residents within the country can apply. This was a significant improvement in our country’s immigration processes in order to keep the family units together without having to return to the home country to file an application.
With this in mind, a spouse visa for South Africa can actually be submitted within the Republic if your spouse has a visitor visa.
Can my spouse do an activity in South Africa?
It is a “yes”. The spouse visa for South Africa is very flexible as it enables various activities within the country. However, you would have to add a note to the visa.
There are three options with regard to endorsements:
- Work note: This requires a job offer when applying.
- Business endorsement: Proof of registered business in South Africa is required. Alternatively, you can work as a sole trader.
- Confirmation of the study: Requires proof that you have been temporarily accepted into an educational institution in South Africa.
More information about endorsements can be found here.
How long does it take to process?
The processing of a spouse visa submitted in South Africa takes approximately 8 to 12 weeks. When submitting abroad, the processing times are shorter (4 – 6 weeks) because the embassies have a lower application volume.
The processing of a permanent residence (PR) is currently taking a long time due to arrears in the Ministry of the Interior. The processing unfortunately takes about 2-3 years. It is important to note that the temporary residence visa must be valid at all times while processing the PR.
What happens when the marriage ends?
A spouse visa for South Africa is issued due to the fact that there is a valid marriage between you and your foreign partner. Thus, the visa is subject to marriage survival.
In the eyes of the interior, the visa is considered void after the marriage.
Please note that this also applies if the marriage ends within the first two years after receiving permanent residence. There is a condition for permanent residence status. The prerequisite is that you have to prove that a good faith marriage still exists two years after the date of issue.
Start by applying for a spouse visa to South Africa
If you can’t wait to get your spouse to South Africa, get the ball rolling immediately.
The first step is an assessment of immigration. Ours only takes a few minutes, is free and you can do it here.
Our advisors will contact you and your spouse to discuss eligibility and requirements.
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