Your Guide to South Africa Visa Processing Times

We get a lot of emails and phone calls from applicants wanting to know about South African visa processing times. The short answer is: There isn't a standard time for processing South African visas. Every visa is different and has its own timeline.

There's only one way to determine visa processing times and that would be to know which visa you're applying for.

Critical Skills Visa

Again this visa can take 12 months to get approval. Foreigners need to have their qualifications and skills evaluated by SAQA to prove that it's equivalent to South African qualifications. To fast-track this process we advise the applicant to register with a non-statutory professional body, board or council.

Business Visa

The processing time for a business visa can take anything between 4 and 8 months. The DHA and dti are involved in the business visa application. While the dti phase should only take 20 working days, it can take up to 4 months for this phase alone due to backlogs.

General Work Visa

The standard reaction when we tell people how long this visa takes to process is shock and disbelief. The general work visa takes 12 months. The reason why it takes so long is that it is work and process concentrated.

There are 4 phases that drag out the processing time:

  • Recruitment phase - Before a local employer can employ a foreign worker, the position has to be advertised for 2 months.

  • Evaluation of foreign credentials (SAQA) - The South African Qualifications Authority needs to validate the applicant's qualifications.

  • The Evaluation Phase by the Department of Labour (DOL) - During this phase, the DOL conducts a thorough assessment to see if the above requirements have been met.

  • The Department of Home Affairs Phase - The final phase is where the visa application is submitted and can take 3-4 months.

To find out more about processing times or help with your visa application, speak to the experts at Black Pen Immigration today.