What is it?

South African immigration law does not limit spousal visa benefits to married couples only, but also allows unmarried couples to apply for a so-called “life partner visa” if specific conditions are met.
The crucial point of an application for such a visa is to prove that, despite not being legally married, the relationship has the same level of permanence, commitment and exclusivity normally associated with marriage.
This visa can either be issued as a “pure” spousal visa (i.e. simply to reside in South Africa with their spouse), or in combination with an endorsement to work, operate a business or study in South Africa.
  • The relationship must have existed for at least 2 years prior to applying for the life partner visa.
  • The couple must provide proof of their cohabitation, shared financial responsibilities and mutual financial support to each other.
  • The couple must sign a notarial agreement outlining the terms of their relationship.
  • The South African partner must provide a financial assurance in the amount of R8.500 per month for the foreign partner.
  • Unlike other long-term visas, the initial application for a life partner visa does not need to be lodged at the South African foreign mission in the applicant’s home country, but can also be submitted in South Africa while on a tourist visa.
  • After five years of being in a life partnership, the foreigner will qualify for permanent residence as a life partner (link to PR life partner) – regardless of whether they have lived in South Africa during this period.
  • The life partner visa is only valid if the good-faith relationship persists, but will lapse automatically in the event of separation.

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