What is it?

Foreign spouses of a South African citizen or permanent resident may apply for a spousal visa for South Africa.
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 applicant must be married to a South African citizen or permanent resident.
  • “Marriage” includes civil marriages concluded in terms of the Marriage Act, 1961 (Act No. 25 of 1961), customary marriages in terms of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, 1998 (Act No. 120 of 1998), civil unions concluded in terms of the Civil Union Act, 2006 (Act No. 17 of 2006) as well as marriages concluded in terms of the laws of a foreign country.
  • The South African spouse must provide a financial assurance in the amount of R8.500 per month for the foreign spouse.
  • Unlike other long-term visas, the initial application for a spousal 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 married, the foreigner will qualify for permanent residence as a spouse (link to PR spouse) – regardless of whether they have lived in South Africa during this period.
  • The spousal visa can be applied for immediately after the conclusion of the marriage without a waiting period.
  • Marriages solemnised outside of South Africa may be registered voluntarily with the Department of Home Affairs in order to update the marital status of the South African citizen on the Population Register. The registration of a foreign marriage is however completely voluntary and not a legal prerequisite for the spousal visa.
  • The spousal visa is only valid if the good-faith spousal relationship persists, but will lapse automatically in the event of separation.

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