Marriage Visas Guide

South Africa Spousal Visa

Applying for a South African spousal permit or South African life-partner permit enables the husband, wife or long-term partner of a South African permanent resident or a person in possession of South African citizenship to migrate to South Africa on the basis of their relationship connection.

This type of South Africa visa is available to people in either heterosexual or same-sex relationships and can be applied for as either a temporary residence permit or a permanent residence permit depending on the length of the marriage or relationship in question.

South Africa immigration law is varied and for those wishing to migrate a range of permits, both temporary and permanent, are available.

South Africa visa requirements are tough but the various visas cater for a range of different immigrants based on the proposed length of time in the country and the purpose of the visit.

For candidates who intend to travel to South Africa on a short-term basis - either as a tourist or to undertake such activities as visiting friends and family - a straightforward South African visitor visa (often known as a travel visa or tourist visa) is required.

For those wishing to spend a longer period of time in the country, either to work, set up a business or study in South Africa a range of temporary residence permits are available along with permanent residence permits for those seeking to relocate permanently.

As a specialist immigration consultancy, Global Visas can help you to make sense of the array of South African visa services available helping you to assess your eligibility and embark upon the most appropriate route for your relocation.

Visas can be monitored and managed at every stage of the application process and our immigration advisory specialists are on hand to offer legal advice and help you migrate to South Africa as quickly and efficiently at possible.

Visa Benefits

The benefit of migrating to South Africa through a spousal immigration visa of this kind is that candidates are assessed purely upon their marital status or the duration of their relationship.

Unlike South African business visas no investment needs to be made and where South African work permits require an offer of employment to be in place from a South African company, no such requirement is in place for those applying to join their spouse or partner.

Where candidates apply for temporary residence permits successful applicants will be permitted to live and work in South Africa with permission to seek and undertake employment as they choose.

In addition, candidates applying for permanent residence will receive the benefits afforded to permanent South Africa residents, which encompass many of those enjoyed by South African citizens with some exceptions, such as the right to vote.

Visa Eligibility

As discussed, the South Africa immigration structure makes no distinction between heterosexual and same sex relationships and married partners or life partners may apply equally.

In the case of married applicants who wish to immigrate to South Africa through this route on a temporary permit, it must be demonstrated that the marriage in question exists, i.e. through the presentation of a marriage certificate.

Where applicants are in a life relationship, i.e. a permanent arrangement, an affidavit must be signed by both the applicant and the sponsoring partner, which confirms that the parties are in a permanent relationship which excludes all others.

In addition, life relationships will need to be supported by documentary evidence such as evidence of co-habitation and mutual financial arrangements such as utility bills, loans and bank accounts.

Spouse Visas and Life-Partner Visas

Where candidates wish to apply for spouse immigration or life-partner immigration as a permanent option, the key additional requirement is that the applicant must have been married to or in a life relationship with the sponsoring South African permanent resident or South African citizen for a period of five years.

In addition, where candidates immigrating to South Africa are granted permanent residency, the applicant will need to demonstrate two years after the permit is issued that the relationship is still in existence. At this stage, a permanent resident’s permit can be revoked if evidence of this is not satisfactorily supplied.

After a total of five years, the permit will no longer be subject to the continued existence of the relationship and cannot be withdrawn because of a change in marital or relationship status.

Due to the fact that a permanent residency permit can take up to two years to issue a common practice is to apply for temporary residence whilst simultaneously applying for permanent resident status.

Working in South Africa

Applying for a South African spousal visa whether through the temporary or permanent route will in most cases result in the applicant’s permanent settling in South Africa.

As a result, the South African spouse visa makes provision for applicants to seek and engage in employment in the country. Successful applicants may start a business; undertake a job or study in South Africa once an endorsement is granted by the Department of Home Affairs.


  1. Heidi Pap

    Do I apply for a Spouse Visa Before Or After I Enter South Africa?

    We will be married for 5 years in December 2017 and want to know the following. Do we need to do the visa application for a permanent spouse permit for South Africa in The Netherlands or can we do it in South Africa after we arrive because we woud like to relocate to S.A. at the end of this year.

    1. Profile photo of Your Immigration Expert
      Your Immigration Expert Post author

      Entering South Africa On A Spouse Visa

      To do things properly you will need to apply for a marriage visa prior to entering South Africa. Due to the length of time, you have been married and assuming you have funds to support yourselves there should be no issues with having this approved within the timeframe you are hoping to emigrate within.

      The South African Consulate in the Netherlands would be able to assist in preparing your case.

      We are here if you need further advice and please share us on social media and become a member for regular updates.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *