FREE IMMIGRATION ADVICE SINCE 1996
I am applying from the United States for a volunteer visa for South Africa. I will be working at a safari lodge as their photographer, but will not be paid. My volunteer position is for one year. Do I qualify for a volunteer visa, or does the institution need to be a non-profit? What does the letter of invitation need to include specifically? Thank you so much.
South Africa Work Visas
To secure a volunteer visa for South Africa the unpaid work must be under the order of a bona fide charity or volunteering institution. The lodge will be connected to a conservation charity in South Africa who may endorse your application if you agree to share your photos with them. The arrangement can be discussed further now you under the rule. South Africa still has a fragile economy and their remains a large percentage of the indigenous people without employment and there are no social services making even “unpaid” work desirable as it could lead to tips, food, training or a full-time job. While affirmative action laws still apply to underline this point.
If you are going to remain longer than six months you will be required to complete a medical and have a yellow fever vaccination.
The letter simply needs to be on letterhead, outline the duties you will carry out, confirmation it is an unpaid role, the duration of your expected service, signed by a manager with contact details on letterhead. Charities in South Africa are not expected to write a letter in any specific format as this could delay help arriving and distract them from the charitable work they are doing.
If you can not secure a volunteer visa, I would recommend a retirement visa as there is no minimum age limit and you can secure a temporary retirement visa for four years. For a temporary residency visa, you must demonstrate you have access to ZAR 37,000 per month. This can be in the form of cash/cash equivalents or cash income generated by your capital asset(s). The proof of funds can be either of the aforementioned or a combination of both.
This would allow you to follow your passion while remaining compliant with South African immigration laws. If you would like further help simply post a further question by joining our community and opening a group or new topic so I can guide you through the visa process.
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