• Business Visas

    Business Visas

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Business Visas

A Business Visa may be issued for up to 3 years to a foreign national either intending to establish or invest in a business or who has established and invested in a business in which he/she will be employed.

The application must be recommended by the South African Department of Trade & Industry (“DTI”) in the first instance and this requires a prior and formal submission to it for consideration. The DTI must determine the feasibility of the business and the contribution to the national interest of South Africa.

In the case of a business that has not yet been established in South Africa, the application must include, amongst others, a certificate issued by a South African registered Chartered Accountant confirming that a minimum amount of R5 million is available in cash or, alternatively, in cash and a capital contribution to be invested in the business in South Africa and which must form part of the intended book value of the business. This amount may be reduced or waived in respect of certain businesses which are deemed to be in the national interest of South Africa.

Further requirements include, but are not limited to:

  1. an undertaking by the applicant that at least 60% of the total staff complement to be employed in the operations of the business will be South African citizens or permanent residents employed permanently in various positions and proof of compliance with this undertaking must be submitted to the Department of Home Affairs (“DHA”) within a period of 12 months from date of issue of the visa;
  2. an undertaking to register with the South African Revenue Service, Unemployment Insurance Fund, Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries and Diseases and Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (“CIPC”), where legally required – once registered, proof of registration must be submitted to the DHA; and
  3. registration with a relevant professional body, board or council recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority, where applicable.

In the case of a foreign national who has established a business or invested in an existing business in South Africa, the requirements are very similar. The DTI recommendation is required first and, in terms of the R5 million capital contribution, the South African registered Chartered Accountant must issue a certificate confirming that the amount in cash or, alternatively, in cash and a capital contribution is available or already invested as part of the book value of the business. As noted above, this amount may be reduced or waived in respect of certain businesses which are deemed to be in the national interest of South Africa.


Further requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • proof that at least 60% of the total staff complement employed in the operations of the business are South African citizens or permanent residents employed permanently in various positions;
  • proof of registration with the South African Revenue Service, Unemployment Insurance Fund, Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries and Diseases and Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (“CIPC”) - where legally required;
  • proof of registration with a relevant professional body, board or council recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority, where applicable; and
  • in the case of investment in an existing business, submission of financial statements in respect of the preceding financial year and proof of investment.

Finally, within a period of 12 months of the visa being issued, the foreign national must submit a letter of confirmation from the South African Department of Labour (“DOL”) to the DHA confirming that 60% of the staff complement employed in the operations of the business are South African citizens or permanent residents who are employed permanently in various positions. As with the DTI, this involves a formal submission to the DOL, which has in place its own processes and procedures for doing so and it will conduct its own assessment in relation thereto.

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