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Expat Exchange - Guide to Residency in South Africa
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Guide to Residency in South Africa

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: Learn how to obtain a residency visa in South Africa. Expats, Retirees and others who have navigated the process offer advice and guidance for newcomers in South Africa.

Moving to South Africa - Guide to Residency in South Africa

Obtaining a residency visa in South Africa is not always easy, but our Guide to Residency in South Africa gives newcomers an overview of the steps involved and advice from others who have already navigated the process.

  • Gather the necessary documents for residency status in South Africa. This includes a valid passport, proof of financial means, a medical certificate, and a police clearance certificate.
  • Apply for a visa. Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, you may need to provide additional documents. You can find more information about the different types of visas and the documents required for each on the South African Department of Home Affairs website.
  • Once you have been granted a visa, you must apply for a Tax Number.
    • Visit the South African Revenue Service (SARS) website and register for an eFiling account.
    • Log in to your eFiling account and select the “Register for a Tax Number” option.
    • Fill out the online form and submit it.
    • Once your application has been processed, you will receive your Tax Number.
  • Apply for a Temporary Residence Permit. You can do this by visiting the nearest South African embassy or consulate in your home country. You will need to provide your passport, visa, and Tax Number.
  • Once you have arrived in South Africa, you must apply for a Permanent Residence Permit. You can do this by visiting the nearest South African Department of Home Affairs office. You will need to provide your passport, visa, Tax Number, and Temporary Residence Permit.
  • Once your application has been approved, you will receive your Permanent Residence Permit.

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What tips do expats have about residency and visas in South Africa?

"If you plan to stay in South Africa for an extended period of time, you will need to apply for a temporary residence visa. Depending on the purpose of your stay, you may need to apply for a different type of visa, such as a work visa, study visa, or business visa. You will also need to provide proof of identity, such as a valid passport, and other supporting documents, such as proof of financial means and a medical certificate," said one expat living in South Africa.

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Relocating abroad soon? Make your move with AGS! AGS Worldwide Movers is a leader in the international moving industry. Our experience and expertise allows us to guarantee our clients the best quality moving services.

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"In order to visit South Africa, visitors must obtain a visa prior to their arrival. The process of applying for a visa involves submitting an application form, providing a valid passport, and paying the applicable visa fee. Depending on the purpose of the visit, additional documents may be required. In order to obtain residency in South Africa, applicants must submit an application form, provide a valid passport, and pay the applicable fee. Depending on the purpose of the residency, additional documents may be required. Additionally, applicants may be required to provide proof of financial means, a medical certificate, and a police clearance certificate. Once the application is approved, the applicant will be issued a residence permit," commented one member living in South Africa.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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