Immigration for South Africa

February 2015

This summary is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered an authoritative guide on how to obtain work authorization in South Africa. The intent is to give the reader a general overview of the process only. Procedures and requirements may have changed since the writing of this article. For current and detailed information regarding the topics below, as well as documentary requirements, processing times, post-arrival and departure requirements, penalties for non-compliance, allowances for accompanying family members, and any other information pertaining to your specific needs, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration professional.



Permitted Activities – Business visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:

• Attending training, interviews, business meetings or discussions;
• Attending seminars or “fact-finding” meetings;
• All other activities must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Type of Business Visas – Certain nationals may enter South Africa without need of a business visa (visa-exempt nationals). However, these visa-exempt nationals will be required to submit an electronic request for travel authorization and receive travel authorization from the South African Department of Home Affairs prior to entering South Africa as a business visitor. All other nationals will require a visitor’s visa for business purposes (visa under Section 11 (2)).

Basic Requirements

1. Intention of a genuine visit for business and not for paid employment, nor establish any employment relationship with the South African host company;
2. Valid passport;
3. Evidence that there are no restrictions on his or her traveling to South Africa;
4. No intention to permanently reside in South Africa;
5. A ticket for onward travel from South Africa.

Estimated Processing Times This varies by diplomatic post and country.

Maximum Time On Visa – This visa allows business people to make a short business visit to South Africa for up to three months. Duration of stay, multi-entry status and ability to extend business status will be on a highly-discretionary basis.

Typical Documents Required – All travelers need to present the following documents to officers in immigration clearance:

• valid passport or other acceptable travel document; and in some cases,
• a valid visa or authority to enter South Africa.


Basic Requirements – There are several different corporate immigration categories in South Africa.  The most commonly used immigration category for temporary employment in South Africa is the intra-company transfer (ICT) work visa. This is a category for employers to sponsor qualified skilled workers to work as intra-company transferees in South Africa on a temporary basis. The employee should be a permanent employee with the company in the home country and transferred for a maximum of 48 months to a branch or subsidiary in South Africa.

Process Overview The process for obtaining an intra-company work visa involves a one-step process summarized below:

1. Work visa application, submitted to the South African diplomatic post in the applicant’s country of residence.

Please note that medicals and police clearances will be required for all applications.

Estimated Processing Time – two to eight weeks.

Validity periods – ICT visas are generally valid for up to four years.

Family Members – Dependents of ICT work visa holders may not work without separate work authorization.