A South African spousal visa is intended to assist partners of South African citizens or permanent residents. It allows foreign spouses to stay with their partners on the basis of their relationship. All types of alliances such as marriage or long-term partner fall under the purview of a legitimate relationship.
The main criteria for a spousal visa is the legitimacy of the relationship held by the applicant. Unlike other types of South African visa, the spousal visa has certain constitutional rights to it. Such as the right to be with your partner.
The spousal visa is designed to offer a solution for a long term stay in South Africa. If you are looking for a short term visit to your spouse, a visitor’s visa or tourist visa, would suffice. This is, if you plan to return within 90 days, or roughly 3 months.
There are two kinds of spousal visa
A temporary residence spousal visa allow the holders to live in South Africa for a certain period of time, Normally this is between 2 and 4 years. Permanent spousal visa holders are almost like South African citizens in most ways. They have most citizens’ rights, barring a few such as the ability to vote.
Who is eligible for a spousal visa?
The South Africa immigration law gives equal consideration to heterosexual and same sex relationships. Moreover, married partners or life partners may apply equally.
Temporary Spousal visa
Spouses seeking a temporary residence permit on account of their relationship with a South African resident must provide proof that a genuine marriage exists. A marriage certificate should be provided to that effect along with other supporting documentation. This includes evidence of co-habitation and common financial responsibility. They can take the form of bank accounts or joint ownership / liability papers.
Where applicants are in a permanent relationship, without being married, they need to make any immigration application under a life partner visa.
Permanent residence spousal visa
Where an application is being made of permanent residency with a spousal visa; it is imperative that that applicant must be married to the sponsoring South African party for a minimum duration of five years.
Further, it is necessary to prove that two years after being granted permanent residence, that the said marriage is still in existence. A permanent resident’s spousal visa can be canceled if the concerned parties are unable to present satisfactory proof of such.
It should be noted, that even if the applicant complies with the rules for an application for permanent residency with a spousal visa, it is common practice to apply for temporary residence. The two applications are often simultaneous. The reason for this is that the permanent residence permit can take about two years to be processed.
Work, study or set up a businesses
The South African spousal visa does not give permission to the foreign spouse to work, study or set up a business. In order to undertake one of these the spousal permit holder must apply for an endorsement.
In the case of work this means submitting a job offer to be granted an endorsement. Those wishing to study will need acceptance from a learning institute. If the spouse wishes to set up a business then company paperwork proving ownership is required.