How to Get a Temporary Residence Permit for South Africa


South Africa Temporary Resident Permit

South Africa Permanent Resident Permit

South Africa has so many different types of temporary residence permits that it will make your head spin. I lived in Johannesburg for a year and was able to get the work permit without much issue. South Africa, unlike a lot of other countries in this part of the world, has a streamlined set of requirements for the different types of permits and visas in order to enter and stay in the country.

There are a number of different types of temporary residence permits for South Africa. It will all depend on your purpose of stay:

  • Study Permit: Issued to foreigners intending to take up studies in South Africa.
  • Treaty Permit: issued to foreigners conducting activities in South Africa in terms of an international agreement to which South Africa is a party.
  • Relative’s Permit: Issued to relatives/spouses of South African citizens or residents intending to move to South Africa and take up permanent residence.
  • Medical Permit: Issued to foreigners intending to visit South Africa for the purpose of undergoing medical treatment.
  • Retired Person’s Permit: Issued to retirees intending to live in South Africa only for limited or seasonal periods during the validity of the permit.
  • Business Permit: Issued to foreigners who intend to establish or invest in a business in South Africa in which they may be employed.
  • General Work Permit: Issued to foreigners with general qualifications intending to work in South Africa.
  • Intra-Company Transfer Work Permit: Issued to foreigners being transferred by their own company to an affiliate company in South Africa.
  • Exceptional Skills Work Permit: Issued to applicants in possession of exceptional skills or qualifications that are scarce in in South Africa.
  • Quota Work Permit: Issued to pre-determined number of employees needed in a particular occupational category determined by the Minister.
  • Corporate Permit: Issued by the Department to a corporate applicant. A corporant applicant is defined as a juristic person established under the laws of South Africa or a foreign country as a corporation to employ foreigners to conduct work for such applicant.
  • Exchange Permits: Issued to applicants under the age of 25 years and may only conduct work for one year.

Go to my South Africa visa page for information on other types of visas for South Africa.

I’ll break everything down for you below about how to go about getting any type of temporary residence permit for South Africa.

Find your closest consulate
  • Find your closest consulate here.
Gather documentation

I found that the South Africa Department of Homeland Affairs has a great overview of the typical documents required for each type of visa:

Further Reading

About Addison Sears-Collins

Hey! I'm Addison Sears-Collins, the founder of Visa Hunter. You can learn more about me here. Connect with me by liking my fan page on Facebook, connecting with me on Twitter, or check out my website Automatic Addison where I build robots and embedded systems. accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the accuracy of the information contained on this site. Please read the Visitor Agreement and Disclaimer. If you think there is an error in the information, please bring it to our attention so that we can correct it. Also, some of the links above could be advertisements or affiliate links, which means that I will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) should you decide to click on the links and make a purchase. I recommend sites from time to time, not because I earn money or get a tiny commission if you click on the affiliate links and make a purchase, but because, I want you to focus on the places that will deliver you the most value and the best results. Good luck!