Can you work on a relative visa in South Africa?
What is a relative’s visa in South Africa?
- Family – First & second level of kinship (Mother, Father, Brother, Sister)
- Spouse – If you are married to a South African citizen or permanent resident
- Life Partner – If you are in a relationship with a South African citizen or permanent resident for more than 2 years.
Does the relative visa allow you to work in South Africa?
No, you are not allowed to work whilst on a relative’s visa in South Africa. This temporary residence visa is merely a visa to accompany a family member, spouse or life partner in the country.
Today we’d like to discuss in-depth for each visa type whether you can work and what you need to do to work. If you need detailed information you can read our What is a relative permit in South Africa for a detailed guide.
The relative’s visa is issued to family members of either 1st level kinship or second-level kinship to join them in South Africa.
Your relative needs to show that they can financially support you as you are not allowed to work whilst in the country. A sufficient amount as prescribed by the Minister of Home Affairs is R 8,500.00 per month and they need to show proof in the form of bank statements.
You are not allowed to work, study, open your own business or volunteer whilst on this visa. If you need to study in the country then you have to apply for a study visa as the holder of a relative’s visa who is sponsored through a family member may not study with the visa.
The relative visa South Africa processing time can take about 5 months.
What is needed to apply for a relative visa?
Important documents you would need are a police clearance from your country of permanent residence and a birth certificate to prove that you are family.
The visa application documents depend if you are being sponsored through family or applying through your partner or spouse.
The documentation will differ based on the above. In South Africa, the application form is digitized and completed online. Abroad at a South African embassy, forms must be handwritten if they are not contracted to VFS.
These are the relatives visa South Africa requirements to sponsor a family member.
My thought (have not done this before but it could work)
If you are applying for a relative’s visa as a parent through a minor child you would need to show that you have R 8,500 every month to support yourself or your minor child would have to prove this but we know that this is not possible.
So essentially, build up the funds for three months, then apply for the visa.
Once you have the visa, you can submit a waiver to request the Department of Home Affairs to allow you to work whilst on the visa.
Your motivation letter can be used to motivate the fact that you need to support your child (SA citizen). However, you need to remember only do this if you do not qualify for any other type of work visa. If you are the only parent, let’s say for example your South African partner or spouse has passed away, you can potentially consider doing this. As mentioned, I have not tried this and can’t promise that it will work.
Spousal Visa & Life Partner Visa:
To apply for this visa, you need to be married to a South African citizen or permanent resident and have a valid marriage certificate as custom marriages are not accepted by the Department of Home Affairs. What is a spousal visa in South Africa.
The visa is valid for 2 years and can be extended in South Africa.
The spouse visa for South Africa falls under the relative’s visa umbrella and does not allow you to work, study or start your own business. You have to apply for the relatives visa work endorsement South Africa.
A life partner can apply for permanent residency after 5 years of being in a relationship and you can find out more by reading our life partner permanent residence permit South Africa blog post.
If you would like to start your own business but do not qualify for a life partner or spousal visa, then you have to apply for a business visa.
Adding an endorsement to your visa:
You have to apply for what’s called an 11.6 visitors visa which is a longer form of a visitors visa which are issued to spouses of South African citizens.
The 11.6 visa allows you to add one of the following endorsements to your visa:
- Business Endorsement (Start your own business)
- Study Endorsement (Study at a university or college)
- Work Endorsement (Secured in employment)
The important aspect to remember is that a spousal visa does not come standard with these endorsements. you have to specifically apply for it and most South African embassies globally do not add these endorsements.
So how do you overcome this issue?
You apply for a standard spouse visa and then enter SA with this visa. Once you are in the country you can then reapply for an 11.6 visa to allow you to add one of these endorsements to your visa.
Be sure to educate your prospective employer about timelines as you will not be allowed to work whilst waiting for the outcome of your 11.6 visa. Learn how to get a work endorsement on a spousal visa in South Africa or how to get a life partner visa work endorsement.
The relative visa application form South Africa that must be used when submitting abroad at the South African embassy.
Permanent Residence Permit
If you qualify for permanent residency, then we urge you to submit your application as soon as possible. Processing times have drastically increased and many people have been for at least 6 years to receive their application for a permanent residence permit.
South African immigration is complex and difficult to navigate if you are not familiar with the regulations. Contact Migrate With Q for a free assessment today.
Charl Vollmer has 8 years of experience helping people immigrate to South Africa. I am passionate about helping people and making their dreams a reality. Charl constantly stays up to date with South African Immigration rules and regulations. To contact Charl, visit our contact page.