South Africa Work Visa Types

South Africa Work Visa TYpes



A South Africa work visa is an official permit that enables individuals from foreign countries to work and reside legally in South Africa for a specified period.

The different South Africa work visa types grant holders the right to engage in employment within the country.

With various categories tailored to specific eligibility criteria and requirements, South Africa employment visas offer opportunities for individuals to contribute their skills and expertise to the vibrant South African workforce.

Whether it is for pursuing a career and experiencing the rich cultural heritage, obtaining a South Africa employment visa opens doors to exciting possibilities in this diverse and dynamic nation.

Remember there are several South Africa visa types that you can apply for. Another important fact you need to remember is that you cannot apply for a visa in south africa if you are on a visitor visa in South Africa section 11(2) which is a normal tourist visa. Before you can apply for a visa another important aspect to bear in mind is “how much bank balance is required for a south africa visa“.

Do I Need A Working Visa To Work In South Africa?

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Do I Need A Working Visa To Work In South Africa


Individuals who are not South African citizens or permanent residents will require a work visa to legally be employed in South Africa. 

A work visa is necessary to comply with the Department of Home Affairs’ immigration laws and regulations and ensures that you have the proper authorization to engage in employment activities within the country. 

The specific type of visa required may vary depending on factors such as the nature of your employment, duration of stay, and your qualifications. 

It is important to thoroughly understand the visa requirements and application process before starting employment in South Africa to ensure compliance with immigration laws. 

It is recommended to consult with a qualified immigration professional for accurate and up-to-date information regarding employment visa requirements in South Africa based on your specific circumstances.

Working without a work permit in South Africa can have dire consequences for you and your employer.

How Many Types of Work Permits Are There in South Africa?


How Many Types of Work Permits Are There in South Africa


When it comes to working in South Africa, there are various types of work permits available for individuals from foreign countries. 

Each employment permit category serves a specific purpose and has its own set of requirements and conditions. 

Zimbabweans who transferring from the ZEP visas can obtain more information from this post: Work permit South Africa for Zimbabweans.

First-time applying for a temporary residence visa in South Africa? You must apply for the visa in your country of residence but if you are currently on any form of temporary residence visa then you can apply for a change of status and read this post called How to apply for a work permit in South Africa.

Understanding the different work permit options will help you navigate the process effectively and make informed decisions about working in South Africa:

Work Visas

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Corporate Visa


sa visa


A corporate visa, also known as a corporate permit, is a type of visa that allows a company or organization to employ foreign nationals in South Africa.

It is specifically designed for companies that wish to employ a large number of foreign employees or bring in foreign skills to contribute to the growth of their business operations.

To obtain a corporate visa, the company must meet certain requirements set by the South African Department of Home Affairs.

These requirements typically include demonstrating that the company has a genuine need for foreign employees, providing proof of efforts to recruit South African citizens or permanent residents for the positions, and complying with South African labour laws.

Occupations that could qualify for this visa:

  • Seasonal workers were no South African citizens or permanent residents can take up those positions.
  • Large corporate companies that need specific IT occupations filled which are not readily found in SA.

Critical Skills Visa




The Critical Skills Visa is a specific type of visa available in South Africa.

It is designed for individuals who possess critical skills or qualifications that are deemed necessary for the economic development of the country.

You must have a job offer at the time of applying and your occupation must be listed on the critical skills occupation list for South Africa.

You can apply for permanent residency immediately if you have 5 years of experience and if not, then after 5 continuous years of being on the critical skills visa.

Occupations that could qualify for this visa

  • Director of a large enterprise (250 employees or more)
  • Quality Systems manager
  • Programme or Project Manager

Please view the critical skills list.

General Work Visa (Section 19.2)




The General Work Visa is a type of employment visa available in SA. It allows foreign nationals to legally be employed in the country for a specific employer and occupation. Here are the key points regarding the General Work Visa:

Purpose: The General Work Visa is designed for individuals who have secured a specific job offer from a South African employer. It enables them to enter and work in SA legally.

Eligibility: To be eligible for the General Work Visa, applicants must meet certain requirements, which typically include the following:

a. Job Offer: The applicant must have a formal job offer from a South African employer. The employer must provide proof that they were unable to find a suitable South African citizen or permanent resident to fill the position.

b. Qualifications and Skills: The applicant must possess the necessary qualifications, skills, or experience required for the job. The employer may need to demonstrate that the applicant meets these requirements.

Occupations that could qualify for this visa

Any employer who can prove that they could not find a suitable South African citizen or permanent resident to take up the advertised position. The Department of Labour would have to prove this.

Intra Company Transfer Work Visa (ICT)

ICT Visa

The Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa (ICT) is a type of work visa that allows employees of multinational companies to be transferred to a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate company in SA.
Here are some key points regarding the Intra-Company TransferVisa:

Purpose: The ICT Visa facilitates the temporary transfer of employees within multinational companies to work in South Africa. It enables companies to deploy skilled and specialized personnel to their South African operations.

Eligibility: To be eligible for the ICT Visa, applicants must meet certain requirements, including:

a. Employment Relationship: The applicant must have an employment contract with a foreign entity that is part of a multinational company group, which has a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate company in South Africa.

b. Skills and Qualifications: The applicant must possess specialized skills, knowledge, or experience that are necessary for the particular job role in South Africa. The employer may need to demonstrate that the employee has these qualifications and skills.

c. Duration: The ICT Visa is typically issued for a maximum period of four years, with the possibility of renewal. However, the duration may vary depending on the specific circumstances and the discretion of the Department of Home Affairs.

Intra-Company Transfer: The visa is specifically designed for employees who are being transferred within their company’s international operations. It allows the employee to work for the South African branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of the multinational company.

Occupations that could qualify for this visa

Any position within the company where the skills are not necessarily available, but is available abroad in a foreign branch.

Section 11(2) Visa


short term employment visa


Section 11(2) visa refers to a specific provision in the country’s immigration regulations. It allows a foreigner to enter South Africa on a short-term basis for work purposes.

The Section 11(2) visa is typically granted for short-term work projects or assignments and is valid for 90 days.

Keep in mind that if you are on a VFS spousal visa in South Africa or a life partner visa then you can apply for a work endorsement that will enable you to work in SA. The spousal and life partner visa falls under the relative visa category.

What Are The Required Documents for An Employment Visa?


Required documents


To apply for a work visa in South Africa, you will typically need to provide the following documents:

  • Valid Passport: You must have a valid passport with at least two blank pages and a validity that extends beyond the intended period of stay.
  • Completed Application Form: You need to fill out the application form for a work visa accurately and completely.
  • Passport-sized Photographs: Recent colour photographs that meet the specific requirements of the South African Department of Home Affairs.
  • Proof of Employment: You will need to provide a letter of offer or contract of employment from a South African employer. The letter should include details such as the job title, job description, salary, and duration of employment.
  • Qualifications and Certificates: Depending on the type of work visa you are applying for, you may need to submit copies of your educational qualifications, professional certifications, or other relevant documents.
  • Medical and Radiological Reports: You will be required to undergo a medical examination and provide a medical report and radiological report (chest X-ray) from a designated medical practitioner.
  • Police Clearance Certificate: A police clearance certificate or a similar document from the country where you have resided for 12 months or more since the age of 18 may be required.
  • Proof of Financial Means: You may need to provide evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in South Africa. This can include bank statements, salary slips, or a letter of financial support.
  • Return/onward travel documentation: It is advisable to have a confirmed return ticket or proof of onward travel.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate: If you are travelling from or through a yellow fever endemic country, you may be required to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate.

It’s important to note that the specific documents required may vary depending on the type of work visa you are applying for and your circumstances.

There are extra requirements that are needed for each visa type:

Corporate Workers Visa:

  • Photocopy of the primary corporate visa issued to the employer.
  • Completed Original Corporate Worker Authorization Certificate.
  • Valid employment contract.
  • A written commitment by the corporate applicant to ensure the departure of the foreign worker from the country upon the termination of their employment contract or to bear the responsibility and costs associated with the foreign worker’s deportation, if required.
  • Evidence of qualifications evaluated by SAQA, translated by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of South Africa, or proof of skills and experience aligning with the job offer.

Critical Skills Visa:

  • Written commitment by the employer to bear the costs associated with the deportation of the applicant and their dependent family members, if necessary.
  • Written assurance by the employer to ensure that the employee’s passport remains valid throughout their employment. (In the absence of an employer: Written assurance by the applicant to maintain a valid passport throughout their temporary visa).
  • Evidence demonstrating that the applicant falls under the critical skills category, specifying the occupation or critical skill for which the application is being made. The occupation or critical skill must be listed on the Critical Skills list.
  • Proof of foreign qualification evaluation by SAQA and translation by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of South Africa.
  • If required by law, proof of application for a certificate of registration with the professional body, council, or board recognized by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as per section 13(1)(i) of the National Qualifications Framework Act.
  • Written confirmation from the professional body, council, or board recognized by SAQA as per section 13(1)(0) of the National Qualifications Framework Act, or an appropriate government department confirming the applicant’s skills, qualifications, and relevant post-qualification experience. 

General Work Visa:

  • Employer’s written undertaking to bear the costs related to the deportation of the applicant and their dependent family members, if necessary.
  • Employer’s written undertaking to ensure the continued validity of the employee’s passport throughout their employment.

Department of Labour certificate confirming the following:

  • Despite diligent search, the prospective employer has been unable to find a suitable citizen or permanent resident with equivalent qualifications or skills and experience to the applicant.
  • The applicant possesses qualifications or proven skills and experience relevant to the job offer.
  • The salary and benefits offered to the applicant are not lower than the average for similar positions held by citizens or employees in the country.
  • A signed employment contract, in line with labour standards in South Africa, outlining the conditions of employment and contingent upon the approval of the general work visa.
  • Proof of qualifications evaluated by SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) and translated by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of South Africa.
  • Full particulars of the employer, including, if applicable, proof of business registration with the Commission on Intellectual Property and Companies (CIPC).
  • Employer’s undertaking to inform the Director-General in case the applicant fails to comply with the provisions of the Act or visa conditions.
  • Employer’s undertaking to inform the Director-General when the employee is no longer employed by the same employer or is employed in a different capacity or role.

Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa

  • The foreigner’s employment contract with the overseas company is valid for a minimum duration of six months.
  • A letter from the overseas company confirming the intention to transfer the foreigner to a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate located in South Africa.
  • A letter from the branch, subsidiary, or affiliate in South Africa, verifying the transfer of the foreigner and specifying the occupation and capacity in which the foreigner will be employed.

Employer’s undertaking:

  • The foreigner will be employed solely in the designated position for which the visa has been granted.
  • The foreign employee will consistently comply with the provisions of the Act and the conditions of their visa. The employer also pledges to promptly notify the Director-General if the employee fails to adhere to the Act’s provisions or visa conditions.
  • The employer will formulate a skills transfer plan to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and expertise to a South African citizen or permanent resident.
  • Employer’s commitment to reimburse the Department for any costs incurred relating to the deportation of the holder of an intra-company transfer work visa and their dependent family members.
Work Visas

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What is SAQA and Why Should I Assess My Qualifications By SAQA?




SAQA stands for the South African Qualifications Authority

It is the statutory body in South Africa responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and ensuring the quality and standards of qualifications in the country.

SAQA plays a crucial role in the recognition of foreign qualifications in South Africa. 

When a foreigner wishes to work or study in South Africa, they may need to have their qualifications assessed and verified by SAQA. 

This assessment process helps determine the equivalence of foreign qualifications to those offered in South Africa.

What Form Should I Use To Apply For the Visa?




To apply for a work visa for South Africa, you would generally use the DHA 1738 Form. However, please note that the specific form requirements may vary depending on the type of work visa you are applying for. 

Here are some tips to consider when completing the DHA-1738 form or any other relevant work visa application form:

Read the instructions carefully: Thoroughly review the instructions provided with the application form to understand the requirements, guidelines, and any specific documentation or supporting evidence needed.

Provide accurate and complete information: Ensure that all the required fields on the form are filled out accurately. Double-check the spelling of names, addresses, and other personal details. Incomplete or incorrect information may cause delays or complications in the processing of your application.

Use black ink and write legibly: Fill out the form using black ink to ensure clarity and readability. Write in block letters and avoid any unnecessary markings or alterations on the form.

Be consistent with supporting documents: Ensure that the information provided in the application form matches the details mentioned in the supporting documents you are submitting. Consistency and coherence between the form and supporting documents are crucial.

Include all required supporting documents: Gather all the necessary supporting documents as specified in the application form instructions. This may include passport copies, qualifications, job offers, medical certificates, and others. Ensure that you have the required documents in the correct format, such as certified copies or translations if needed.

Pay attention to signature requirements: Sign the application form where required. Pay attention to any additional signatures that may be needed from sponsors, employers, or other relevant parties as indicated in the form instructions.

Keep copies for your records: Make photocopies or scans of the completed application form and all the supporting documents before submitting your application. This will serve as a reference and provide documentation in case of any inquiries or requests for additional information.

Employers Are Requesting That I First Obtain A Work Visa Before Offering Me Employment.

Employers want a visa

If South African employers are requesting that you obtain a work visa before offering you an employment offer, it is likely because they want to ensure that you are legally eligible to work in the country. 

In South Africa, employers are required to comply with immigration laws and regulations, and hiring individuals without the necessary work visas can lead to legal consequences.

To obtain a work visa in South Africa, you typically need a confirmed job offer from a South African employer. 

The specific requirements and process for obtaining a work visa may vary depending on the type of work visa you are applying for. 

How To Apply For A Work Visa For South Africa

how to

To apply for a work visa for South Africa, you will need to follow a specific process outlined by the South African Department of Home Affairs. Here are the general steps involved in applying for a work visa:

  • Determine the appropriate work visa category: South Africa offers different types of work visas, each with its requirements. You need to identify the visa category that aligns with your circumstances. Common work visa categories include the Critical Skills Work Visa, General Work Visa, and Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa.
  • Check the eligibility criteria: Review the specific eligibility requirements for the work visa category you are applying for. These requirements may include having a valid job offer from a South African employer, meeting certain skills or qualifications criteria, and demonstrating that there are no suitable South African citizens or permanent residents available for the position.
  • Gather the required documents: Prepare the necessary documents for your work visa application.
  • Submit your application: Once you have gathered all the required documents, submit your work visa application to the nearest South African embassy, consulate, or visa application centre in your country of residence. You may need to schedule an appointment in advance.
  • Pay the application fee: Pay the required visa application fee at the time of submitting your application. The fee amount may vary based on the visa category and your nationality.
  • Wait for a decision: After submitting your application, you will need to wait for the processing period. The processing time can vary, but it is advisable to submit your application well in advance of your intended travel date.
  • Attend an interview (if required): In some cases, the South African authorities may request an interview as part of the application process. If requested, attend the interview at the designated location and provide any additional information or documentation as required.
  • Receive the outcome: Once your application has been processed, you will be notified of the decision. If approved, you will receive your work visa. If rejected, you may be provided with reasons for the rejection and any possible recourse or appeal options.

Please remember that your first-time work visa applications are not allowed to be submitted in South Africa. You must apply in your country of permanent residency through the South African embassy or consulate.

Some embassies and consulates are contracted to VFS Global and you must book an appointment through them to submit your application.

How Much Is A Work Visa In South Africa

Corporate Workers Visa: R 1520.00

Critical Skills Visa: R 1520.00

General Work Visa: R 1520.00

Intra Company Transfer Work Visa: R 1520.00

We have an in-depth guide called: How much is a visa in South Africa if you would like to make use of an agent then reading how much does an immigration lawyer cost will be beneficial to you.

How Long Are The Visas Issued For?

Corporate Workers Visa – Typically issued for up to 4 years

Critical Skills Visa – Typically issued for a maximum of 5 years

General Work Visa – Typically issued for a maximum of 5 years

Intra Company Transfer Visa – Issued for up to 4 years

Pros & Con’s Of A Work Temporary Residence Visa

Pros Of The Work Temporary Residence Visa

Pros and Cons

  • Employment Opportunities
  • Skill Development
  • Income & Benefits
  • Qualify for Permanent Residency for certain work visas

Con’s Of The Work Temporary Residence Visa

  • Limited Duration
  • Dependency on Employment
  • Restricted to on Employer
  • Immigration Regulations Can Change
  • Separation From Home Country

Frequently Asked Questions


Can Family Members Accompany Individuals on a South Africa Work Visa?

Yes, family members, such as spouses and dependent children, can typically accompany individuals holding a valid South Africa employment visa. 

The specific conditions and requirements for family members may vary depending on the visa category and the applicant’s circumstances.

Children who are off school going-age must apply for a student visa. You can view the South Africa study permit requirements to get a better understanding.

Can I Change My Employment While Holding A South Africa Work Visa?

Generally, individuals on a South Africa employment visa are expected to work for the employer and in the specific position stated in their visa application. 

Changing employment or positions may require obtaining a new visa or seeking approval from the Department of Home Affairs.

Can A South Africa Work Visa Be Extended or Renewed?

In many cases, employment visas can be extended or renewed, subject to meeting certain requirements and conditions set by the Department of Home Affairs. 

It is important to adhere to the visa regulations and initiate the extension or renewal process well in advance.

Our guide on visa extensions for foreigners in South Africa is useful.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Work Visa?

The processing time for a visa can vary depending on the type of visa and the workload of the Department of Home Affairs

However, it typically takes between 1 and 12 weeks to process a visa application.

Can I Work While Waiting For A Work Permit In South Africa?

No, you are not allowed to start working in South Africa while you are waiting for your visa. You are only allowed to work once you have received the visa.

Is there a Self-Employment Visa?

No, you have to specifically apply for a business visa for SA and invest 5 million ZAR within the startup or existing business.

When Can I Apply For Permanent Residence?

You can apply for permanent residence if you have been on a general visa or critical skills for 5 continuous years with the same employer.

You will not qualify for permanent residence with the ICT or Corporate Visa.

About Charl

Charl Vollmer

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.