Spousal Visa South Africa


Understand the benefits, cost, requirements and processing times.

Married Couple

What is a Spousal Visa?

The spousal visa authorizes the foreigner spouse of a South African citizen or permanent resident permit holder to sojourn two to three years in South Africa.

This is a temporary residency visa and not permanent residency.  The foreign spouse can apply for permanent residency after 5 years of marriage.

This is categorized under the relatives category of the immigration act. The visa can be divided into 2 temporary residency visa types.

Spousal Visa

Visitors Visa section 11.6

Not allowed to work, study or run your own business.

Issued with work authorization, study or business endorsement without having to satisfy the temporary residency visa requirements as per the immigration act.

Valid for two 2 years.

Valid for three years.

Can be extended.

Can be extended.

To be considered a spouse, one can be in a civil marriage or a registered life partnership that has been established for two years or more to prove that a good faith life-partnership exists. Life partnership needs to show proof of spousal relationships “documentary proof” with their “girlfriend” “Fiancée” or “boyfriend” ”Fiancé”.

South African Eligibility Criteria

The spouse visa allows a South African or permanent resident to sponsor their foreign spouse. The South African spouse or permanent resident permit holder must sign a financial and emotional support letter on the day of submission at the VFS submission location of your choice. This new rule has been in existence since February 2023.

  • Have a valid marriage certificate .
  • Relationship should be a genuine partnership between couples.
  • No criminal record on your police clearance certificate sometimes referred to as “Good conduct certificate” or “background check”
  • A South African or permanent resident permit holder should earn R 8500.00 per month or more as per the immigration act.

What Are The Benefits?

The visa allows you to reside in South Africa alongside your husband/wife.

The greatest advantage is if you wish to work, study or start your own business then you have to apply for the spousal section 11.6 and add a work endorsement for example.

Why is this an advantage?

The spousal visa section 11.6 allows you to add an endorsement without having to satisfy the temporary residency visas immigration act requirements:

  • Any work visa category visa has its own set of requirements.
  • Business visa requirements as per the immigration act requires foreign nationals to invest 5 million ZAR within their business.
  • No need to obtain undertaking letters from an Educational institution etc.

How Does It Differ From A Life Partner?

The immigration act does not differentiate between a life partnership or spousal. This means that the word spouse is not confined to matrimony but includes life partners.

South Africa’s immigration act recognizes permanent homosexual or heterosexual life partnerships as spousal relationships.

A major difference when applying for the life partner visa is that foreign nationals must show documentary proof of 2 years cohabitation and apply for a life partner cohabitation contract (attestation of relationship).

A marriage certificate is needed for married couples and no life partner cohabitation contract is needed. Furthermore, 2 years of existence relationship evidence is not required.

What Are The Requirements?

The foreign national must collect and compile the following documents:

South African partner or Permanent resident 

Must be present at the VFS submission location on the day of submission.

Foreign national and spouse 

Must submit 1 recent passport photograph each. I recommend having two handy with you.

Online Application form

Completed and signed. No handwritten forms accepted.

Original passport including certified copy

Must be valid and not expire with 30 days of your intended departure from South Africa.

Original Medical Report

Completed by a registered medical practitioner and must include the practitioner’s contact information and license number. Document must not be older than 6 months.

Police Clearance Report

For any country where you resided for more than 12 months in the past 5 years. Document must not be older than 6 months.

Yellow fever vaccination certificate (if applicable)

Required if you have traveled or plan to travel to/through a yellow fever zone. Direct transit through such a zone exempts you from this requirement.

Marriage Documents

Marriage certificate

Spousal Relationship Documents

Affidavit proving your spousal relationship to a South African or resident. Documentation demonstrating cohabitation, shared financial responsibilities, and any children from the relationship.

Financial Documents

Proof of financial support: Current payslip or certified bank statement (not older than 3 months) demonstrating R8,500 per person, per month

Divorce Documents (if applicable)

Divorce decree

Death Certificate (If applicable)

Death certificate of deceased spouse.

Proof payment of fees

Government fees, Submission centre fee

Full birth Certificates (If applicable)

For any dependent children

Legal Documents (If applicable)

Legal separation order

What Is The Cost of Submission?

Filing Fees


Home Affairs Fee


VFS Submission Centre Fee

R 1550.00

What Is The Processing Time at Home Affairs?

The Department of Home Affairs is currently taking two years to process permits. The reason for this is the huge visa backlog.

Home Affairs officials need to verify claims and documentation for the spousal visa.

The Department of Home Affairs currently needs to verify notarial agreements, birth certificates, bank statements and certificates.

The processing time in South Africa is currently 24 months. The processing times abroad at a South African embassy, mission or consulate is subject to how busy they are. Expected times abroad are usually between 30 to 90 days.

Currently a work visa takes about just over 12 months to process. In my experience a work visa according to Home Affairs has less verifying.

Many people have applied for a work visa instead.

Our Solution To The Lengthy Processing Time

We have advised our clients to submit abroad at a South African embassy in their country of residence. 

The processing times abroad are faster compared to The Department of Home Affairs.

This means that you would have to fly back to your country and submit there.

An example: We had a client who was unhappy about the processing times in SA and we advised her to apply at the South African embassy in New York. 

She received her visa within 3 weeks after applying then came back.

What Is VFS

VFS is a visa facilitation service in South Africa contracted to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). 

VFS is responsible for quality control of your spousal visa applications and all other temporary residency visa applications.

They have to collect your biometrics such as fingerprints and photograph.

Once your submission documents has been submitted through them then its sent to the Department of Home Affairs.

Common Challenges Couples Experience

Applying for a visa often comes with some challenges throughout the process.

  • Couples never have proof of financial ties to one another. In our experience its best to add your partner as a beneficiary to your  will, life policy or funeral policy or add them as a dependent to your medical aid. The reason for this is that the Department of Home Affairs can see that your relationship is genuine because of the amount of fraudulent relationships in South Africa.
  • Forms are incomplete or noted filled in accurately which is a cause of rejection.
  • A large percentage of people often forget to include their divorce decrees or death certificates from their previous relationship. 

In our experience to combat these issues, we advise all clients to build an evidence based application. 

A Real Life Story Of A Client We Assisted

A couple approached Migrate With Q and the wife explain to us that her husbands visa was due to expire within a week.

They were frantic and did not know how they were going to submit within a week.

We assured them that we will have the documents compiled and inspected within two days. 

They were uncertain as they thought a police clearance was needed from his country. We simply explained that if he has not been back home after 15 years for more than 12 months then we did not need the police clearance.

The Department of Home Affairs amended the regulation with regards to police clearances and they were not aware that you no longer needed to apply for a police clearance from your country if you have not lived there for more than 12 months in the last five years. He thought that when applying for a change of status that one was needed.

We managed to compile his application and address all the requirements.

Our first hand experience came in handy to ensure that we avoid him being illegal in the country.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I allowed To Apply In SA?

Great news for families! A June 28, 2019 Constitutional Court decision now allows spouses and children of South African or permanent residents to apply for long-term visas while in South Africa on a tourist visas. This eliminates the need for them to travel back home for the submission process.

Can You Be Employed?

The restrictions of the spousal visa is that you are not allowed to work, study or start your own business. 

If you would like to have a work endorsement, study rights or business rights then you have to apply for the spousal section 11.6 to add one of those endorsements.

Is It Easier To Apply For A Employment Visa?

It is easier for the foreign national spouse to apply for a work endorsement compared to applying for a work visa.

The work visa requirements are subject to proving that your employer has exhausted all options in first finding a suitable South African or permanent resident holder to fill the position. This is not the case with a spousal visa.

Do We Need To Submit Our Original Certificate?

No, you are required to provide a certified copy of your certificate to the Department of Home Affairs. 

Can We Submit Handwritten Forms?

No, you are required to complete the online forms and then print. You are only required to sign with a blank pen.

Can I Renew?

Yes the visa can be renewed closer to the expiry of the visa. The renewal must be submitted through VFS.

Contact Migrate With Q for a free assessment and. Our immigration agents will ensure that you get the visa.

My Expertise: I have over 12 years of experience in the area of temporary residence visas in South Africa. During this time, I’ve assisted countless couples in navigating the process, including successfully overcoming rejections. I have experience in applying for permanent residence. – Charl Vollmer

The content information was cited from the following:

1. Charl Vollmer – Immigration experience.
2. Department of Home Affairs.
3. VFS South Africa.
4. Visa backlog information from the South African

Disclaimer: The information provided is for general guidance to our readers and should not be considered legal advice. We encourage our readers to make use of our free assessment to get professional help with their unique circumstance.