Hello,I live in South Africa since Septe...

Asked by Taciana Martins on 15-08-2022 14:29:10
Question posted in the Immigration Law category relating to Western Cape


I live in South Africa since September 2017 because I was studying.

but my student visa expired now in June 2022.

I am portuguese, and would like to know in what ways can I get residency or stay in South Africa? Without a visa finding a job is also harder.

Is there any way I can get a visa or nationality to stay here?

thank you 

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 15-08-2022 14:33:37

Hi there and thank you for your question,

I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.

Please keep in mind that our discussions is for general information purposes only. Our engagement on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

Do you mind if I take a moment to review your question? I will come back to you shortly!

Att. Patrick

Message from the client

Thank you

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 15-08-2022 14:42:27

As you are no-doubt aware, if your student visa has expired, then you are no longer in South Africa legally and if you are found by the police then you will be deported. Also, if you are to leave South Africa now, the immigration officials at the airport will ask why you stayed in South Africa past the expiration date of your visa.

Any further visa application which you might make could be refused on the basis that you over-stayed your student visa. This is a risk that you run.

Legally, what you are supposed to do is to leave South Africa and then apply for a new visa, most probably a general work visa. The only problem with this type of visa is that you must already have an offer lined up, because part of your visa application is that you have to submit: "Full particulars of the employer including proof of registration with the Registrar of Companies"

There is a list of all of the different types of visa here: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/types-of-visas

Unfortunately, living in South Africa for 5 years won't get you residency here because in order for that to happen you must be here on a working visa. A student visa is not good enough.


Message from the client

I am currently in South Africa with a tourist visa, not illegally. Sorry if that was not clarified in my 1st message.

So besides a working visa there is no other way I can stay in South Africa?

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 15-08-2022 14:50:43

Okay. Understood. Good news. 

You need a visa to stay here legally - either a tourist visa, or a spousal visa, or a working visa, or a student visa. Those are really the options that you have. 

Message from the client

And what if I intend to open a business here in South Africa? Will that grant me residency or a visa?

And if so, what are the requirements for a foreigner to open a business here and get residency?

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 15-08-2022 15:12:46

It won't automatically grant you a business visa, but you could use the fact that you are opening a business in SA as a motivation as to why you should receive a visa.

Applications for permanent residency in South Africa are considered in terms of Section 27 (Residency-on-Other-Grounds Permits) of the Immigration Act 2002 (Act No 13 of 2002), and read with Regulation 33 of the Immigration Regulations. In terms of granting Permanent Residency Permits, emphasis is placed on immigrants who are in a position to make a meaningful contribution to broadening the economic base of South Africa.

This category of permits applies to foreigners who:

are in possession of a permanent work offer in South Africa, orhave exceptional skills and qualificationsintend to establish a business in South Africaqualify as Refugees in terms of Section 27(c) of the Refugees Actqualify as retired personsare financially independentare relatives (biologically or judicially adopted) of a South African citizen/permanent residence permit holder

In addition to completing and submitting Form BI-947, you must also provide the following documentation:

A full set of fingerprintsA marriage certificate / Proof of spousal relationship, if applicableA divorce decree / proof of legal separation, if applicableProof of custody of a minor, if applicableA death certificate for a late spouse, if applicableThe consent of parents in the case of minorsProof of judicial adoption of a minor, if applicablePolice clearance certificates for all countries in which you resided for a period of one year or longer since your 18th birthdayA valid temporary residency permit (if already in South Africa).

Additional documents are applicable to the different immigration categories and these are listed in the permanent residence application Form BI-947.

Source: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/permanent-residency

Message from the client

Thank you so much for all your patience and help.
Have a good day

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