Immigrating to South Africa

Germans in Cape Town and South Africa

What Visa options are available to you?

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Every year, around one million Germans leave Germany to make a new start in another country. The reasons vary widely. Often the move to a warmer climate is desired. Therefore, immigration to South Africa is at the top of the German list - in Cape Town alone, the German community comprises up to 60,000 people. Germans in Cape Town and South Africa give a variety of reasons why they want to live in South Africa.

If you have also decided to make a new start in South Africa, the biggest hurdles you will face are likely to be of a legal nature. Even if a German passport is an unhindered admission ticket for holidaymakers, as a resident you must obtain a residence permit. There are, however, many ways to do this, as you can see by the large amount of Germans in Cape Town and South Africa.

Residence permit for South Africa - these are the options for Germans in Cape Town and SA

At this point, we would like to point out that immigration policy in South Africa is constantly changing. There are always innovations and changes in the current legal situation. Therefore, you should not assume that older information is valid today. Below, we list the best known forms of residence permits For Germans in Cape Town and South Africa, as well as their basic requirements.

Retirement Visas

Visa requirements for pensioners in South Africa are based on financial security. If you want to immigrate from Germany to South Africa as a pensioner, you can prove your financial independence either through a secure income, or sufficient capital. Capital investments, such as real estate, may also be stated as fixed capital. The monthly pension income must be at least 37,000 Rand, a verifiable capital at least 12 million Rand (as of March 2019). There is no age limit for this visa application.

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Deutsche in Kapstadt - Arbeiten in Kapstadt - German Job Portal - Germans in Cape Town

Work Visa

A work visa for South Africa must be applied for from Germany. It has not been possible to do this locally in South Africa since 2015. In order to submit a successful visa application, the employer in South Africa must be able to prove that it could not find any suitable South African candidates. A German speaking job increases the chances for a work visa considerably. It is often argued that the position must be filled by a German native speaker. The work visa is limited in time and must be renewed after three to five years. It expires when the employment relationship no longer exists. It is easy for Germans in Cape Town or Johannesburg to find a suitable German language job.

Student Visa - Study Permit

A student visa can be issued for a variety of school types. It is not mandatory to enroll at a university for this purpose. Visiting a school is also possible with a study permit.

Within the framework of a classic student visa, it is usually possible to work up to 20 hours per week. The student visa is also issued to persons who spend an academic year doing research - this type of student visa for South Africa may be extended to a maximum of three years. There are especially many Germans in Cape Town of all ages, who make use of this visa type.

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Arbeiten in Kapstadt - German Job Portal - Deutsche in Südafrika - German jobs

Volunteering Visa

If you would like to volunteer in South Africa, you can obtain a volunteer visa for up to one year. Depending on the type of organisation you are involved with, you will have to prove that you will be able to support yourself financially for the duration of your stay. For example, if your volunteer organisation provides accommodation and meals, the requirement for proof of equity is reduced. There are various organisations through which such a residence permit is possible:

  • Churches
  • National
    aid organisations
  • International
    aid organisations
  • Schools
  • Hospitals

The volunteering visa cannot be extended locally, or transferred to another visa. Many Germans in Cape Town or South Africa use this type of visa to gain valuable work experience or take time off for a social year.

Partnership Visa 

The partnership visa can be applied for by couples, even without a marriage certificate. In addition, only one of the partners must already have a valid residence permit, but he or she does not need to be South African. It is important that the partner (homosexual partnerships are also recognised) is able to support the applicant financially.

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Arbeiten in Kapstadt - German Job Portal - deutschsprachige Stellenangebote - German language jobs - Germans in South Africa

Family Reunion Visa

If a residence permit is to be acquired on the basis of a common child, a DNA test is often required to establish if the father is a South African. This is to prevent people from incorrectly recognising paternity.

The family reunification visa also applies to children and parents whose children are already of age and one of the two parties already has a right of residence.

Business Visa 

If a company is founded in Germany, but the day-to-day business is to be conducted in South Africa, the business visa can make this possible. You must prove that the company is financially viable. Many Germans in Cape Town or South Africa own a working business in South Africa, that delivers a good income for them.

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Arbeiten in Kapstadt - German Job Portal-Deutsche Jobs - Deutsche in Südafrika - Germans in South Africa-German jobs

Critical Skills Permit

In 2014, a revised list was published for the very popular Critical Skills Permit in South Africa. This includes 214 different job profiles. For these, you can apply for a general work permit if you meet the desired qualification profile. The critical skills visa intends to make it easier for qualified German speaking professionals to gain a foothold in South Africa. There are many Germans in Cape Town on this particular visa type.

Immigrating to South Africa from
Germany - applying for a permanent or temporary visa?

The above mentioned visa forms are always temporary residence permits. It is not so easy for Germans in Cape Town or South Africa to gain a permanent residence permit. Among other things, you must prove that you have lived in the country for many years, or that you have family contact in the country. The processing of permanent residence visas often takes long, sometimes up to many years.

Where do you get support for a visa
application for South Africa?

Since the rules for visa applications in South Africa are constantly changing and are often rather obscure, it is worth contacting an immigration lawyer for Germans in Cape Town and South Africa. Many companies have contacts in Germany as well as in South Africa. With a German-speaking lawyer, the ambiguities can be clarified quickly and efficiently.

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