Foreigners who are contemplating investing in the South African economy by establishing a business or by investing in an existing business in the country must apply for a business permit. As an applicant, you will be required to invest a prescribed financial capital contribution.

Compliance with various statutory requirements as well as the minimum investment amount will determine whether this will be a successful application. Certain industries are listed as undesirable, whereas others are actively supported by the Department of Home Affairs and/or the Department of Trade and Industry to grow the economy and in such cases requirements may be reduced.  The feasibility and economic contribution (in terms of job creation) are also important factors to consider when preparing your business plan. A foreign national must either invest the prescribed amount of R5 million into an existing business or provide plans to establish a new business, along with evidence of the capital contribution of R5 million. The Department of Home Affairs may reduce or waiver the capital contribution should the business be of national interest or when requested by the Department of Trade and Industry to do so.

A business visa in South Africa can be issued for 3 to 5 years. The way in which an application is motivated greatly influences the duration for which the visa is issued. For this reason, applicants who have had the benefit of professional’s services will usually receive a visa with longer validity.

For more information on how to conduct business in South Africa, see the Department of Trade and Industry’s guide on How to do Business in SA.