Information about a Life Partner Visa

Would my girlfriend/boyfriend or fiancée be regarded as a spouse?

A girlfriend/boyfriend or fiancée is considered a spouse only if you and your South Africa Citizen or permanent resident holder can show and prove that you have resided together for two (2) years, before applying for the Life Partner visa. The couple must provide proof of their cohabitation, shared financial responsibilities, and mutual financial support to each other.

Some of the documents you are required for a Life Partner visa:

  • Valid passport with at least two free pages and valid for 30 days after the end of your visit.
  • Photocopy of any temporary residence visas in the passport
  • Proof of your relationship has existed, (cohabitation) and you have resided together for 2 years before submission of your visa application
  • Shared Finances between both partners (Ideal to open a joint bank account)
  • Proof of a minimum of ZAR 8,500 per month (unless you’re the spouse of a South African citizen or foreigner with permanent residence status).
  • Police clearance certificates from any country you’ve lived in for a year or more since the age of 18.
  • An affidavit where a spousal relationship to a South African citizen or resident is applicable, as well as documentation proving cohabitation and the extent to which the related financial responsibilities are shared by the parties 
  • Medical Certificate – Cannot be older than 6 months from date of issuance
  • Radiological Report – Cannot be older than 6 months from date of issuance

Will my partner and I be interviewed as part of the application process?

The Department of Home Affairs may conduct individual interviews for the foreign national, as well as the South African citizen or permanent resident holder. Thereafter, the Department of Home Affairs will have an interview with the couple together. The purpose of these interviews is to determine if the relationship is legitimate, and not based on marriage, to obtain a visa for South Africa.  

As Visa Facilitation Centre’s (VFS) are now handling the visa and permit submissions, the interview process may not be requested. Please, however, keep in mind that the Department of Home Affairs could still request to complete an interview at any stage, should they have any doubts over the relationship.

What is the validity period of a Life Partner visa?

The Life partner visa falls under Section 18 – Relative visa. The validity period of Section 18 – Relative visa is for two (2) years, with the option to extend the visa from within South Africa. It is important to remember to extend the relative visa at least 20 to 24 weeks before your visa expires, as the Department of Home Affairs is taking longer to process the visa applications due to COVID, and being short-staffed. 

Am I able to change the status of my visitor’s visa to a Relative / Spousal visa in South Africa?

On the 28th June 2019, the constitutional court handed down judgment in an application for direct leave to appeal against a decision of the High Court, Western Cape Division, Cape Town (High Court) The judgment ruled that it was possible for a Foreign Spouse or Child of a South African citizen / and or permanent resident holder to change the status of their long term visas from within South Africa, on a visitor’s visa, without needing to leave the Country and submit from their home countries.

Will I be able to change the status of my visa from a Relative visa to a Spousal visa with rights to study, work or open a business in South Africa?

Yes, the holder of a relative visa may change the status from within South Africa. The foreign spouse of a South African citizen or permanent resident who has to obtain an acceptance letter from a school, an offer of employment or wishes to conduct own business, may apply for a spousal visa in terms of section 11(6)(b) of the Act.

How long does the Life Partner visa (Relative visa) take to process in South Africa?

Currently, the Department of Home Affairs (submitting in South Africa) has indicated that the processing time for these applications is roughly taking a minimum of 20 weeks from the date of submission, due to COVID, and being short-staffed. 

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