How To Apply For A South Africa Business Visa

The application process for a South Africa Business Visa may seem daunting, but with the right information, it becomes easy and manageable. The government of South Africa issues Business Visas for foreigners to live, work and invest in South Africa which depend on the nature of the visa and the period granted. Business visa applications are done through the Visa Facilitation Centre.

South Africa issues Business Visas for foreigners to live, work and invest in South Africa

A Complete List Of 17 Business Types And Industries For South African Business Visa

There are several industries and forms of business that one can invest in. Hence it is important for you to consider all options before you settle on the South Africa Business Visa you will be applying for. A summarized list of 17 industries include the following;

  1. Agro-processing
  • Fisheries and aquaculture i.e., freshwater aquaculture and marine culture
  • Food processing in the milling and baking industries
  • Beverages viz. fruit juices and the local beneficiation, packaging and export of indigenous teas
  • High value natural fibers viz., organic cotton and downstream mohair production

2. Business Process Outsourcing and IT Enabled Services

  • Call centers
  • Back Office Processing
  • Shared Corporate Services
  • Enterprise solutions e.g., fleet management and asset management
Textile, Clothing and the Leather industry qualify for a South African Business Visa. Image source: Bycurated

3. Capital / Transport equipment, metals and electrical machinery and apparatus

  • Basic iron and steel
  • Basic precious and non-ferrous metals
  • Casting of metals
  • Other fabricated metal products: metalwork service activities

 4. Electro-Technical

  • Advanced telecommunications
  • Software development
  • Software and mobile applications
  • Smart metering

5. Textile, Clothing and Leather

  • Spinning, weaving and finishing of textiles
  • Knitted and crocheted fabrics and articles
  • Wearing apparel except fur apparel

6. Boatbuilding

  • Boatbuilding and associated services industry
  • Engines and engine systems
  • Marine equipment and accessories
The basic structure of a boat

 7. Pulp, paper and Furniture

  • Manufacture of wood, paper and products of wood and cork
  • Manufacture of articles of straw and plaiting materials

8. Automotive and Components

  • engines, radiators, filters and components thereof
  • air conditioners / climate control systems
  • alarms and Tracking devices
  • axles, transmission shafts
  • body parts and panels
  • catalytic converters, silencers and exhaust systems and components

9. Power generation:

  • Independent power generation, energy infrastructure and alternative energy
  • Nuclear Build Programme i.e., joint ventures, consortiums and the establishment of new companies to grow South Africa’s nuclear manufacturing capability and nuclear supply industry to supply into the nuclear build programme

10. Renewable Energy:

  • Solar PV and Concentrated Solar Power manufacture/assembly
  • Biomass
  • Energy efficiency and energy saving industries
  • Solar water heaters
  • Waste Management 
  • Lowering greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites

 11. Advanced Manufacturing

  • Nano-materials
  • High performance materials based on natural resources (advanced bio-composites
  • Advanced materials, polymers and composites
  • Medical devices, diagnostics and composites

12. Tourism infrastructure

  • accommodation – hotels, boutique hotels, lodges and resorts
  • urban integrated tourism/ entertainment precincts
  • adventure, – eco-, sport-, conference- and cultural tourism
  • infrastructure developments

13. Chemicals, plastic fabrication and pharmaceuticals

  • basic chemicals
  • water treatment chemical products
  • plastic products: polypropylene and polyvinculchloride
  • medical (drips and syringes), manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredient
  • (APIs) for key anti-retrovirals (ARVs)
  • Manufacture of reagents for AIDS/HIV diagnostics
  • Production of vaccines and biological medicines

14. Creative and Design Industry

  • Film studios, treaty film co-production ventures, distribution infrastructure
  • Multi-media
  • Post-production
  • Jewelry manufacturing and design
  • Fashion design

 15. Oil and Gas

  • Maintenance ship and rig repair
  • Fabrication – equipment and specialized components
  • Specialized services – non-descriptive testing, inspection services, SHEQ services
  • Exploration – technical services: seismic surveys, logging, environmental impact assessments, etc.
  • Exploration – offshore
Oil and Gas

16. Mineral beneficiation

  • Downstream processing and value addition

17. ICT

  • IT
  • Wireless and Telecom
  • Electronics

Required Documentation For South Africa Business Visa

When you have decided to start your South Africa business visa application, it is important for you to compile the following requirements, in order to ensure their availability when needed by the Visa Facilitation Centre. 

  • An investment amount of 5 million Rand. Evidence of these funds should be available as an overseas deposit. Certified proof of investment in the business which shows in detail proof of the previous financial year will be required.
  •  A complete business plan will be required in order to meet the requirements of the Department of Home Affairs criteria;
  • Proof that at least 60% citizens or permanent residents are permanently employed in various positions directly in the operations of the business;
  • Proof of registration with the relevant professional body, council or board recognized by SAQA in terms of section 13(1)(i) of the National Qualifications Framework Act, where applicable;
  • Proof of registration with the South African Revenue Service (SARS);
  • A foreigner who invests or has invested in an existing business as a partner shall submit certified proof of investment in the business and the partnership agreement.
  • medical reports;
  • police clearance certificates;
  • A completed temporary residency application form;
  • Compliance in respect of South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) obligations;
  • An appropriate company structures 
Travel checklist for you documents icluding passports and visas

South Africa Business Visa Application Procedure

When applying for your South Africa Business Visa, take note of the following documentation. The application and submission can be done online using the Visa Facilitation Web Portal. The online submission will require you to also submit the abovementioned documentation for assessment. Submission of the following requirements should also be done;

  • Payment of application fee of 1,350rand
  • A copy of a birth certificate in respect of the applicant;
  • A copy of Valid passport and passport photos
  • Biometrics in respect of any applicant over the age of 16 years;
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate if that you have travelled or intends travelling from or transits through a yellow fever endemic area;
  • A police clearance certificate and medical and radiological reports;
  • The documents relating to the applicant’s marital status or spousal relationship
  • An unabridged birth certificate in respect of each dependent child;

You will also be required to attend an interview at the Visa Facilitation Centre. Make sure you take along your appointment letter, proof of payment of the application fee along with your passport or travel documents.  Once you have gone through the interview and enrolled your fingerprint, it is important to indicate whether you will receive their response in person or you will ask someone to collect on your behalf. If you have assigned someone to collect the processed application on your behalf it is important for you to prepare an affidavit that shows they have power of attorney over your documentation. 

Visa stamp

The business visa application process is quite rigorous and requires an average of 3 to 6 months. You will be able to track your application online during this time. Once your application is processed you can collect in person using your valid passport, receipt of payment and SAPS issued affidavit where required. 

To close the application for a South Africa Business Visa is fairly simple once you have decided which industry and business you want to invest in. Compiling the necessary documentation and submitting them is also an important part of the application process. Finally, your application should be processed within 3-to-6 months.

Olunloyo Akindele Olufemi


I love travelling. I cherish my Lagos. And I adore my new home in Johannesburg. Lagostojozi Blog is my passion project which strives to promote cooperation, healthy relations and social cohesion between the people of these two great African megacities of Lagos and Johannesburg.

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