Most investors or entrepreneurs starting a business in South Africa need to apply for a Business Visa. This visa will be issued for up to three years at a time. Though it remains in the discretion of the Department of Home Affairs, it can be extended any number of times. It enables the visa holder to set up a business and to work in same within South Africa, but NOT to work for any other company as an employee (that would be reserved for work visa).
Where a Chartered Accountant was formerly required to confirm two out of seven possible conditions, under the Immigration Regulations 2014 (link) only a proof of the investment is required showing the:
- Availability of a minimum investment of ZAR 5 million into the book value of the business; or the
- Availability of material assets as investment into the business with a minimum value of ZAR 5 million; whereby
- The Business may be a new set-up or any existing business.
The above investment amounts do not need to have been invested already at the date of visa application. They are sufficient to be invested within 24 months and first proof of the availability of the funds as well as later the actual investment have to be presented to the Department of Home Affairs.
Further requirements for the issuing of this visa can be found in an undertaking of the applicant that 60% of the staff to be permanently employed will be SA citizens or holders of a Permanent Residence Permit and that this undertaking has to be fulfilled latest 12 months after the issue of the visa, section 14(1)(b).
Finally the provincial investment promotion office of the Department of Trade and Industry has to review the business plan and issue a vote of support for the business to be intended. For the main provinces those assigned are for: