How Can My Foreign Partner Get South African Residency

Love doesn’t always account for borders, laws and regulations and can’t always be kept local. There are thousands of people falling in love with foreigners from all over the world and what better place to settle down than the rainbow nation. If you’re dating a foreign citizen and you plan on settling down in South Africa, you’ll have to ensure that they live in the country legally or you could find yourself in trouble with the law.

Between 2007 and 2010, South Africa recorded over 7000 fraudulent marriages so it’s understandable why applicants need to jump through additional hoops.

Visa for foreign partner south africa
How to get your foreign partner South African residency

Let’s learn more about spousal agreements and foreign-partner residency in South Africa:

In South Africa, there are seven types of residency that you can apply for. These include a Continuous Work Permit, Relatives Permanent Residency Permit, Critical Skills Residence Permit, Business Permanent Residence Permit, Retirement Permanent Residency, Financial Independent Permanent Residency Permit, and for the focus of this article, a Spousal/Life Partner Permanent Residence Permit.

A Spousal Visa will allow the applicant to join a South African citizen or permanent resident in South Africa on a temporary visa, which is normally valid for 2-3 years.

If you’re a spouse or life partner of a South African Citizen or permanent resident, but you don’t qualify for study, work or business visas you can obtain the spousal or life partner visa that will allow you to work, study or live in South Africa on the grounds of that permit. In some cases, this process is perceived to be less tricky than applying for the before-mentioned visa types in your own right.

In the case of a life partner or spousal residency, it’s approved when you’re in a permanent relationship or married to a South African Citizen or a foreigner that has a permanent residency permit in South Africa. Keep in mind that as a couple you’ll need to submit proof that shows your relationship or marriage is still intact two-years after the status was permanent residency status was issued to the foreign partner.

As a couple applying for a life partner permanent residency, you’ll have to prove that you’re reliant on each other when it comes to emotional, physical and financial matters.

The application process is the same for both same-sex and heterosexual relationships. In order to qualify for approval, you’ll need proof of your marriage or cohabitation for at least the last 5-years.

Requirements for foreign partners visa application

To summarize, in order for you or your foreign partner to get South African Residency, you’ll have to meet the following requirements:

  • One of you should be a South African Citizen or hold permanent residency in South Africa
  • In order to apply for permanent residency, you’ll have to apply for a South African Spousal Permit that requires you to prove that you’ve been married for at least 5 years.
  • A temporary spousal agreement via doesn’t stipulate a minimum period of marriage.

Requirements documentation

When applying for the Temporary or Permanent Residency in South Africa, have the following documents ready:

  • Proof of residence or spousal citizenship in South Africa
  • Government issued Marriage Certificate (should you be married)
  • A letter of support from the partner that holds citizenship/permanent residency
  • Proof of current mental records and well-being
  • A completed temporary or permanent residency application form

Love knows no bounds

If your love can’t be kept within international borders it’s not the end of the world, all you need to do is follow the proper procedures. The sooner you handle these legal matters, the sooner you and your loved one can concentrate on settling down and building a life together in South Africa.

Having a professional immigration lawyer on your case can ease and speed up the process and take a lot of strain off your hands.  soon you and your loved one can settle down.

Speak to a professional

Contact Le Roux Attorneys, South African Visa specialists about your visa application. Start by selecting one of the enquiry options below

Posted in blog, Fall in love with SA, Live In SA and tagged , , .


  1. My name is sellina a south African am married to a Nigerian. Guy close to.four years we a baby girl one year and three mouth he paid lobola and wedded me in the church but he is asylum seeker and now they have just cancelled his asylum I don’t want to loose my husband how can. Help me

  2. My husband is a nigerian we have two kids so now I want him to have south African permit

  3. Hi my fiance is Pakistani, want to get married but he is struggling to get visa to come to SA as it will be his first visit,what can we do ,and how much will it cost

  4. Iam a zimbabwean married to a South African lady since 2010 last year December we got married traditionally now wht requirements a needed for me to have permit which allows me to stay in south Africa with my wife and 2 boys only thing l have is an asylum

  5. Hi married to a South African and have a 4yr old boy I’m worried coz don’t have money for the process I want to get married this yr can I get married with visitors stamp I’m a Zimbabwean Pliz help

  6. Hi I am inlove with my partner and his from Lesotho and we about to have a child together and we planning to get married,what do I need to do for him to get a south African id he’s got a passport and a work permit currently pls help

  7. I married a Turkish national here through traditional marriage (we did not marry in court)
    It wasn’t a good marriage.. I suffered constant verbal abuse and had little or neither moral support nor financial help . He left / moved out when I insisted no more responsibility and financial help from him as I have been unemployed for a year (my daughter is supporting me)
    He left me penniless with huge debt while he got another place for himself with designer stuff and super expensive furniture.
    How can I cancel his spousal/life partner visa?

  8. I have been staying with my husband for 12years he is from Zim I want him to get an SA I.D course we now have 2children and he is taking a good care of us we want to get married what can we do course he don’t have permit he only have passport

  9. Hi I date A guy from Malawi for 6 years now so I need him to have sauth Africa I’d what can I do help me

  10. I’m married to a South African and I was just given my permanent residency. Now it’s time for me to apply for a South African ID. However, when I went to Home Affairs to apply they told me that I needed a BI-30. Though I produced a certified copy of my unabridged marriage certificate (married in 2011), this wasn’t good enough. I like to get my South African ID as soon as I can, but I have no idea what they want or what steps I need to follow in terms of what they require proving I’m married to a South African.

  11. I have been living with my girlfriend In South Africa for years and we both want to get married but I am a Swaziland guy I don’t have any papers of identity and I dropped out in high school here in South Africa because I had no identity papers please help me marry my girlfriend

  12. Hi
    Im from Lesotho and been married to my Sa husband for almost 13 do i apply for a spouse visa because not beeing at school or working really kills me

  13. I’m married to a south african citizen wife in church and do the celebration in May 2018 sowe didn’t sign .What is needed for me to prosses the signings and to get the residency jus renew my passport the one that cause the delays

  14. hello in love with south african girl and im from zimbambwe. i want to marry her. my question is
    1. Are we allowed to do our marriage in south africa?
    2. if so , is it possible to change my citizenship to be a south african?
    3. or is it possible to get a permit to stay, work and study in south africa? what type of permit and how long does it expire?
    4. am i able to work in government institution in south africa ?

    please can i have the response today thank you

  15. The Home Affirs Department is failing us as the tax payers. I know of a Malawian Citizen woman who obtained a South African ID fraudulently. I asked her how she obtained theID and she said she just went to the Department and told them she wanted an ID. I asked her which document did they want for her to get it and she said they didn’t want any document. On the county of birth the ID reflected that it was South Africa.
    This does not sit well with me as a South African to realise that some of Home Affairs officials are doing this.

  16. I FOR ONE MY MOTHER,was a foreighn national but my father a SA citizin thru naturalisation,i dont have id but i wrote my matrix in SA wich is the only country i have ever known because i stayed with my father in SA ;man and boy,i did all my schooling in SA .

  17. Hey I wanna know what’s needed for i to apply for permanent resident… I am not married to any south African.. I was born in Lesotho but I wanna have an ID that state LESOTHO as my country of birth…

  18. I am a South African by naturalization in 1989 I am now residing in Zimbabwe can my Zimbabwean wife apply for South African citizenship thankyou

  19. Hi my name is Dimakatso, how can or what do my partner from Lesotho need to apply for a South African identity or citizenship?

  20. My temporary permit was rejected in 2016 then I appealed since then,
    No out come and no feed back from home affairs.
    What can I do or you can do for me?

  21. I have a friend who lost both his parents and his mother was from Lesotho but his father was a south African citizen, now they both left him in South Africa without a south African ID now he has finished his matrix but because he doesn’t have an ID he can’t get a job for himself or further his education. Now how does he get a south African ID or become a south African citizen

  22. I’m a South African and dating a foreign guy now we have a baby girl and we a planning to get married on this coming December I need to no what we supposed to do I really love the guy he loves me with my other two kids please sand me answer fast because we a planning. My name is Boitumelo

  23. Hi please help Im engaged to a Swaziland guy.he overstayed in S.A for 1 day coz of transport problems and they blocked his passport for 1 year. I’m pregnant and I’m working I cant visit him all the time. What can I do to bring him back he was also working this side but surely his been replaced already

  24. Hi,my name is Lucy I wnt to knw that how long it takes to got married With a foreigner, and my partner can use a passport to got married in south africa

  25. I am married to my South African wife for 23 years. We are returning to SA end of October early November and I need to get a residence permit. Can I be in SA while we apply and does this mean I might get chased out of SA if the permit takes longer than my 3 months visitors visa? I also have a daughter in SA whonis also a South African citizen. We also own property in SA jointly. Please can you advise.

  26. Good day.
    I am currently a full time student at the University of the Western Cape. I would like to get employed in South Africa. With this been said, I have a valid passport, qualification in South Africa. Since it is difficult to get employed in South Africa due to been a foreigner, I would like to know how much your service costs in order to obtain a work permit or permanent residence since I have been living in South Africa for the past 13 years.

    Kind Regards

  27. I am married to my foreign husband for 1 full year now. We married islamically customary marriage on the 19 March 2017. We have been to home affairs to register this marriage who asked for some documents from my husband’s family in pakistan and we obtained those. We approached the pakistani embassy in south africa and they said there’s a fee charged for giving us a letter to certify the documents. I am sceptical about paying money to home affairs and the embassy without being given a written proof rule on the funds they are asking for.

  28. Good day, I have my foreign partner and he have been here in SA since 2008 Jan until now, and I have been in love with him from 2013 July until now we have a son who’s 2months, 2weeks and 3days but he doesn’t have any home affairs papers, and he’s a really good men and really material how man he must be and I don’t want to loose him, and he’s a responsible men he’s just an angel of God that he have been sent to help, he took me from the floor with my whole family where anyone was not there to help us and he shows us the real love and he’s a lover men and he knows how to take care and to respect in everything. Please help me how can we do so that my men can have all the help of home affairs papers and residence help so that we can be in free happiness with our son, please help us, have a good day.

  29. Hi my fiancée is in Swaziland but he cannot come to the country because he had expired papers and he had been told to stay away from SA for 5years but now it is hard because we want marriage what can we do?

  30. Im in a relationship for 10 years’with a foreign and now we wand to get married .the problem is he is not able do renew his work parmit

  31. I want to apply for life partner visa,is have a asylum in South Africa,how can you help me

  32. To whom it concerns. Im South African and want to marry my Ukrainian boyfriend. Will the foreigners partners visa do it for us. He has overstayed though due to home affairs fault. Can we marry, and then apply for this visa? Kindly reply. We just want a future together. Thank you.

  33. I am in relationship for 4years now and we have a daughter she is 2 years old now and I’m willing to stay with my family forever I do support my family but we are not married because I am a border jumper. What can I do help please for the sake of my little girl.

  34. Please how can I get residents permit here in SA because I been here for 5years this and I have a wife who is south Africa citizen and two and half year daughter with her..I married her in the normal way by going to the parents to do the right thing but couldn’t go to home affairs with her due to my expiring visa and I try to do voluntary permit in home affair pass years now and I didn’t get it…Please I need advise How can I go about this becuase I stay with my wife and daughter and I want to build life with them together so please…need some help here.

  35. My name is Nhlanhla Dlamini am from Swaziland i got married 23/12/2013 and i did my spousal permit in 2015 and has expired 2017. My question is, what else can i do to quickly get a south african citizenship

  36. ten years married in south africa still no id even permanent residence i dnt have cos my husband doesnt earn 8500 sometimes i feel unwanted feel like commiting suicide cos m jst useless..or jst dirvoce my huby nd go back to own country..we have been suffering in SA for along time

  37. I hv a wife of foreigner from Lesotho I stay with her and is about 7 years now.She made a work permit and she dont bother herself to go at the border gate and I want to knw what is another thing that is needed so that I can do everything for her

  38. SA I refusing to give my foreign wife visa to stay with me in SA because my salary is less than R8500,, m a SA citizen and married for 5 years with my wife nd we are having a 4 years old daughter,, now SA doesn’t allow my wife to get visa to stay with me nd my daughter is suffering because she needs her mom,,

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