spousal visa

Relief for spousal visa applicants

In-country change of status to spousal visa now allowed

VFS in South Africa has been instructed to allow visitors visa holders to change status from within South Africa.  In-country change of status will however only be allowed when the visitor wants to change to long-stay visitor visas or to a spousal visa.

[UPDATE – see edit below]

VFS accepts all visa applications in South Africa on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).  The instruction came directly from the DHA and was communicated to VFS staff by Kiran Abraham, Deputy General Manager in South Africa.

The changes will take effect immediately.

Previously, visitors had to submit visa change applications from their home countries.  This policy, which came into effect in 2014, was hugely controversial.

The decision follows the Cape Town High Court’s decision in Stewart v Department of Home Affairs that visitors should be allowed to apply for other visas from within South Africa in certain circumstances.

Industry insiders have welcomed the move.

Contact SAvisas.com for peace of mind and expert immigration advice.


[Edit 6 January 2017VFS now flatly refuses to accept applications from foreign nationals who try to change their status in South Africa from a visitor’s visa to an 11(6) spousal visa or volunteer’s visa .  In instances where VFS has [been forced to] accept the application, the Department of Home Affairs has rejected the visa application on the grounds that “The applicant is not allowed to change status from within the country”.  

The DHA’s rejection of these applications are clearly unlawful.  However, until a court orders the DHA to abide by the Stewart judgment, applicants are not advised to attempt these changes of status from within the country.


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, News.


  1. The information above says it is now legal to apply for a spousal visa from within South Africa but then at the bottom of the page it says that Home Affairs are still rejecting applications. Which is it? Yes or no?

    I came here just over 3 years ago and married an SA citizen in March 2015. Since then I have twice applied for a Spousal Visa but it was turned down on the grounds that I cannot change the status of my holiday visa. Can you help?

  2. Hi im Mahlodi im married to a pakistanu guy so his papers are lapsed due to my mistakes i got a child with african guy but he took her as his child we stay together and now he went back to his coutry then they said he cant come back because he dnt have papers bt we are still in relationship and i want him to come back,how can u assit me

  3. I am married to a Souh African woman through white and traditional wedding and we are now blessed with a child but unfortunately I am holding a Asylum Permit which I was told that I can’t legalize the marriage with the home affairs. Please if I take my wife to my country to marry. I would like to know If I can be able to apply for the spousal Visa with my country marriage certificate? Better still I can you help with this.

  4. Hi, my husband is Canadian and we are legally married since 2016. We have a child of 10 months born in south Africa. We have just learned that his spousal application has been rejected for no change of status within the Republic.
    Before applying we call vfs who said we could apply from South Africa.
    How can you help us and what are your fees for appeal?

  5. I lost my passport but I was having valid study permit but how can u help me to get it in my new passport thanks

  6. I have a visiting visa extension and I want to attach to my husband’s study visa . it’s written I can’t change my status in south africa but I want to know if it’s possible to attach to my husband’s visa.

  7. I am a US citizen currently holding a temporary residence visa (volunteer) and am planning on getting married to a South African citizen. From what I understand, I must be there in person to marry her. But then if I wanted to change from an 11.1 to an 11.6 I must again leave to apply for the status change in my own country? This seems completely unnecessary and (in my case) prohibitively expensive. Is there any way to apply from within the country?

  8. Hi. My name is Abraham Ramhakana from Botswana, I have a South African girlfriend who is pregnant right now, so she doesn’t want me to go back to Botswana. Now the problem is I am not working because I don’t have a work permit. So can you help get a Life Partner Visa with Work Rights

  9. Hi I am shahadath hosssion indeed to help I use salyam 6 years I am married in south africa 2015 December I need parmit how can I gate it pls help me

  10. Hi my husband has since applied for a temporary residence permit 11 months ago but still thers no response.We have been married since 2011 he is Zimbabwean nationality and I am south African.
    Please kindly assist

  11. If I should understand this document well I cannot apply for spousal visa while going to visit my Husband who is schooling in SA? I don’t seem to understand.

  12. Hi am Mats’epo from Lesotho and I am married to my lovely husband from Mahikeng in North west this year March we have signed in Home Affairs so what I want to ask is this, where can I apply for spousal permit because we r staying here in Mahikeng and I have that Lesotho special permit so I need to know that is it possible for me to apply for spousal permit or I should go back home,

  13. hi my husband and I have been married since 2013,we have 2 children .we wanted to apply for permanent resident visa since he is using asylum but we were told he must wait to be deported and will apply from his home country. please help

  14. Hie. I have a zsp and Im legally married to a South African citizen for just over a year now. Is it possible for me to apply for a temporary residence permit.

  15. i would like to know if a spouse or life partner can visa can be obtained by a spouse or life partner of a zsp holder

  16. hie l have a zsp permit and want to know if l am able to legally marry.My patner is an SA citizen and we ha a grown up SA child now

  17. I am a permanent resident, need advice. my wife was on holiday visa 3 months overstayed. Went to the home affairs and vfs but they have refused to give permission to issue any visa or change of status. I even asked is there any chance that we can do any appeal or request change of status through a lawyer. But home affair officers said she must go back and apply in the home country. Please advice thanks in advanve. Bob

  18. Good day

    Following this post, my (recent) wife and I were relieved with your post especially after we have had a taxing 8 month process to get all relevant documentation from DHA in order to officially get married.
    My wife is a German national who entered the country on a research visa (2 years) to collaborate with me for writing purposes.
    We fell in love and 18 months later tied the knot.

    On applying for her spousal visa, both DHA and VFS refused, saying she has to return to Germany to do the application.

    If this is the truth, the information you posted above is either incorrect or outdated.

  19. I am on a TRV 11.6, expiry of the permit is 02/03/2017, but my appointment at VFS is only 19/01/2017.
    Should the new permit not come before expiry of current permit should I leave country and re-enter on holiday Visa?
    Do outcomes usually take 8-10 weeks or longer?

  20. Hi Shana

    Thank you for visiting SAVisas.com and connecting with us.

    We appreciate your consideration of our services. Regrettably, we do not provide services for asylum seekers or refugees.

    For assistance relating to your enquiry please consider contacting one of the following entities:

    – The Department of Home Affairs: Please visit http://www.dha.gov.za for more information.
    – Visa Facilitation Service South Africa: Please visit http://www.vfsglobal.com or contact 021 423 6573 for more information
    – People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty: Please visit http://www.passop.co.za/ or contact 076 671 4708 for more information
    – Scalabrini: Please visit http://scalabrini.org.za/ or contact 021 465 6433 for more information
    – Legal Aid South Africa: Please visit http://www.legal-aid.co.za/ for more information

    We hope that the above information is helpful. We wish you all the best.

    Warm regards,
    The SAVisas Team

  21. hey stacey

    My husband has had an assylm status for almost 5 years.We got married on the 2 nd of Nov 2016.We need to know if he should apply for a Refugee Id or apply for a passport to obtain a spousal visa.

    thank you

  22. Good day, tell me is you have a life partner permit and in the 2 years you end up separating, and you meet someone new, can you apply for change in your life partner

  23. Hi Mishelle

    Thank you for contacting us. Please email this outline of your brother’s situation to immigration@lr-inc.co.za and include your contact detail and a consultant will get back to you to explain the process and advise you on a solution moving forward for your brother.

    Kind regards,
    The SAVisas Team

  24. Hi Stacey

    My brother in is on V list status currently and he was placed there without him being informed. He has business in South Africa and he is also married to a South african ciziten but was told he is banned from entering the country. He was deported while waiting for TRP application to be finalized. How does the process work having him come back to country. His wife recently went to visit him In India and was told by the south African Emabassy they could do nothing. He made an appeal to have the decision over turned but he was rejected. It wasnt his fault the process for his re application of the TRP took so long and he has proof he applied but he was deported before he could hear a decision.

  25. Good day Claire,

    i have been a recognized refugee for more than 5 years now, i went to the original place i obtained my refugee status form (TIRO Pretoria) to inquire about the process of obtaining an indefinite refugee status and then apply for a permanent residency.
    I was told that they do not have any clue of what the steps are, they only gave me a form to fill. I filled in that form and have been, for the past almost 2 years now, trying to locate the office of the standing committee of refugees affairs, their latest known address was on 266 Pretorius street Pretoria, that office has been closed for more than 3 years apparently.
    I have been desperately trying to email officials from the DHA to get any info, but i have literally been bounced from one official’s email to another with absolutely no solid answer or even clear indication of their offices or an email that could help…
    Do you perhaps have any idea of what i can do? Or maybe an email you can refer me to? Or any kind of assistance?

  26. Good Day,

    You will be able to apply within the country and we will certainly be able to assist you. Please send an outline of your situation to immigration@lr-inc.com and a consultant will get back to you today.

    Kind regards,

  27. Good day,

    I am South African and have been in a long-term relationship of 8 years with a dual national Angolan/Portuguese. We have all documents for Spousal Visa requirements in place but have yet to apply. Given the new change in rules, can my partner apply in SA through your services without having to leave to either Angola or Portugal? At the current rate, he enters with his Portuguese passport and is given a tourist visa for 3 months only. This obviously increases his risk of being questioned for his frequent travels into the country. We need a more permanent solution.
    Please advise.

  28. Hi,

    I am married to an RSA citizen and have a son who is also an RSA citizen. I have been living and working in RSA since the end of 2008 on visitors 11.6. All this years I have been renewing this visa by myself. Recently I was not able to get all the docs in time and hence vfs didn’t accept my application to renew my visa. To be on the right side of law I left the country and came back in with a visitors 11.1. I resigned from work as visitors visa doesn’t allow me to work. Can I convert my visitors visa 11.1 back to visitors 11.6?

  29. Hi Tony. Unfortunately not. A spousal visa and a life partner visa have different requirements. Please visit our website for more information: https://www.savisas.com/. Feel free to submit an enquiry and a specialist in these matters will get back to you.

  30. Hello Fortunate. If your children are Zimbabwean citizens, they would have to return to their home country before submitting an application for study visas. We can certainly assist them once they have returned to Zimbabwe. Please visit https://www.savisas.com/study-visa-south-africa/ and fill in the assessment at the bottom of the page. An expert in this field will get back to you.

  31. Hello Adam. If the Standing Committee of Refugee Affairs certifies that you can remain indefinitely in South Africa, you would be eligible for permanent residency.

  32. Hello Andrew. We understand that VFS has not been allowing submission of applications of this nature. However, we do have written confirmation that we can submit these types of applications.

  33. Hi Nkansah. As your wife is currently the holder of an asylum visa, we would not be able to assist her whilst she is still in South Africa. We can certainly assist her with a new visa application once she has returned to her home country. Please visit https://www.savisas.com/spouse-visa-south-africa and submit an enquiry and specialists in these matters will get back to you.

  34. Hi Robert. Unfortunately the ZSP is a type of visa. In order to get an ID book you would have to be a permanent resident or a SA citizen.

  35. Hi Marjolein.

    Thank you for your message. I don’t know if you have any (work) obligations in the Netherlands, but you could apply for a Retirement Visa. There is only one requirement: You need at least R37,000 a month until you leave South Africa (which is about €2,158.75 according to most recent exchange rate). On the following page you find more information: https://www.savisas.com/retirement-visa-south-africa/

    We can help you with your retirement visa, in which we will also speed up the application process for you, since this could take a long while with The Department of Home Affairs. The best would be to send us your inquiry again in an email to immigration@lr-inc.co.za, and we will continue our conversation from there. Our consultants will explore your options and get back to you as soon as possible.

    Kind regards,
    Claire, SAVisas

  36. Hi there,

    I got married in 2013 but i never had time to registered my marrige legally in home affairs.i am holding genral work permit and i have 1 child, we are custumry married Am i qualified to permanent residence.

  37. We (from Holland) own a house in Yzerfontein, but do not have more than the 90 days permit. It is not clear to me where and how we have to apply for a longer stay visum. It is very unhandy to count days all the time we are here. But when we book a ticket you must now the return date. Can you help us out?

  38. Hi
    I want relative parmit but VSF first rejected my relative permit behalf my brother now what can I do

  39. My wife with my two kids live in south africa with her pareints
    She has a relative visa and my father in law has southafrican id
    How i can join my family there while im in pakistan plz give me valid info plz plz plz

  40. If someone come from India with visit visa and her husband has valid work permit holder can she apply to continue to reside with husband here via vfs?

  41. Hello,

    VFS told me that I still have to apply from my home country. Where’s the order from DHA to VFS? When does it take place there?

  42. Please I need critical skill permit and I don’t have any valid permit on my passport I have over stay issue how can I go about it I need your reply please

  43. Hi, im a ghanaian n usingg general working permit, my permit is 5yrs n 2yrs remaining to expired, can I use the remaining 2yrs to cover my wife who is using asylum nw? Pls I need ur help urgently.

  44. Hie there I would to apply for study permits for my children two were born in S.A and 1 in Zim myself and my husband had Dzp permits and now on Zps how do we go about it the kids go to school here in S.A

  45. Hy… l have a asylum is it possible for me 2 get a resident permit coz l almost hve 6years wth a asylum… Hw can l get helped

  46. hi
    I am using general work permit for 4 %11 months what can I do to apply for permanent residence? please I need your help

  47. Hi There, just want to ask if the spouse of SA national is still not allowed to work. I’m holding temporary residence visa. I just find it unfair becuase my husband is SA national.
    Thank you for your reply.

  48. Hey Juliet. If your fiance has legal status in Angola, they should be able to apply for a SA visa from Angola.

  49. Hi Lincoln Julius. The general rule is to be able to invest or have invested R5 million, but in certain cases applicants in some industries can apply for a waiver.

  50. Hey John Max. Foreign nationals married to South African citizens qualify for permanent residence after 5 years of marriage.

  51. Hey John. No you cannot. You need to apply for a new passport and have your current visa transfered to the new passport.

  52. Good evening.my fiance is from the Philippines,but currently based in Angola.what are the requirements for him to obtain a business/working permit.it is very costly for him to go back to embassy in manila to apply for anything.is it possible to get a permit through Angolan embassy.

  53. Dear Shafique. Could you send us an email to immigration@lr-inc.co.za, explaining your wife situation, so since when is she in South Africa, which permit does she have? Then we will get back to you as soon as possible.

  54. Hey Stewart. Maybe we can assist you with this. The best is to send us an email at immigration@lr-inc.co.za and explain us your situation. We will see if and how it is possible to speed up the process.

  55. I want a busness permit but I don’t have the 5million and I also have a registered southafrican company what must I do

  56. I wish to enquire if it is now possible to apply for a permanent residence from a ZSP permit if I have evidence that I have been in the country for more than 5 years and have been using some other permit before changing to ZSP. Again is it now possible to change from a ZSP permit to a general work visa/ permit.

  57. Does it means that if a foreign national married in SA so he/she could apply for permanent citizen like all European countries

  58. Hi there
    Need to apply wife’s permit extension
    What’s your fee?

  59. Please contact me i want to apply for a spousal visa with endorsements to work here in s.a . Please contact me about the requirements and your price structures.

  60. I lost every document of mine including the passport .But am holding a temporary permit that allows me to remain ,work and study in RSA can I be granted citizenship via marriage with this document?

  61. Hello! I was married 2007 till now , I had a 2year permit on my passport . Last year in May I aplied for a permanent resident permit nd it happens that my my permint expires while I was waiting for appointment . I went for the appointment they couldn’t help me , they say I must go to home affiars for the latter of good cause . Since then till now its a year nw I haven’t get the later yet from them nd still don’t have apermit . What else should I do about this situation? Thank you

  62. I paid lobola recently, do I qualify for a spousal permit with that type of marriage, (Customery)

  63. Hey Raymond.
    Do you mean that you are banned from South Africa?
    You are prohibited to enter South Africa, however, you could appeal to overturn the decision on the basis of good cause. You can read more about this on this page: https://www.savisas.com/banned-from-entering-south-africa/

    If you do want to make an appeal, please do send us an email to immigration@lr-inc.co.za because we can help you with this. Please also include the reason for the prohibition.

    Kind regards,
    Team SAVisas

  64. Hey Satay. Unfortunately we do not arrange marriage services, but I suggest you contact the Department of Home Affairs. They can definitely help you.

  65. hi I hv got married was in 2004 nd I got PRP nd I’d but I don’t have communicate with my ex wife she left me almost ten years .and I got married again in 2013 according to Muslims law . so I want to make our marriage in legle way can you plz assist me.

  66. My bro from india wants to come to sa and work or open a business here how can he go about doing that …. your help will be much appreciated

  67. what of me that was banned for 5years and my wife is over there and she want me to come over what can I do ?

  68. Hi Ambrose. We are based in Cape Town. If this is too far for you, don’t hesitate to call us at +27 21 286 0057, because we can definitely help you from a distance.

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