South Africa is an incredibly popular retirement destination – people all over the world come to the country for the beautiful climate, scenery, and low cost of living. As long as you can prove that you can support yourself financially and fulfil the other visa criteria, you may be able to move to South Africa for your retirement.
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This South Africa visa category is designed for those intending to retire in the country. It is based upon Applicants providing evidence of a lifelong pension or income.
What are the Benefits of a Retirement Visa?
In South Africa, your application for a retired person's route can be submitted as a temporary residence permit application or a permanent residence permit application, as outlined in the eligibility criteria summarised below.
The temporary route is granted for the comparatively lengthy duration of 4 years and is renewable indefinitely for 4-year periods.
The permanent variant affords permanent residents the same rights and privileges as those with South African citizenship, with a few key exceptions – most notably the right to vote.
In both cases, South African Retired Person’s Permits are based on financial criteria and unlike a South African Work Permit, no prior job offer needs to be in place before an application can be made. Although unlike temporary South African Visitor Visas, retired people are permitted to work if they want to.
It is worth noting also that despite the term "retired person", no age limit is imposed on this class of visas for South Africa. Retired person's visas can be awarded to people of all ages, proving that the eligibility requirements below are met.
Who is Eligible for this Visa?
In South Africa, visa applications for this visa must be able to provide evidence of the following:
- A pension, retirement account, or irrevocable annuity which has a value of at least R37,000 per month. This requirement applies to each person making an application.
- Alternatively, candidates can demonstrate their net worth through a combination of assets including pensions which equates to a minimum of R37,000 per month. Once again, this criterion applies to each person making an application.
An alternative route exists as a Financially Independent Visa. Applicants for this visa type would need to demonstrate a net asset value totalling no less that R7.5 million.
Our consultants offer a discreet, bespoke consultation to find out which visa is best for your financial situation. This is the first step in your journey and is essential to offering you the best chance of success in your application.
As with all permit applications and visa applications associated with immigration to South Africa, there are a number of criteria that must be satisfied. Below are some of the main points:
- There are no age restrictions on retired persons permit, either for a minimum age or maximum;
- Applications for retired person permits can be made under the temporary and permanent categories;
- Both income and capital can be used depending upon whether a temporary or permanent retired person permit is being applied for;
- The value of pensions and rental income from a property can be utilised for proving income.
Can I Work on a Retirement Visa?
Despite the name, no specific restrictions are placed on working once you have arrived in South Africa on this visa.
In most cases, it may be assumed that people embarking upon this route will not be entering the country to work. However, each case will be considered individually and candidates may be able to work during their time in the country.
Applicants wishing to work will need to submit an employment contract and demonstrate that no South African citizen or resident is available for the position. If candidates were to achieve permanent resident status then as with other routes to settled status, working in South Africa would be permitted.
For a Retired Permit / Visa for Permanent Residency
Permanent residency applications under the retired permit category can be made without the need to first obtain temporary residency, but in practice, most immigrants will apply for both (where they meet the qualifying criteria) due to the long processing times of Home Affairs – approximately 24 months.
The financial criteria for retired permits under the permanent category are similar to that of temporary in that the ZAR 37,000 monthly income needs to be proved. However, the proof of funds needs to be life-long guaranteed income and not capital based or a cash lump sum.
Please note that at the time of submission for your Retired Permanent Residency application, rental income or pension income needs to be payable at the current date. Bank statements will be needed as supporting evidence that these funds are credited to your account when submission takes place.
Financially independent permit – the alternative to proving income
For those applicants who cannot meet the required income levels for residency under the retired permit or retired visa a suitable alternative for those with assets over 12 million Rand would be the Financially independent permit. You can read more about the permit and visa alternative here.
Processing Time in South Africa for Extension: 30-40
Processing Time if lodged abroad: 30 days
Government Fee in South Africa: R425
New Submission Centre Fee ( in SA ): 1350
Government Fee abroad: Dependent on Currency
Our Fees: £1,500 + vat (Over 4 monthly installments)