Temporary Residence Categories
4. Business Visas
A business visa is the only investor-related visa category and relates to a foreign investor who seeks to set up his or her own business or invest into an existing business.
There are two fundamental requirements that any foreign investor needs to consider:
One, an ability to show a minimum of R5 million in the form of a banking statement or capital investment from abroad into such business, provided such funds/input costs are certified by a registered accountant in South Africa; and
Two, the business must be in the national interest wherein the Department has set out key industry sectors in South Africa which require further stimulus and are material to local enterprise and development such as: agriculture, business process outsourcing and IT enabled services, the travel and tourism industry, clothing and textile, the automotive industry, manufacturing, oil and gas and the creative and design industry.
The business visa application is now broken into two parts:
Part 1: Preparation and Submission to the Department of Trade and Industry (“DTI”)
The DTI approval and recommendation is critical to the success and issuance of a business visa.
The DTI sets out certain specific requirements in order to assess the feasibility of the business and whether it is in the national interest to recommend such business.
The DTI will study the business plan, supporting documentation in terms of staffing of South Africans and registration with the authorities, financial projections and investment. It is normal for the DTI to interview the foreign applicant.
This process is of course made difficult where the foreign applicant is still abroad but can show the financial investments in place and support to the national interest and for this reason it is best to be have your accountant or immigration lawyer to support the contacts with the DTI.
When the DTI has conducted its due diligence, it will provide their recommendation, either positive or negative, to the foreign applicant and send to the Department where the application will be submitted.
Part 2: The application to the Department or the South African Mission abroad
After the DTI has made their recommendations and communicated their findings to the Department, it will advise the foreign applicant to hand in his or her business visa application at the relevant office abroad or in South Africa.
The foreign applicant will now submit all his or her general papers over and above the recommendation from the DTI as in the case of typical temporary residence applications.