Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Moving to South Africa

The Republic of South Africa takes up the southern tip of Africa, and touches both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. There is evidence of human inhabitation in South Africa for over 100,000 years. The two major tribes at the start of European intervention were the Zulu and Xhosa. European colonization started in 1652 in Cape Town by the Dutch, and it later became a British colony in 1806. Many different groups of Europeans began to migrate to South Africa. There were wars during the colonial period over the discovery of diamonds and gold. The period of apartheid, official race stratification, took place from the 1960s-1990s. These laws were dismantled in 1994, and it is today a republic. It is one of the most diverse countries in the world, in terms of race, language, culture and religion. There are eleven official languages. About 25% of the population is unemployed. South Africa is one of the founding members of the African Union, having one of the strongest economies in the organization.


In order to enter South Africa, you should have a valid passport, sufficient funds for the duration of your stay, and a certificate that shows vaccination against yellow fever.

Work Visa

Work Permits in South Africa are “temporary residency permits.”  You must have a prospective job lined up; your employer is the one who applies for your visa on your behalf through the local South African High Commission. Your employer must apply a contract letter on the company’s letterhead that describes your position as well as information about the company. Your employer gets your work permit for you, which then acts as a temporary residence permit. Your employer must try to look for someone locally to fill your job, and must prove that it is necessary to hire a skilled foreigner instead of a South African.  They must advertise your position in local newspapers, and have proof of this.

Apart from the duties of your employer, you must apply the following documents to your local South African Embassy:

1.       Application forms BI-159, A and C

2.       Marriage certificate, if necessary

3.       Employment contract

4.       CV

5.       Medical certificate

6.       Birth certificate

7.       Your own testimonials of why you are fit for the job

These documents must be in English.

Click here for more information.

Click here for some general facts about working in South Africa.

Student Visa

To obtain a student visa in South Africa, you must first be accepted by an accredited educational instituion.

You must submit the following documents:

1.       Letter of acceptance from your school

2.       Proof of sufficient funding

3.       Valid medical insurance

4.       Valid passport

5.       Police clearance records

6.       Birth certificate

7.       Passport photos

Click here for more details.

Moving Pets

In order to move your pet into South Africa, you must fill out an application form and send it to the Director of Animal Health, alogn with appropriate fees. They will send you back a veterinary import permit and a veterinary health certifiate. If you follow everything correctly, your animal will not have to go through 60-day quarantine.

Other Information

Click  here for information on health care in South Africa.

Click here for information on communication companies in South Africa.

Click here for general information on real estate in South Africa.

Click here for a map of South Africa.

Click here for a map of Cape Town.

Click here for a map of Johannesburg.


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