If you’d like to visit the country to gather information about local businesses or institutions, you’ll just need a standard visitor’s visa, which you can get by submitting a complete BI-84 form at the nearest South African mission in or near your home country. Basic Visas are valid for 90 days from the date of entry, and allow for multiple re-entries, provided the re-entry occurs no less than a month before the expiry date on the visa. If you’re from a visa exempt country, you won’t even need to apply for this (see Visas).
In addition to the completed form, you’ll need to provide:
- Your passport with two free pages available.
- Provide two passport photographs.
- Pay the visa fee, if applicable.
- Provide proof of sufficient funds.
- Evidence of a return or onward ticket.
- Yellow fever certificates are required if the journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.
Check with your local SA mission for processing times as it varies considerably based on location.
If you intend to invest in any local business or concern, however, you’ll need a business permit. To apply for this you’ll have to submit a BI-1738 form (with the sections for Temporary Residence and Own Business completed) which you can do at the SA Mission in your home country or at the Home Affairs office nearest your prospective business address (The Cape Town office is situated in the Faircape Building, 56 Barrack Street, Cape Town, 8001. Call 021 468 4500/6 or visit http://www.home-affairs.gov.za). You can view the form at http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/documents/bi1738.pdf. This permit allows for multiple re-entries, and is valid as long as the successful applicant persists with the business endeavor for which they were approved.
Your application will need to be accompanied by a certificate issued by a chartered accountant registered with SICA (The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants). You’ll also need to have a minimum of 2.5 million ZAR available in cash, or at least 2 million ZAR along with a capital contribution of no less than 500 000 ZAR. This sum must originate from abroad, and must to be available for you to invest as part of the ‘book value’ of the business.
You’ll need to attach a business plan that outlines the feasibility of the business, and have some proof that at least five permanent residents of South Africa will be employed. You’ll have to show that you’ve undertaken process of registration with SARS (the South African Revenue Service), along with providing the usual assurances of a police clearance certificate for yourself and any spouses or dependents you might have, a yellow fever certificate, and medical and radiological reports for yourself and any dependents.