This type of permit is governed by Section 11 of the Immigration Act read with Regulation 19 of the Act which regulates the technicalities in this category.
Section 11 provides that a visitors visa may be issued to a foreign national in respect of visits to South Africa for a maximum period of three months. This visa can be extended for a further three month period but no further extensions thereafter are allowed.

The holder of a visitors visa may not conduct work.

Under Section 11 (2) of the Immigration Act an applicant is also entitled to apply for a visa authorisation from the relevant South African Embassy/High Commission in order to conduct certain work related activities. It is important to note that this is not a work permit and that it is only to address an immediate short term or urgent need for a limited duration of work related activity where an applicant cannot apply for a work permit. The authorisation cannot be used in place of a work permit for ongoing regular work activity. The visa is also none-renewable.

A visitors visa may be issued to an applicant for a period of up to three years in a situation where such applicant is engaged in one of the following activities:

  • Academic sabbatical
  • Voluntary or charitable activities
  • Research
  • Other prescribed activities

The spouse of a South African citizen or South African permanent resident who does not qualify in their own right for a temporary residence visa can apply for a visa under the visitors visa category for a duration of up to two years. This is obviously specifically based upon being able to prove the existence of the spousal relationship. Furthermore, the holder of such permit is also entitled to apply for the additional endorsement of a temporary residence permit such as a work permit or business permit etc. over and above this spousal visa. The same is applicable in respect of an applicant who is in a life partnership relationship with a South African citizen or South African permanent resident.