Applying for a Spousal/Life Partner Permanent Residence Permit South Africa: FAQ

If you’re married to or in a permanent relationship with a South African citizen or a person with a South African permanent residence permit, then you qualify to apply for a Spousal/Life Partner Permanent Residence Permit. However, as with any visa application - you’ll need to know the requirements.

SA Visa Experts has summarised some of the most frequently asked questions that people have who are applying for a Spousal/Life Partner Permanent Residence Permit. Here they are:

1. What is the difference between a Life Partner visa and a Relative’s visa?

There is no difference between a ‘Relative’s visa’ and a ‘Spousal/Life Partner visa’. A spouse of a South African citizen or permanent resident falls under the ‘Relative’s visa’ section of the Immigration Act. This visa is also commonly known as a ‘Life Partner visa’.

2. What is the difference between a temporary spousal permit and PR spousal permit?

A temporary spousal permit is a temporary visa that is normally issued for 2 to 3 years, whereas a PR spousal permit is for per permanent residency that allows for an indefinite stay in South Africa.

3. How long do I have to be married or be in a relationship to apply for this permit?

It’s necessary to prove that you’ve been married or cohabiting for a minimum of five years.

4. What are the basic requirements/proof for obtaining this type of permit?

The requirements are:

  • A marriage certificate or 5 years proof of cohabitation (muslim marriage certificates are not accepted)

  • Proof of your South African spouse’s citizenship or residence

  • A letter of support from your South African partner or spouse

  • A completed permanent residency application form

  • A medical and radiological report

  • A police clearance from every country the applicant resided in for more than 1 year since the age of 18

5. How long does it take to obtain a Spousal Permanent Residence Permit?

It can take up to 2 years for the DHA to make a decision, and the only application charge is the VFS service fee of ZAR 1,350.

6. Can I work in South Africa with this type of permit?

For those who obtain a spousal permit, they now hold permanent residency. Permanent residency means the individual is free to work, study or run/own a business. No endorsements are required.

7. What if I am in a same sex marriage?

The South African spousal visa requirements apply to both same sex and heterosexual relationships.

8. What happens if we get divorced?

In this case you would have to apply for an alternative visa as your spousal visa would then become invalid.

9. What about our children?

The regulations, criteria and processes around children are perplex. It can get confusing very quickly. Speak to one of our experienced immigration experts - and we’ll untwist any confusion or concerns you might have around this topic.

As always, drop us an email on