A “Life Partner” or South African Spouse Permit may be issued to a foreign spouse of a citizen or permanent resident for up to three years subject to that relationship being in good faith i.e. not of convenience.

The definition of spouse extends beyond parties to a marriage and includes a spousal relationship subject to certain requirements and envisages same-sex or heterosexual life partners.

The advantage of a South African Spouse Permit is that it allows a foreign spouse to remain and sojourn, validly work or study in South Africa pending a permanent residence permit being applied for and granted. Moreover, the typical long-form requirements for work, study and own business permit requirements are waived under this category in terms of the normal prescriptive requirements.