South African Relative’s Visas

Section 18 – Relative’s Visas

A Relative’s visa, issued in terms of section 18 of the Act, is issued when the foreign applicant is a relative and part of the “immediate family” in relation to a South African citizen or Permanent Resident holder that would include marriage or permanent partnerships. It extends to the second step of kinship and thus has the effect of allowing siblings of a South African citizen or permanent resident to acquire a relative’s visa.

The definition of “immediate family” will allow for foreign member/s of the family of such South African citizen or permanent resident that are in the vertical line of kinship as either the parent or the child of a South African. It will also include horizontally, a brother or sister, of a South African. The Relative’s visa will also be issued for a maximum of two years without the right to work.

Such citizen or permanent resident must be able to financially support the applicant in an amount of R8500 per month per person to qualify.

Note: Where the foreign applicant applies for a Relative’s visa and is linked to a South African citizen or permanent resident who is a dependent minor (so for instance the foreign person’s minor child) then such foreign applicant is exempt from proving and substantiating the financial consideration of R8500 per month. This exemption is not offered in a permanent residence application linked to a dependent minor in the case of section 26(c) and (d) of the Act as financial evidence must be provided.

Note: It is our considered view that the definition of “immediate family” in fact extends the line of kinship beyond what home affairs actually appreciates as the definition excludes the “common antecedent” which means that the lines of kinship are much wider than anticipated. We remain of the view that a sibling of a permanent residence can apply for permanent residence as well.

As noted above, there is still confusion and legal quandary as to whether the Relative’s visa should relate to spouses who are married to or permanent partners of South Africans. This was technically dealt with and confirmed not to relate to spouses. Yet, it appears that the Department is still grappling with its legal effect, which is unfortunate. See the case of Stewart versus Minister of Home Affairs.