South African Retirement Visas

Section 20 – Retirement Visa

The South African Retired Person Visa, also referred to as the South African Retirement Visa is one most favoured by foreign persons wishing to retire or sojourn on a seasonal basis or full-time generally for non-work related activities in South Africa.

This retirement visa allows a foreign person to enter into South Africa on a seasonal or continual basis for more than the standard 3-month limit as a tourist provided applicants are financially eligible in terms of the requirements and still remain domiciled or permanently residing elsewhere in the world.

There are two different financial tests to qualify for a Retirement Visa:

Actual Monthly Income from Pensions, Retirement Accounts or Irrevocable Annuity

The first financial test to become eligible for a South African Retirement Visa is one which may be granted to a foreign person who is able to prove a monthly income through a pension, irrevocable annuity, or requirement account showing a minimum monthly amount of R37,000.00 to support him or herself indefinitely while in South Africa valid for a period of 4 years, after which it is renewable in South Africa.

Realisable Amount from Combination of Assets – Net Worth

The second financial test to become eligible for a South African Retirement Visa is based on the test of “net worth” as defined in our 2014 Regulations as a “combination of assets that will realise an amount of R37,000.00 per month” and is similarly for 4 yeas and renewable in South Africa. This “net worth” test is the subject of much confusion in that it remains unclear whether the test would be to show evidence of assets in the form of banking, investments and property as a total amount or could it be interpreted to show assets that can prove a monthly amount being received like property rental.

It is the considered view of Legal Immigration Services that the “net worth” test would envisage potentially both versions above. In the recent case of Link versus Department of Home Affairs the High Court confirmed the rental income version as a valid way of proving “net worth”.

Then, it would be our view that if a lump sum of banking and investments could be presented which can be readily reduced to monthly amounts by cashing in such investments or banking on a monthly basis would similarly qualify.

There is constant disappointment for those who endeavour to apply for a Retirement Visa without the assistance of an expert since the two tests are in many cases (especially permanent residence) being applied without a proper appreciation of the Act and the 2014 Regulations.

Note: The Department of Home Affairs do not set an age minimum, for example,  50 years of age or older, in order to qualify for a Retirement Visa.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that our Home Affairs are loath to grant a Retirement Visa to applicants in their early thirties or younger unless the financial evidence is smartly and conclusively presented.

If you would like to find out more detail about the Retirement Visas you can contact the team at Legal Immigration Services for information, advice or assistance.