Answer to a question from a reader

Can I get papers to remain in South Africa if my child is a citizen?

The short answer

No, but you can apply for two kinds of visa

The whole question

I am a foreign national and I have a child with a South African woman, but she is married to another man. Can I get papers to remain in South African if I have my child is a South African citizen?

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking if you can get papers allowing you to stay in South Africa through your baby daughter, who is a South African citizen. The fact that she is a South African citizen does not automatically give you any rights to permits, but there are two types of visa that you might be able to apply for:

1. If you have a child or parent in South Africa, you can apply for a relative’s visa.
2. If you have a South African partner or spouse, you can apply for a spousal visa.

1. A relative’s visa is issued for up to two years, and this permit doesn’t allow you to work in South Africa, without applying to “change the conditions of existing visa”, which you could do if you received an offer of work.

This is what you have to present to Home Affairs through VSF Global, to get a relative’s visa:

An application fee to Home Affairs of R1,520
A processing fee to VSF Global of R1,350
Proof that you are your daughter’s father
Your unabridged birth certificate or certified copy
You will need to complete the required application form
Biometrics taken by VSF Global (eg palm prints, finger prints etc)
A yellow fever vaccination certificate if you are from a country where yellow fever is endemic
A police clearance certificate
A medical report  
Radiological report (ie X-ray)
Two passport photos
Proof of financial support (a required R8,500 per person per month)
Proof of your relative’s South African citizenship through ID or passport (In the case of a baby, probably the birth certificate would be enough.)

Home Affairs says that if you already have a valid visa, you can apply from inside the country, but if you don’t, you have to apply from outside.

2. A spousal visa can either be a temporary visa, usually for two or three years, or a permanent residence visa, to join your South African spouse or permanent residence holder spouse or permanent partner.

This is what you need to get a spousal visa:

Your spouse or permanent partner must be a South African citizen or permanent residence holder.
For a permanent spousal visa you need to prove that you have been married or living together for at least five years and are dependent on each other financially, emotionally and physically. For a temporary spousal visa there isn’t a minimum period you need to have been married or co-habiting.
You need to have a marriage certificate if you are married.
Proof of your spouse’s South African citizenship.
A letter of support from your South African spouse.
Proof of your good mental and physical health ie a medical report.
A completed temporary residence application form.

As nothing to do with Home Affairs is quick or easy, you could ask the following organisations for advice:
The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town at, tel: 021 465 6433
Lawyers for Human Rights at: Musina 0115 534 2203, Durban 031 301 0531, Pretoria 012 320 2943, Johannesburg 011 339 1960.
Legal Resources Centre at in Johannesburg at 011 836 9831 and Cape Town at 021 481 3000
They could also perhaps advise you on your partner’s divorce.

Answered on Dec. 12, 2019, 10:06 a.m.

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.