Answer to a question from a reader

How can I renew my South African Retired Person's Visa?

The short answer

All extensions must be submitted through VFS Global. Here is a list of everything you will need.

The long answer

As you probably know, the retired person's visa usually expires after four years and you have to submit any visa renewal at least 60 days before the expiry date of your visa. You can apply for renewal earlier than the 60 days, but only within the last six months of the validity of the existing visa.

All extensions have to be submitted in South Africa through VSF Global, which is the company contracted by Home Affairs to process visa applications and renewals. You would need to make an appointment at a VSF application centre and pay a fee.

Intergate Immigration says that you will need a South African Police clearance certificate to apply for an extension, and that due to backlogs, it takes about eight weeks to issue these certificates.

They advise that if you have previously qualified under the R37,000 a month income, you should check the current exchange rate as this fluctuates, and ensure that you still qualify.

IBN Immigration Solutions says that the R37,000 income may originate from a pension, retirement account, or irrevocable annuity or from assets providing the required monthly income. They explain that accepted income from assets are dividend payments, rental income as well as interest payments

I will copy and paste below the full requirements for visa renewal of a retired person’s visa from the Home Affairs website, but before doing so, it may be worth considering this January 2024 newsflash from KPMG on backlogs at Home Affairs:

“With the continued visa application backlog challenges facing the South African Department of Home Affairs and the need to address the impact of the pending visas, waivers, and appeal applications, the Minister of the Department of Home Affairs has approved the extension of the temporary concession of affected foreign nationals until 30 June 2024.

“This temporary concession, effective December 2023, allows foreign nationals who have pending long-term visas, waivers, and appeal applications to continue to reside and work in South Africa on their current visa conditions pending the decision of their applications.  Any reference to the Immigration Act refers to the Immigration Act No13 of 2002, as amended.”

This is the full list of requirements to renew a Retired Person’s Visa from the Home Affairs website:

  • VFS appointment letter.

  • A duly completed DHA-947 form online. Handwritten forms will not be accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.

  • Payment of the application fee of R2,870. If the application fee was paid to VFS bank account or the mission, an original bank payment receipt, where the application fee was paid using the Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT), receipt for each applicant.

  • Present a valid original passport in respect of each applicant and passport photograph for all applicants one year of age and older. A recent, passport-type, full face photograph bearing the names of the applicants on the reverse side thereof. (Machine-type or instant photographs are not acceptable).

  • A valid retired visa for temporary sojourn at the time of application in respect of each applicant, if the application is made in the Republic.

  • Unabridged birth certificate, or extract from birth record for applicant.

  • A deed poll in the case of the applicant who has changed his or her name, surname or sex.

  • Original Police clearance certificate issued by the police or security authority in each country where the relevant applicant resided for 12 months or longer after attaining the age of 18 years except for South Africa, in respect of criminal records or the character of that applicant, which certificate shall not be older than six months at the time of its submission: (Provided that the certificate shall not be required from a foreign country in the case of renewal or extension of a visa)

  • South African police clearance will be validated upon biometric enrolment at the VFS center effective as of 01 October 2016 at a fee of R175 (Inclusive of Vat) Per Applicant

  • Biometric enrolment fee applicable: Yes

  • Radiological report (not required in respect of children under the age of 12 years or a pregnant woman). The certificate must not be older than six (6) months at the time the applicant submits an application.

  • Medical report for applicant. The certificate must not be older than six (6) months at the time the applicant submits an application.

  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate if that person travelled or intends travelling from or transit through a yellow fever endemic area: Provided that the certificate shall not be required where that person travelled or intends travelling in direct transit through such area or where an application is made in the Republic.

  • Proof that applicant has the right to a pension or irrevocable annuity or retirement account which will give such foreigner a prescribed minimum payment per month (R37,000) for the rest of his or her life, as determined from time to time by the Minister, by notice in the Gazette or

  • Proof that the applicant has a minimum prescribed net worth per month (R37,000) realising from the combination of assets, as determined from time to time by the Minister, by notice in the Gazette.

  • Present yourself for biometrics at the visa facilitation centre.


Wishing you the best,

Answered on April 19, 2024, 9:56 a.m.

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