An endless coastline, some of the world’s most impressive wildlife and dazzling scenery have lured many people to start a new life at the Southern point of Africa. It is a place where the sun is always shining, which means people live life mostly outdoors. They surf, swim, play sport, barbecue, trek and go on safaris. 

Expats from all corners of the world are living a good South African life in one of the large cosmopolitan cities or in the beautiful smaller towns scattered through the country. South Africa is home to people from many different nationalities so blending in won’t be a challenge. South Africa has a collective culture with a large group focus, which can also be seen in work environments. Stable, personal relationships are valued and meetings tend to be informal, but make sure to be on time.

The South African economy is slowly growing and consumption and investment are on the rise. Working and living in SA could be one of the most enriching experiences in your life and with different sectors dealing with a shortage of skilled workers, now might be just the right time. 

South Africa Residency

Here are some of the ways to live in South Africa:

Work and Business Visas

A critical work skills visa allows people who practice a profession that is scarce in SA to move to the country for work.  Otherwise you can apply for a work permit if you have a job offer or intend to open a business in the country. When considering your application, the government will look at your contribution to the country’s economy. 

There are many requirements to meet before you are granted a work permit and a lot of documents need to be prepared before moving to South Africa. Applications must be completed from within the country if you are already living in SA or at the embassy or consulate in the country where you live. 


  • If you invest ZAR5,000,000 in a business where 60% or more of employees are South African citizens, you may apply for a South African Business Visa.

Through your Family

  • If one of your grandparents was born in South Africa or is a South African citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible for temporary residency and following that once you have lived in South Africa you can apply for permanent residency.
  • If your child is a citizen or permanent resident of this country, you may apply for a parent residency visa.
  • If your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of South Africa, you are probably eligible for residency.  Please note that your status of spouse needs to be legally recognised in this country.
  • See the citizenship section below for more information on residency or citizenship based on descent.

Working Holiday Visa

Canadian citizens can work in South Africa for 12 months through the SWAP program

GDP Per Capita
$7,508  (Rank: 68)
Disposable Income
$1,400  (Rank: 56)
Life Expectancy
62.90  (Rank: 149)
Education Index
70.00%  (Rank: 62)
Corruption Index
45%  (Rank: 64)
Murders Per Year
15,940  (Rank: 195)
Crime Index
75.72  (Rank: 121)
Environmental Protection
53.51%  (Rank: 72)
Gender Equality
76.40%  (Rank: 15)
Annual Tourists
9,549,000  (Rank: 32)




11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Sesotho, Setswana, Xhosa and Zulu



Population Density

46 per square km

South Africa Citizenship

Here are some of the ways to become a citizen of South Africa:

  • If you were born in South Africa, you are most likely a South African citizen.
  • If one or both of your parents were citizens when you were born, you are probably also a citizen.
  • If your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of South Africa, you are probably eligible for residency.  If your spouse is a citizen, you can apply for citizenship after living together in South Africa for a period of 2 years.  Please note that your status of spouse needs to be legally recognised in this country.

Quality of Life

Rank: 53

Cost of Living

Rank: 78


Rank: 121

Average Temp.


Rank: 119

Resources & Links

The passport for South Africa allows you to travel to 95 countries without a visa.

Its global rank is 96.

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