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Relocation and Moving Home

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Immigration Information

So you've decided to relocate to Sunny South Africa. Great decision! .. But do you know exactly what to do and how to do it? - What to expect and how to prepare for it? Have you thought of absolutely everything? -It's tough enough just moving from one city to the next, but with all the added considerations involved in moving country, there are hundreds of little things that can come long to vex, hinder, delay and, worst case scenario, prevent the process altogether. Speak to as many people you can find who have been through the process themselves. Don't just listen to one person's experiences though, because all circumstances are different. Read as much as you can, both official and unofficial and start to create your survival lists.

This section is not meant to be a definitive guide, but will hopefully be of some assistance in avoiding as many of the potential pitfalls as possible.

The easiest is, as with any major undertaking, to start with a basic checklist and then expand each one out until you have a complete "to do" list for each item. Working through a systematic, well-planned process can make it all a relatively painless (though still time-consuming!) process.

A basic checklist would contain the following: (each item is a link to more information on that point)

entry visa
work permit
bringing in your pets

evaluating your decision
transportation of goods
local considerations
get the timing right

consultants & Attorneys
official information

Entry Visa

Depending on where you are coming from, you may or may not need a special visa to enter South Africa. A full list of visa exempt countries is available here. However, if you are looking at coming over for more than a visit, then even if you are from a "visa exempt" country, you will need to make special application, based on the basis of your entry. This applies if you are coming in to take up employment, marry a local, study, retire or whatever the reason may be other than a pure short visit (3 months maximum). Your visa will automatically give you temporary residence rights, but the length of the temporary residence will depend on the type of application. Be sure that this is correctly reflected at the port of entry, because it is only in limited circumstances that a visa can be altered once you are inside the country. Assuming that you have entered on the correct visa, be sure to start the process of applying for permanent residence (where applicable) as soon as possible. While the time periods seem more than adequate and it may be tempting to delay application, anything can go wrong to cause delays. If your temporary visa expires before you have your permanent residency, you will be required to leave the country and re-enter. - An expensive exercise.

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Work Permit

If you are coming in on a work permit the chances are that your new employer is the one who will be dealing with all the red tape on your behalf. However, it is advisable to leave nothing to chance. Be sure to confirm this.

In order to enter the country on a work permit you need to have a legitimate job offer and there are a lot of obligations on the part of your new employer. The legitimacy of your stay will be checked when you apply and again in the future. - Coming in on a work permit therefore does not mean you are free to stay and do as you please indefinitely. You will need to remain with the same employer in the same job in order to remain in the country. It is therefore not advisable to attempt entry on this basis unless it is absolutely legitimate. For links to more information on entry and immigration, please click here

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Bringing in your Pets

Laws relating to pet importation are far less onerous than for most westernised countries and a large number of countries are exempt from quarantine. This means that as long as you have sorted out all the paperwork and your pet has had the required vaccinations, the chances are that you will not be separated for much longer than the flight over and the time it takes for the veterinary clearance. To find out if your country is exempt from quarantine and to get more information on the processes, please visit the official website.

Once you have done this, your next step would be to get hold of your local airlines to find out if they offer an animal transportation service and what the costs are. Finally, remember to co-ordinate the timing so that your pet arrives when you do. With pets being transported as cargo, they could end up being held overnight (or for an entire weekend) before their actual flight, causing additional stress for them and you. Check with the airline exactly what your pet's flight schedule will be and, wherever possible try to have them on the same flight as you. Also remember to check on the airline policy regarding food and water during transit as well as the use of sedatives. Even if you are normally opposed to the use of drugs, this may in fact be a kinder option for your pet.

The good news is that animals who are loved and in good condition will generally bounce back very quickly from the stress of a long-haul relocation and all that goes with it.

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Transportation of Goods

For contact information on shipping, freight forwarding, customs clearance, etc., please visit this section.

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More immigration information
| evaluating your decision | local considerations | getting the timing right | consultants and attorneys |
| official information |


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