The Czech Republic showcases some stunning architecture, castles and cultural attractions. Picture: Pexels.
The Czech Republic showcases some stunning architecture, castles and cultural attractions. Picture: Pexels.

5 countries that offer long-stay visas for South Africans and how to apply

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Sep 1, 2021

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Working from home has become a norm for most people to stay safe during the pandemic. It has also afforded some the opportunity to work in some beautiful destinations.

Sue Garrett, the general manager of supply, pricing and marketing at the Flight Centre Travel Group, said that South Africans have plenty of travel options.

"Various countries have picked up on the digital nomadism trend and are striving to capitalise on it, thus introducing special long-stay visas aimed specifically at this market.

"The even better news is that South Africans have not been excluded from applying for such visas, as long as they satisfy the basic requirements and Covid-19 requirements," she said.

Be mindful of the travel restrictions at these destinations and consult with a travel agent for more clarity.

For South Africans who are thinking about working in a new destination, here are some options:

Dubai

With world-class shopping, iconic buildings, tantalising cuisine, and a wide array of tourist activities, Dubai doesn’t disappoint on the experience front.

Visa requirements: South Africans can get a one-year Remote Work Nomad Visa for a combined work/leisure getaway.

To apply, present proof of health insurance and/or travel insurance, with coverage extending to travel within the UAE. Travellers will need to provide proof of employment or business ownership and proof of a minimum of $5,000 (R72 615) annual earnings. Applicants will also need to settle a once-off application fee of $611 (R8873). This fee is inclusive of processing costs and a medical and Emirates ID.

Experience: As Dubai offers plenty to see and do, travellers need to plan their time effectively to balance work and leisure.

Visit famed landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain and the Dubai Frame. The souks are popular for travellers, offering a range of items from spices to jewellery. If you are travelling with the family, the city provides a range of child-friendly activities.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is paradise, boasting white sand beaches and stunning viewpoints.

Visa requirements: The destination offers a long-term stay of up to 24 months via the Nomad Digital Residence Programme.

To apply, visit https://antiguanomadresidence.com. Applicants will need to provide proof of employment, proof of health insurance, and police clearance. Applicants must earn a minimum of $50,000 per annum (R726 150).

The once-off fee, which is determined by the number of dependants you are travelling with, ranges from $1,500 – $3,000.

Experiences: From St. John's to Jolly Harbour, travellers will be spoilt for choice here. Get adventurous by snorkelling or enjoy a mud buggy experience. And don't forget to indulge in the stunning food on offer.

Mauritius

Sun, sea and sand, that’s what a long stay visit in Mauritius promises. Here, travellers can work from their hotel pool, the white sandy beaches (they need their own portable wi-fi device) or in a luxury suite with glorious views.

Visa requirements: Mauritius introduced the Premium Travel Visa that allows for a renewable stay of up to 12 months.

You will need to earn a minimum of $1500 (R21 784) a month, show that income comes from outside of the Mauritian labour market, and submit documentary evidence to support your application. These include the reason for staying and where you will reside. There is no application fee or processing charge.

Experience: Mauritius boasts a range of activities that incorporate history, culture, food and dramatic landscapes. After you have completed your meetings, explore Port Louis, Grand Baie, Mahebourg, Le Morne, Chamarel and Rodrigues.

Depending on where you are based, travellers should discover the market scene and soak up the sun on the island’s blue-flag status beaches.

Czech Republic

This European destination is attractive for South Africans as the rand is slightly stronger than the Czech Koruna (R1 equals 1.48 Czech Koruna)

Visa requirements:The Zivno Visa allows for an extended 90-day stay. You'll need to book an appointment at the Czech Consulate to attend an interview and hand over the necessary documentation. You can't apply online.

Requirements for this visa include proof of a minimum of 124,500CZK (R83 949) in your bank account, proof of health insurance and your trade licence. You also need documents that prove your travel intentions, your criminal record, details of where you will stay in the Czech Republic for the duration of your stay, and a medical fitness certificate.

Experiences: The Czech Republic showcases some stunning architecture, castles and cultural attractions. Visit Podyjí National Park in Moravia, tour castles, and dine at the Dancing House. Take trips to Prague, Český Krumlov, Pilsen and Mariánské Lázně.

Mexico

Mexico exudes culture, cuisine and warm hospitality-something South Africans will appreciate.

Visa requirements: Dubbed as one of the most hassle-free and straightforward application processes, you do not need to fill out much documentation.

The Temporary Resident Visa requires a minimum stay of 6 months and a maximum of 4 years.

To apply, visit the Mexican Consulate to complete the application form. The form can be downloaded online. You’ll also need to bring along bank statements and payslips for the last 12 months as proof of the minimum income of $1,634 (R23 730) per month. Another requirement is a letter showcasing your position and annual salary. A cash payment is required when you visit the Consulate, which will be revealed to you when you apply.

You will also have to visit the Instituto Nacional de Migraciónwithin the first month of your arrival in Mexico to apply for a temporary residency permit.

Experiences: Travellers to Mexico visit the country for its azure beaches, party spots and top-of-the-range resorts.

Cancún, known for its beaches and watersport, is a famed attraction in Mexico. Other attractions include Cabo San Lucas, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It also features stunning street food spots.Tuck into tacos, quesadillas, tostadas, empanadas, nachos, fajita and more.

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