I’m Crossing the Ocean for You

A little insight on what it’s like to apply for the South African Life Partner Permit

Laurrel Allison
5 min readAug 6, 2018


Photo by Leslee Clark, September 2015; Kloof Street

February 19th, 2016 was a fateful day. I was 23 years old. I had downloaded Tinder a few days prior, fed up with all the Love Day hype. I didn’t expect to actually find someone with whom to share that ridiculous Hallmark holiday. To be sure, I’m not really sure what I was expecting to find on an app notoriously riddled with men looking for a one night stand, a booty call, or an affair.

And yet, he happened. Jonathan. South African born, raised in Greece. My Jonathan (as he soon came to be) is a beautiful, intelligent, charismatic, blonde wonder. And he would be the death of me.

Okay, I didn’t mean to sound that dramatic. But the truth is, that I have never worked this hard in a relationship. For this man alone, I have done not one but two visa runs (not illegal, but yes, they are frowned upon and I don’t condone them), struggled alongside him in Taiwan, attended his friend’s wedding in Australia, and gotten super cosy with him in South Africa. Not “him” as in his friend. Jonathan him.

And so that brings us to today. We have been dating steadily for two years, five months, and a few weeks. We’re now officially within the legal perimeters to apply for a Life Partner Permit, or an LPP.

There are many different styles of permanent and temporary residence visas for South Africa. One of them is the Life Partner Visa, or Permit. The requirements for the LPP are as follows:

  • A valid passport with at least two free pages for a visa and valid for 30 days after the end of your intended visit.
  • A photocopy of any temporary residence visas which appear in the passport
  • Two passport size colour photographs.
  • Your birth certificate.
  • Proof of your relationship, for example, marriage certificate or affidavit of a permanent relationship in the case of unmarried partners, adoption papers.
  • Consent from your parents if you’re a minor
  • Evidence of your relative’s South African citizenship or permanent residence status.
  • Proof of a minimum of ZAR 8500 per month (unless you’re the spouse of a South African citizen or foreigner with permanent residence status).
  • Proof of funds equivalent to a return ticket (unless you’re the spouse/dependent child of a South African citizen or foreigner with permanent residence in South Africa.
  • Vaccination certificate, depending on where you will be travelling.
  • Police clearance certificates from any country you’ve lived in for a year or more since the age of 18.
  • Medical and radiology reports (unless you are pregnant or under 12 years of age)
  • You may be asked for a full set of fingerprints.

This is a pretty hefty list. When I first came to South Africa in 2014 on a volunteer visa, the requirements were pretty similar. However, I had my mother helping me with everything as she was planning to make the trek as well. My mum hasn’t been in South Africa for about three years or so, and that means I’m on my own with sorting all this out.

That’s why I put together a to-do list. I bought my ticket for Los Angeles for September 3rd and am planning to acquire my LPP when I’m there. My to-do list encompasses both what I need to do before I leave for LA as well as what else must be done (and can only be done) when I touch down in the United States.

South Africa to do list:

- radiology test

- medical test

- open joint bank account

- letters from J & K for notarization stating they are aware of our relationship and that we have been living with them for two years

- notarized bio page of passport (mine)

- notarized bio page of passport (Jonathan’s)

- notarized copy of host’s passport (Jonathan’s parents)

- letter of invitation from hosts, aka Jonathan’s parents (notarized)

- get eye exam + prescription + pupils measured

- Send notarized letter to my bank asking for certified stamped copy of my last 3 months bank statement

I wasn’t entirely sure about the last thing on the list. I need to call my bank once they open in a few minutes so I can double check. They’ve been able to accommodate a prior change of address while I was overseas, so I’m sure they’ll be able to do it again. However, it remains to be seen whether they’ll also send me my physical bank statements. Also, this wasn’t even a requirement that was on this list, but rather a different list about a different visa. I’m the weirdo who wants to have everything which even may be remotely necessary as well as a back-up. You know, in case it’s needed…

You may notice (or not, it’s a long list) that I did not mention my police clearance or photos. That’s because they’re already done! I have my police clearance resting in my bedside table along with my passport photos. Although, I do think I shall apply for one or two more police clearances just to be on the safe side and have a back-up for my back-up.

I wrote that Jonathan’s parents will be involved. Since arriving in South Africa after our year-long adventure in Taiwan, we have been living in his parents’ house. They will then need to vouch for us stating that they have both been aware of our relationship for at least the past two years as well as housing us. Generally, the latter would be the responsibility of the landlord or from whomever you’re renting.

Los Angeles to do list:

- 23andme (I’ve been dying to get this done so I can check out my rad ancestry)

- renew driver’s license (mine expires in October 2018)

- get LPP

- get business bank account (for those of you who have started a business whilst being overseas, like I have)

- get another bank account for personal (up in the air about this one)

- get secondary debit card from bank (yep, I have only had one debit card in total during the entirety of my stay in South Africa. Besides, my current debit card expires next year so I may actually get two extra debit cards)

- get glasses

- get FBI clearance

I also have a third list which has all my budgeting information and estimates which is relevant to where I’ll be, but is subject to change wherever you end up applying for your visa.

I’ll be writing more as I get closer to my departure and have more things checked off my SA to do list.

Laurrel Allison is an American writer traveling around the world. Follow Laurrel on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see what she’s doing and where she is.



Laurrel Allison

Founder of Copy Fox Pro. Writer, cat parent, entrepreneur. Connect with me: hello@copyfoxpro.com