Film Industry Visa Assistance
Individuals working in the film industry may qualify for an O visa. This includes actors, directors, and producers who work on projects that are entirely financed by foreign sources.
The O visa requires that the production company petition on behalf of one artist who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary ability in their field. This is usually the lead actor or director.
South Africa’s visa requirements
The South African Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) has recently loosened up the visa requirements for international film, ad and television production crews. The change is a welcome relief to the talent and the companies that serve them.
The streamlined process will see oversight crew from visa exempt countries no longer required to pre-apply at a South African Embassy but rather submit a standardized form, a copy of their travel itinerary and a letter from the CPA/SAASP/NAMA to DoHA on arrival in South Africa. This will simplify the process significantly and give some relief to talent pressed for time.
In addition to this, Embassies have also been instructed to change the wording on a work authorization visa issued to actors and models so that it does not read “To work for company X”. This will allow talent to work with any number of clients throughout their stay in South Africa, thus giving them more flexibility.
Film Fixers has developed a relationship with the ministry to streamline the process of getting FIVA letters on behalf of production companies. This enables us to offer clients a service whereby we can get their FIVA letter on their behalf and include it with the visa application, saving them time at the ministry.
FIVA keeps records of all vehicles examined and issues FIVA cards to those that comply with the Technical Code. It also supports ANFs and their scrutineers, as well as providing specialist advisors.
The Global Talent visa route is open to ‘leading individuals in the film and television industries’ wishing to work in the UK. Applicants need to be ‘exceptional in their field and must demonstrate outstanding talent’. PACT can endorse applicants under this route in the film, TV, animation, post production and visual effects sectors. They must also meet the other requirements of the route, including showing evidence of their past achievements and a clear plan for the future.
Working on a film in South Africa
Filming in South Africa is a dream come true for many international filmmakers. The country’s massive and diverse landscapes offer a wide range of shooting locations. From the sand dunes of the Kalahari Desert to the beaches and rugged mountains in Cape Town, the country has something for every genre.
The local crews are also experienced and reliable. They can help you find the right location and create a stunning look for your production. You can also get access to a large selection of standardized and specialized camera gear, grips, lighting equipment, and more in the country.
As a result, the filming industry in South Africa is thriving. As an incentive for foreign producers, the government offers various financial incentives that can make the process even more cost-effective.
Getting a visa
Individuals associated with the film industry may seek work authorization in several ways. For example, actors may be eligible for an O visa sponsored by a US production company. However, special labor certification procedures apply for these cases.
In addition, O visas require a petition from the employer, which must include evidence that the alien is of extraordinary ability in his or her field. This can be demonstrated through awards, press, reviews and letters from experts in the field. Unlike ordinary work visas, O visas must be for specific projects and endorsed by the appropriate labor unions.
Journalists who are working on a factual documentary-related project may also qualify for an I visa. However, this is not available for scripted or staged work. In addition, the project must be primarily financed by foreign sources and have a significant international impact. Performers in live format shows may also be able to seek admission under the P visa category, provided they are members of a group or organization (such as Actors Equity) that engages in reciprocal exchange programs with a US-based entertainment group.