What you need to know about South African Permanent Residence Permit
How do I become a permanent resident of South Africa?
Permanent residence for South Africa allows a foreign applicant to live and work in South Africa indefinitely or permanently without having to renew their temporary residence visa every time before it expires. The immigration act of South Africa states that a permanent residency permit may be granted to a foreign national who satisfies all criteria as per section 26 and section 27 of the act.
Our immigration services for South Africa can assist you in applying for South African permanent residence and provide you with a free assessment before taking on your application.
These are the different South African visa types you could apply for.
Qualifying for permanent residence according to sections 26 and 27 of the immigration act:
5 consecutive years on a work visa:
A holder of a work visa who has been on a work visa for 5 years and has been offered permanent employment will qualify for permanent residency. Not all work visas will qualify an applicant for permanent residency and this is something you need to know.
Which visas do not qualify for PR?
- Intracompany transfer visas – This visa is issued under with the understanding that the foreign national will return to his/her position abroad once their term in South Africa has been completed.
- Corporate Workers Visas – As this is more of a seasonal type of visa, holders do not qualify for PR.
Which work visas do qualify?
Spousal Visa & Life Partner Visa:
If you have been married to your spouse who is a South African citizen or in a permanent relationship with a SA citizen partner for 5 years or more then only can you apply for permanent residence.
Same-sex couples can apply too. The Department of Home Affairs allows same-sex couples to apply for a spousal visa or a life partner visa, but you must have a valid marriage certificate and not a traditional marriage.
Permanent offer of employment:
If you have been offered a permanent offer of employment whilst proving that no ordinary SA citizen or permanent resident can fill that position and show proof that your occupation falls within the critical skills category then you can apply for permanent residency.
Children of South African citizens:
As a child of a South African citizen, you can apply for permanent residence.
Children under the age of 21:
A permanent residence permit will be issued to a child under the age of 21 if he or she can prove that they are the child of a South African citizen or permanent resident.
A person who applied for a business permit can apply for permanent residence if they can prove the following:
- Invested 5 million rands within the business
- Employed 60% or more SA citizens or permanent residents.
A person or couple currently on a retirement visa in South Africa who can prove that they have a permanent income stream from annuity or assets can apply for permanent residence.
Financially Independent Permit:
The person who applies for this permit and proves to the Department of Home Affairs that they have a net worth of 12 million rands or more can apply for permanent residence provided that they can pay R 120, 000.00 upon approval. Think of it as permanent residence by investment in South Africa.
If you have a relative’s visa for South Africa and a first of kin relationship then you can apply for permanent residence. The South African citizen or permanent resident must show that they are willing to financially support you.
A refugee who is currently on a refugee permit must prove to the standing committee that he or she will remain a refugee indefinitely then they can apply for permanent residence once they have the approval from the standing committee.
How long does it take to become a permanent resident in South Africa?
The Department of Home Affairs since the start of lockdown has decided to close the temporary residence visa section so that they could catch up with the backlog of permanent residency applications they have received over the years.
This meant that applications for temporary residence were not being accepted and hence trying to adjudicate the number of PR applications, but sadly they have not managed to clear the backlog.
There are still people who have submitted their application 5 years ago awaiting their outcome from DHA.
It would probably take 5 years or more to receive your outcome. The sooner you can submit your application the better and best if you make use of an immigration consultant.
How long does South African permanent residency last?
A permanent residence holder should not be absent from South Africa for 3 consecutive years and if they do, then their PR status would be lost.
It is important to note the following:
- A business permit holder who has applied for permanent residency and once issued after 2 years and 3 years thereafter must show proof that the initial amount is still invested within the business.
- A permanent residence permit shall lapse within 3 years if a spousal relationship no longer exists except in the case of death.
- A permanent residence permit shall lapse if the child of a South African citizen or permanent resident does not apply for confirmation of his or her residential status.
How much is a permanent residence permit in South Africa?
- 26(a) Worker VFS: R 1550.00 and DHA – R 1520.00
- 26(b) Spouse VFS: R 1550.00 and DHA – None
- 26(c) Dependent (<21) VFS: R 1550.00 and DHA – None
- 26 (d) Dependent (>21) VFS: R 1550.00 and DHA – R 1520.00
- 27 (a) Worker VFS: R 1550.00 and DHA – R 1520.00
- 27(b) Extraordinary skills (critical skills) VFS: R 1550.00 and DHA – R 1520.00
- 27(c) Business VFS: R 1550.00 and DHA – R 1520.00
- 27(d) Refugee VFS: R 1550.00 and DHA – R 0
- 27(e) Retired VFS: R 1550.00 and DHA – R 1520.00
- 27(f) Financially Independent VFS: R 1550.00 and DHA – R 1520.00
- 27(g) Relative VFS: R 1550.00 and DHA – 1520.00
If you are making use of an immigration practitioner then you have to factor in their costs and any other costs that are related to your permanent residence applications.
Where to apply for permanent residence in South Africa
You can apply at any one of the following VFS centres in South Africa and click on any one of the cities to get to the map for directions:
- Cape Town
- Port Elizabeth
Can a permanent resident get a South African passport?
No, a permanent residence permit holder will not be able to apply for a South African passport. You are not allowed to vote in the local or national elections.
They are only entitled to apply for a non-citizen South African identity book.
Charl Vollmer has 8 years of experience helping people immigrate to South Africa. I am passionate about helping people and making their dreams a reality. Charl constantly stays up to date with South African Immigration rules and regulations. To contact Charl, visit our contact page.