A Permanent residence permit will be granted to a foreigner who is able to meet the following criteria as set out in section 26 and 27 of the Immigration Act and Regulations 22 and 23 respectively.
Section 26 of the Immigration Act and Regulation 22 sets out the following grounds for direct residence to a foreigner who:
- Has been the holder of a work permit, including one issued under a corporate permit for 5 years and has received an offer of permanent employment.
- Has been the spouse (person who is a party to a good faith spousal relationship of marriage or permanent heterosexual or same-sex relationship) of a citizen or permanent resident for 5 years.
- Is a child under the age of 21 of a citizen or permanent resident.
- Is a child of a citizen.
Section 27 of the Immigration Act and Regulation 23 sets out the following other grounds for residency to a foreigner who:
- Has received an offer of permanent employment in South Africa, satisfied that no suitably qualified citizen or permanent residence was able to fill it, and the application falls within the yearly limits of categories of prescribed quotas in industry, trade and commerce.
- Demonstrates that he or she possesses extraordinary skills or qualifications.
- Intends to establish or invest in an own business or an existing business an amount of R2,5 million as part of the intended book value of the business which may be waived or reduced in certain instances.
- Is a refugee and referred to in terms of section 27(c) of the Refugees Act and is able to provide the necessary certification by the Standing Committee that he or she will remain a refugee indefinitely.
- Intends to retire in South Africa and is able to prove that the financial consideration of R20 000 per month per person per month either by way of a direct annuity income or via a combination of assets will realise R20 000 per month for the rest of his or her life per applicant.
- Is able to prove to the Director-General that he or she has a minimum net worth of R7,5 million and has paid an amount of R75 000 to such official and is thus financially independent.
- Is the relative of a citizen or permanent residence within the first step of kinship and able and willing to support and maintain such applicant.
Permanent residence permit application may require additional documentation and actions such as fingerprints, birth certificates and personal attendances or interviews, where requested. Moreover the internal protocols require that all permanent resident applications are adjudicated at regional office level in Pretoria. This invariably leads to greater processing lead times than normal temporary residence permits and hence precise and strategic planning is required to achieve permanent residence with the least inconvenience in relocation and other logistical planning matters.
A Permanent residence permit will allow the holder to become a naturalised citizen in accordance with a well prepared citizenship application under the Citizenship Act and such status attaches many privileges and benefits over permanent residency.
Note that permanent residence may also be withdrawn in certain circumstances.
(a) The submission of Permanent Residence permit applications can be prepared and submitted either in the applicant’s country of origin or country of working or long term residence or;
(b) in South Africa provided the applicant is in possession of a valid South African temporary residence permit.
(c) There are a number of categories for permanent residence that are simultaneously offered for temporary residence and it is often an efficient and strategic decision to simultaneously apply for both temporary and permanent residence if that is the ultimate aim of the client in the first place.
(d) Unlike temporary residence an application for permanent residence in South Africa does not allow an applicant to remain in South Africa pending the outcome of such application unless the applicant is currently on a valid temporary residence permit.