Permanent Residence Permits

Permanent Residence Permits grant foreign applicants the right to remain indefinitely in South Africa whilst enjoying the same rights, privileges and obligations as South African citizens save for the right to a South Africa Passport and the right to vote in our elections.

Regardless of what category of Permanent Residence Permit is acquired, it grants the rights to pursue any activity in South Africa regardless of the category of permanent residence applied for and therefore he or she be permitted to work, run business, go to schools or simply sojourn as he or she pleases subject, of course, to any specific conditions that may be attached to such permanent residence.

Permanent Residence Permits are determined in accordance with section 25, 26 and 27 of the Immigration Act, read with the prevailing 2014 Immigration Regulations.

Permanent Residence Permits can be applied for in South Africa whilst on a valid visa and the holder of an existing status in South Africa. If not, he or she can apply at the nearest South African Mission abroad.

Note: The issue of being able to apply in South Africa whilst on a Visitor’s Visa in South Africa is contentious and opposed by the Department of Home Affairs. However, we would disagree with this approach as the law set out in Regulation 23(2)(k) of the 2014 Immigration Regulations allows a foreign applicant to apply for a Permanent Residence Permit as long as he or she is on a “valid visa for temporary sojourn at the time of application”. This is indicative of the right to apply even on a Visitor’s Visa.

Note: Permanent Residence Permit adjudication can take many years to be finalized, whether approved or rejected. Legally, the Department of Home Affairs ought to take 8 months to finalize all Permanent Residence Permits but seldom does. See our Legal Services where we offer services to expedite pending Permanent Residence Permit applications.

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