Permanent Residence For Financially Independent Foreigners

Section 27(f) – Financially Independent Category

The Financially Independent Category is becoming more popular as foreign applicants are realising that the Retirement Category for permanent residence is more uncertain. Such category will allow an entire family (spouse and dependent minor children) to apply for permanent residence.

The financial test under this category will require the main applicant (not each member of the family) to prove “net worth”, which requires an applicant who can show a “net worth” of R12 million or more in assets and pay the Department of Home Affairs a one-off administration fee of R120, 000.00 upon success.

There is no guidance as to what “net worth” means and therefore, it would be understood in a literal sense to include immovable property, investments, banking, in combination, or independently.

The administration fee of R120,000.00 is only paid upon approval of the application in Pretoria. If a family applies under this category it will only require one off payment of such amount upon the successful outcome in order to receive the Financially Independent Permanent Residence Permit that will allow the main applicant (and family members if applicable) to hold such status.

Despite paying such a large administrative or department fee there is no actual benefit or special adjudication treatment under this category, which would have been expected. Those applicants are thus expected to wait the same long timelines before they get their permanent residence. The only conceivable benefit is that it eliminates the uncertainty prevalent under the Retirement Category for permanent residence.

Note: Our view is that the Retirement Category (with a department fee of R1520) can achieve the same benefits of permanent residence without having to pay a ridiculously high administrative fee of R120,000.00.