Applications for permanent residency in South Africa are considered in terms of Section 26 (Direct Residency Permits) and Section 27 (Residency-on-Other-Grounds Permits) of the Immigration Act 2002 (Act No 13 of 2002), and read with Regulation 33 of the Immigration Regulations.

Direct residence:

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Permanent Residence in South Africa grants recipients similar rights and privileges enjoyed by South African citizens and a South African identity document can be applied for after acquiring permanent residency. There are two sections a person may qualify for permanent residency under. Direct residence and Residence on other grounds.

You can apply for permanent residence in South Africa under direct residency if one of the following categories applies to you:

  • You have been a holder of a general work visa or a critical skills visa for at least five years and have received an offer of permanent employment;
  • You have been a spouse of a South African Citizen or permanent resident for at least five years and a good faith spousal relationship exists. Please take note that this permit shall lapse if within the first 2 years after granting of the permit, a good faith spousal relationship no longer exists.
  • You are a child under 18 of a South African citizen or permanent resident. Please take note that within 2 years of turning 18 a confirmation application must be submitted failing which the permanent residence shall lapse.
  • You are a child of a citizen.

Residence on other grounds

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Should you not qualify on any of the grounds, it is still possible to apply for permanent residency on one of the following grounds:

  • You have received an offer for permanent employment and it is proven that there was no suitable South African to fulfil the position. Please note that your spouse and children younger than 18 may be included in the application;
  • You can demonstrate that you possess a critical skill. Please take note that your immediate family can be included in the application;
  • Permanent residency is granted immediately to the holder of a business visa. In order to obtain a business visa you would need to either invest the prescribed amount of R5 million into an existing business or provide plans to establish a new business along with evidence of the capital contribution of R5 million. The Department of Home Affairs may reduce or waive the capital contribution amount, should the business be of national interest or upon being requested to do so by the Department of Trade and Industry. You would need to provide a chartered accountant’s certificate confirming the R5 million cash or capital contribution is available to be to be invested into the book value of the business. If you are establishing a new business, a comprehensive business plan is also required. Please note that funds comprising of the R5 million investment must originate from abroad.
  • You are a refugee and you have held refugee status for a continuous period of five years.

To enable you to apply for permanent residency on the basis of having held refugee status for a continuous period of 5 years, the following evidence needs to be provided:

  • Work references or certificates of service (covering at least the last five years);
  • Proof of five years’ continuous refugee status in the Republic;
  • Original certification from the standing committee for refugee affairs that applicant will remain a refugee indefinitely;
  • Original affidavit regarding aliases used for refugee status application by principle applicant or family members (if applicable).
  • You are intending to retire in South Africa. You would need to have access to either a pension, an irrevocable annuity or retirement account which affords an income of at least R37,000 a month for the rest of your life. Alternatively, your cash or a combination of assets must generate the equivalent amount (R37,000) per month. There is no age restriction to this category.

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