How to get a Permanent Residency Visa in South Africa - Secret Cape Town
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How to get a Permanent Residency Visa in South Africa

If you’re planning to make South Africa your home for the long run, then you should apply for a permanent residency visa. Traveling around this magnificent country as a permanent resident has more benefits compared to a temporary resident. 

With that in mind, applying for residency at the Department of Home Affairs can be a challenging process. To help you make your application for permanent residency easier, here are some quick tips on how to get started with your application for a permanent residency visa. 

Requirements for Permanent Residency Visa in South Africa 

Before you can officially apply for residency, you must first be able to prove that you have a valid visa and have lived in the country for a minimum of five years. If you are married to a South African national, you must be married for at least five years before you can apply for permanent residency. 

Keep in mind that even with a visa, it does not mean that your application will be approved right away. The minister still has the power to decline your application. Your visa can be denied, even though you have followed all the procedures, based on the government’s decision.  

How to get a Permanent Residency Visa in South Africa - Secret Cape Town

In order to qualify for a permit you need to fall into one or more of these categories: 

  • You have a permanent business or employment in South Africa
  • You have exceptional qualifications and skills
  • You qualify as a retired person 
  • You are financially independent
  • You intend to establish a business 
  • You have relatives that are citizens of South Africa and have a residential permit. 
  • You qualify as a refugee

Documents needed for submission: 

  • Form Bl-947 
  • Proof of custody of a minor, if applicable 
  • Full set of fingerprints 
  • Parental consent for minors, if applicable 
  • Proof of legal separation/divorce decree, if applicable
  • Marriage certificate, if applicable 
  • If already in South Africa, a temporary valid residency permit 
  • Police certificate clearance for countries of previous residence for a period of one year or longer since your 18th birthday. 
  • Death certificate of spouse, if applicable 
  • Proof of judicial adoption of a minor, if applicable 

FAQs About Permanent Residence in South Africa 

What are the different types of residence permits in South Africa?  

  • Life partner/spouse residency permit – for those who are married or in a long-term  relationship with someone who has a permanent residence permit. This applies to both same sex and heterosexual couples. It’s important to prove that you have been in a relationship or married for at least five years. 
  • Relatives with a permanent residency permit – for those who are biologically related to someone who is a citizen of South Africa  or a foreigner with a permanent residence permit.
  • Permanent business residency – if you own a business with a temporary visa in South Africa, and you can prove that 60% of your employees consists of South Africans or permanent residents, have invested the prescribed amount of R5 million into the book value of the business, and have met all the requirements, then you can qualify to apply for permanent residency under this category. 
  • Permanent residency for critical skill – if you own a temporary work visa for a critical skill, have a permanent job, and can prove that you have at least five years of experience in your field of expertise, then you can apply for a permit under this category. 

What if I have already applied for a permanent residency permit, but still have not received any feedback on my application, can I still stay in South Africa legally?  

No. You can only stay in South Africa if you have a temporary work visa or residence visa. If you do not have a valid visa while you are waiting for the confirmation on your application, you will be reckoned as an undesirable person. This simply means that you will not be granted your permit even if you qualified. If you decide to leave the country, you will be forbidden to enter South Africa again based on how long you have overstayed your visa.