The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has reopened applications for Permanent Residence Permits (PRPs). Applications have been suspended since March 2020, leaving many foreign nationals living and working in South Africa (SA) in an uncomfortable limbo.

While wading through the backlog and dealing with the inevitable (massive) influx of applications may slow approvals, for many the news is a welcome relief.

Do I qualify for permanent residence?

SA is an attractive place to settle for people from most walks of life, with temperate weather and economical living making it an ideal forever home. However, according to the SA Immigration Act, Section 26 and 27 (Regulation 33), permanent residence is only available to individuals on certain visas who are looking to actively contribute to SA’s growing economy.

Are you a foreign national residing in SA and looking to make it permanent? Before an applicant can be considered, they must submit representation to the DHA Minister, proving they are not an undesirable or prohibited person.

If you have performed any of these activities, you could be considered a prohibited person:

  • You are infected with infectious diseases that can spread easily. These diseases include cholera; pestilence, yellow fever and any other diseases as determined by the Department of Health from time to time
  • You have a warrant of arrest against you or a conviction for genocide, torture, drug trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping, terrorism, or murder secured in South Africa or any country with which South Africa has regular diplomatic relations
  • You are a member or supporter of an organisation practising racial hatred or social violence
  • You are a member of an organisation using crime or terrorism to reach its goals
  • You have previously been deported and have not been rehabilitated

You could be seen as an undesirable person if you have taken part in any of these activities:

  • You are/ you will be likely to become a public charge
  • you are identified by the Minister as undesirable or you have been declared incompetent
  • You are insolvent
  • You are a fugitive
  • You have a criminal conviction without the option of a fine for conduct which would be an offence in SA

Only once you have been cleared by the DHA, are you allowed to begin your PRP application. While paths to permanent residence may vary for individuals, only holders of the following visas with attached conditions are eligible.

There are two PRP categories, namely:

Direct Residence Permits

To qualify, you must have been living in SA on a valid work permit for a minimum of five years. Spouses and children of SA citizens/permanent residence permit holders may also apply for direct residence.

Residency-on-Other-Grounds Permits

You may qualify for residency on the following grounds:

  • You have received a permanent work offer in SA (Long-Term Work Visa)
  • You possess critical skills and qualifications (Critical Skills Work Visa)
  • You would like to start a business in SA
  • You are a retired individual
  • You are financially independent
  • You are the relative (biologically or adopted) of a SA citizen/permanent residence permit holder (Relatives/Spousal Visa)

While applying for permanent residence can be an exciting process, it can often be frustrating and overwhelming. Let our patient, experienced immigration consultants take care of the admin, while you prepare to make SA your home for life.

If you would like to know more about living in SA permanently, please contact us!

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Written by: Lauren Daniels