Visas & PermitsTemporary and Permanent Residence in South Africa
Note: In terms of the new immigration laws, any new applicant who applies for a South African temporary residence beyond three months, save for exceptional circumstances, needs to apply at the nearest South African Mission in his or her country of nationality or residency before coming to South Africa.
Note further: Renewals or change of temporary residence condition or status can be applied for in South Africa without the need to return to his or her home country.
Contact Craig Smith & Associates for assistance on your temporary residence needs. We will consult, advise and prepare all your paperwork in response to a submission abroad.
Permanent residence grants a foreign applicant the right to remain indefinitely in South Africa and has the same rights, privileges and obligations as a South African citizen save for the right to a South Africa Passport and accompanying right to vote.
It will therefore grant unfettered rights to pursue any activity in South Africa regardless of the category of permanent residence applied for. What this means is that the holder of permanent residence is then permitted to work, run business, sojourn as he or she pleases subject, of course, to any specific conditions that may be attached to such permanent residence.
Permanent residence is determined in accordance with section 25, 26 and 27 of the Immigration Act, read with the prevailing 2014 Immigration Regulations.
Permanent residence can be applied for in South Africa if such applicant is the holder of an existing status in South Africa. If not, he or she can apply at the nearest South African Mission.
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. It is our view that such opposition by the said Department falls foul of any rational purpose and unlawful. Moreover, such right is further entrenched in terms of Regulation 23(2)(k) of the 2014 Immigration Regulations.
Note: Permanent residence takes anything from 1 to 2 years to be issued. Legally, the Department ought to take 8 months to finalize but seldom does. See our legal services where we offer services to expedite pending permanent residence applications.
Residency visa categories
Categories of Permanent Residence
- Holder of work visa for continuous 5 years and in possession of permanent offer of employment
- Evidence to show 5 years of being a “spouse”
- Child of a South African permanent resident or citizen
- Critical Skills Category
- Exceptional Skills Category
- Own Business Category
- Refugee Status
- Retirement Category
- Financially Independent
- Relative’s Category
Temporary residence visas
1. Visitor’s Visas – Under 90 Days
1. Port of Entry/Visitor’s Visa (commonly referred to as “tourist visa”)
All foreign persons who seek entry into South Africa are obliged to hold Port of Entry Visas. Upon admission by an the immigration officer such visa will be construed to be a valid visa, be it a visitor’s visa, or other defined and permissible categories of temporary residence.
Note: There are non-exempt and exempt countries that qualify for a Port of Entry Visa up to 90 days that will automatically be considered a Visitor’s Visas upon entry. It is important to consider whether an applicant is eligible or not based on his or her nationality to determine whether he or she may enter South Africa without first applying for a Port of Entry Visa at his or her nearest South African Mission.
Port of Entry Visas for less than 90 days are generally intended to allow such entry into South Africa as a visitor for leisure purposes with certain exceptions.
2. Visitor’s Visa 90 days Extension – Section 11(1)(a)
Having now been granted a visitor’s visa upon entry into South Africa, such foreigner has the right in terms of section 11(1)(a) of the Act to apply for a further 90 days to remain in South Africa. Note: Some South African Missions may impose a condition on non-visa exempt foreigners to prohibit an extension of the initial stay in South Africa – so be on the lookout for this restriction.
Thus, it is important to consider whether the condition attached to the Port of Entry Visa permits an extension and all visitor’s extensions must be applied for either in the first 7 days of a 30 day visit or in the first 30 days of a 90 day visit.
3. Section 11(2) – Short terms work authorisation
A short-term 90 days work authorisation visitor’s visa may be granted upon application prior to entering South Africa at the nearest South African Mission with supporting papers and technically may also be extended in South Africa a further 90 days– see Work Visas below.
2. Visitor’s visas – Excess of 90 days up to 3 Years
This category of visitor’s visas are still technically labeled visitor’s visas but the purpose of the stay in South Africa is linked to the specific categories set out in section 11(1)(b)(i) to (iv) as well as the categories set out in Regulation 11(4) of the Immigration Regulations 2014.
Categories in terms of Section 11(1)(b)(i) to (iv) include:
- Academic Sabbatical – often related to members of academia who wish to perform non-formal or contractual academic related activities.
- Volunteer or Charitable Activities – take up non-remunerated work at legally established charitable legal entity.
- Research – research related activities in most cases related to academic or formal social works or academic works.
- “Any other prescribed activity” – typically this relates to two areas, namely:
- Accompanying Spouse/Dependents – this category relates to all spouse and or dependent minor children who are younger than 18 and who accompany the main applicant and are related to the main applicant as a marital or permanent spouse and or biological children and;
- Those categories set out in Regulation 11(4) of the Immigration Regulations set out in 2(b) below.
Categories in Regulation 11(4) of the Immigration Regulations, other than Accompanying Spouse & Minor Children include:
- Teaching at international schools
- Films & advertisement assignments
- Foreign journalist
- Visiting Professor or Lecturer or Academic researcher
- An Artist who writes, paints or sculpts and can present a portfolio of works
- Entertainer performing
- Tour Leader or Host of recognized group
Note: This relates to work that requires to be conducted in South Africa pursuant to a contractual arrangement with foreign entity.
Spouse Visas in terms of section 11(6) – Spouse with Endorsements to Work, Study, Conduct Business or Volunteer.
A Spousal Visa is in fact the appropriate visa for foreign spouses to remain with their South African marital or permanent partners. Since the spousal visa has been added to the visitor’s section it has given rise to much confusion.
So although a spousal visa is catered for under the visitor’s section of the Immigration Act it leads to confusion, which was specifically dealt with in the groundbreaking case, launched by Craig Smith & Associates, in the High Court, of Stewart & Others versus Minister of Home Affairs. See our Media section.
A South African Spouse Visa in terms of section 11(6) may be issued to a foreign spouse of a South African citizen or permanent resident for three years subject to that relationship being in good faith i.e. not of convenience and spouses who are either legally married or in a permanent partnership subject to Regulation 3 of the Immigration Regulations 2014.
The South African Spouse Visa, issued in terms of section 11(6) of the Act, is in fact distinct to a Relative’s Visa in terms of section 18. Technically, in the Stewart judgment, the Court confirmed that a Relative’s visa is in fact not designed for spouses but for relatives as members of the immediate family.
The advantage of a South African Spousal Visa is that it allows a foreign spouse to remain and sojourn, validly work, or study in South Africa pending a permanent resident permit being applied for and granted. Moreover, the typical long-form requirements for work, study and own business visa requirements are therefore waived under this category in terms of the normal prescriptive requirements.
Should you require a South African spousal visa for your loved one, you can rely on the professional skills of Craig Smith & Associates to process your application. Click here to enquire.
3. Relative’s Visa
A relative’s visa, issued in terms of section 18 of the Act, is issued when the foreign applicant is a relative and part of the “immediate family” as defined in the Immigration Act of a South African citizen or Permanent Resident holder. It extends to the second step of kinship and thus has the effect of allowing siblings of a South African citizen or permanent resident to acquire a relative’s visa.
The definition of “immediate family” will allow for foreign member/s of the family of such South African citizen or permanent resident that are in the vertical line of kinship as either the parent or the child of a South African. It will also include horizontally, a brother or sister, of a South African. The Relative’s visa will also be issued for a maximum of two years without the right to work.
Such citizen or permanent resident must be able to financially support the applicant in an amount of R8500 per month per person to qualify.
Note: Where the foreign applicant for a relative’s visa is linked to a South African citizen or permanent resident who is a dependent minor then such South African is exempt from proving and substantiating the financial consideration of R8500. This exemption is not offered in a permanent residence application linked to a dependent minor.
There is still confusion and legal quandary as to whether the relative’s visa should relate to spouses who are married to or permanent partners of South Africans. This was technically dealt with and confirmed not to relate to spouses. Yet, it appears that the Department is still grappling with its legal effect, which is unfortunate. See the case of Stewart versus Minister of Home Affairs.
4. Study Visas
Note: There is much spoken about learning institutions/schools/universities/colleges refusing to allow foreign learners to attend on classes until their actual study visa has been finalized and endorsed in the leaner’s passport.
It is our considered view that if timeous application has been made, especially in the cases of minor learners, and a receipt has been given, and the application has now been pending beyond 30 days of submission, such learner could take the point that section 29 of the Constitution of South Africa provides the right to receive basic education and all schools and even universities should consider this very seriously in their admissions policy.
South African study visas may be issued to a foreigner intending to study in South Africa for longer than three months at any learning institution, as defined in the Immigration Regulations, which has been approved by the Department of Home Affairs.
Typically, learning institutions encompass primary and high schools for study visa durations of up to a maximum of 8 and 6 years, respectively. Study visas are issued for durations at tertiary and higher educational institutions depending on the length of course, normally up to 3 to 4 years.
Note: Children at pre-primary level i.e. prior to Grade R need not acquire study visas but normal accompanying dependent minor visitor’s visas.
South African study visas at tertiary level entitle the holder to conduct part-time work, as defined in the Immigration Act, for a period not exceeding twenty hours per week.
Any change in school whilst the holder of a study visa moves to another school or departs or leaves school and remains in South Africa, such holder may be in breach of the terms of the original study visa and thus ensure that the terms of the study visa are strictly complied with.
Craig Smith & Associates, as professional immigration attorneys, offers services in the acquisition or amendments of study visas should the need arise.
5. Business Visas
A business visa is issued in terms of section 15 of the Immigration Act, read with Regulation 14 of the 2014 Immigration Regulations.
A South African business visa may be issued to a foreigner who intends to establish his or her own business or invest in an existing business in South Africa a minimum of R5 million from abroad into such business provided such funds are certified by a registered accountant to remain part of the underlying book value of the business.
The Department of Home Affairs in South Africa must be satisfied that the business is legitimate in terms of business plans, undertakings for SARS and other registrations, where necessary, and undertakings that a minimum ratio citizens or permanent residents will be employed, in the application process of a business visa.
Certain sectors of industry business in South Africa that are considered to be material to local enterprise and development like information technology, tourism industry, clothing and textile and other industries consented to by the Department of Trade and Industry, will allow the Director-General to waive or reduce the above investment amount of R5 million in terms of the South African business visa.
There are certain businesses that are excluded that are considered undesirable and there are businesses that are considered favorable and in the national interest which in fact qualify for a reduced investment amount.
The business visa process no longer envisages a single step process but is now determined in two definitive stages:
Stage 1 – The application to the Department of Trade and Industry
In this process the Department of Trade and Industry will assess the Business Plan to determine the nature of the business, its viability and its support to the national interest. They will often attend on the premises of the foreign applicant to assess the veracity of the applicant and support for such application.
Once the said Department is satisfied with assessing such application they will supply their recommendation, either positive or negative, to the Department of Home Affairs, where the application is being submitted.
Note: It is unfortunate that the Department of Trade and Industry have been given exclusivity in recommending the application and if it is considered not to be in the national interest then Home Affairs will refuse the application. This is in our considered view to be unlawful and contrary to the Immigration Act and Regulations.
Stage 2 – The application to the Department of Home Affairs or the Mission abroad
Once the Department of Trade and Industry has finalised their mandate is the applicant will be instructed to submit his or her business visa application at the relevant office abroad or in South Africa. The applicant will not know whether the recommendation is positive or negative but receive the outcome by the Department of Home Affairs.
Since this application is extremely complex and susceptible to arbitrary assessment we suggest you contact Craig Smith & Associates for further assistance herein.
6. Work & Work-related Visas
There are categories of South African work visas available to a foreigner, each with its own set of specific requirements, all assisting those wishing to enter and remain in South Africa on a work related visas. As leading immigration attorneys in South Africa we can provide assistance in obtaining the following South African Work and Work Related Visas:
We would consider the following work and related working visas and can provide assistance to be dealt with under this section:
- Section 11(2) Short term 90 days Work Visas
- General Work Visas – Section 19(2) of the Act
- Critical Skills Work Visas – Section 19(4) of the Act
- Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas – Section 19(5) of the Act
- Corporate Work Visas & Corporate Worker Visas – Section 21 of the Act
- Exchange Visas – Section 22 of the Act
Note: The previous quota skills and exceptional skills work visas in terms of section 19(1) and 19(4) of the previous Immigration Act were repealed and replaced by the Critical Skills Work Visa in terms of the new section 19(4). The Exceptional Skills category, however, is still retained for permanent residence as an independent category in terms of section 27(b) of the Immigration Act.
Section 11(2) – Short term Work Visitor’s Visas
Often, an applicant is required to enter and remain in South Africa for a short-term duration under 90 days to fulfill work or business related activities. It is argued that “work” is defined in terms of the Immigration Act and therefore such related activities are available to such applicant for short stays.
An application may be submitted at the nearest SA Mission in your country of origin wherein a compliant application may be submitted. There are important requirements to demonstrate in order to successfully acquire such visa. It is also normally issued in less time than the usual longer-term visa application.
Extension of a Section 11(2) – Short-terms Work Visitors Visas
In terms of regulation 11(7)(e), read with section 11(1)(a) of the Act, an extension of a further 90 days of such visa status in South Africa may be applied for. This is a recent addition to the 2014 Immigration Regulations.
This is a very useful strategy where foreign workers are required to come to South Africa for specific work to be conducted without having to comply with the time-consuming and burdensome requirements of typical work visas.
It may also be a precursor to a more definite strategy for a company whilst it is still arranging its positioning within the South African market in terms of strategy in the marketplace.
General Work Visas – Section 19(2) of the Immigration Act
The basis of a general work visa is that a South African registered employer has made a firm offer of employment to a prospective skilled foreigner after such employer can objectively demonstrate that he has unsuccessfully exploited the local labour market in attempting to procure the needed skills, experiences or qualifications possessed by such foreign applicant.
There is a two-stage process involved in successfully acquiring a general work visa.
Step 1 – Department of Labour interventions
The South African employer must in the first instance demonstrate sufficient due diligence in exhausting the local employment market to determine that no suitable candidate can be found, which is required to be endorsed by our Department of Labour. A list is provided by such Department for completion.
Such list of requirements is designed to ensure that sufficient due diligence is paid attention to the recruitment process in searching for local South Africans and that such foreign candidate is suitably skilled for the position at hand.
Note: It is has become a common trend that the Department of Labour pursues the due diligence enquiry without even contemplating the employers’ endeavours. It is argued that this process is nothing but a ploy by such Department to assess and enforce labour compliance issues. In most cases the Department of Labour negatively recommends the foreign candidate regardless of the merits.
Step 2 – Application to South African Mission abroad or at Department of Home Affairs in South Africa
Once the Department of Labour Certificate is available for onward submission the applicant will be prompted to submit such application. The foreign applicant will still not know whether he or she has been positively or negatively recommended and thus will nevertheless have to proceed with the application despite such uncertainty.
The application for a general work visa is then made either to any South African Mission abroad or in South Africa if on existing status other than visitor or medical treatment visa.
The Department of Labour Certificate is then forwarded on to the relevant Home affairs office and it either recommends the applicant or not with reasons stated therein.
It is thus highly recommended to contact Craig Smith & Associates to ensure that objective advices are provided in advance in taking the step to procure such general work visa and Department of Labour recommendation.
Renewals of General Work Visas
It is our considered view that the general work visas acquired under the previous immigration laws of the 26th of May 2014 would be expected to comply with the new laws as outlined above.
In terms of general work visas under the new immigration laws is not entirely clear whether the renewal of a general work visa is required to comply with the Department of Labour requirements, as set out above.
We submit that if a permanent contract of employment was awarded and a renewal is sought by an applicant in the same capacity with the same employer then it ought not be required to undergo the same process but the Department likely will adopt a restrictive approach and apply their own interpretation of the transitional provisions in the immigration laws.
Change of Condition to new Employer and renewals of General Work Visa based on Fixed Term Contract
It may be an entirely different position if the foreign applicant was changing to a new employer and seeks a new general work visa or if the contract was awarded on a fixed term basis and that tied in with the need to do a renewal as it would then be considered to be a new employment position being awarded and hence the need to fulfill the general work visa requirements from the outset.
For general work visas contact Craig Smith & Associates, specialist immigration attorneys for efficient and skilled service.
Critical Skills Work Visas – Section 19(4) of the Immigration Act
The critical skills work visa is a new addition to the work related visa options in terms of section 19(4) of the Act, having effectively replaced the old “scarce skills” under the old Quota Work Permit regime in terms of section 19(1) and Exceptional Skills Work Permit in terms of 19(4) of the Act for those workers who demonstrated skills or qualifications and achievements in relation thereto that warranted exceptional status.
The requirements for critical skills are set out in a prescriptive sense in that any applicant who can demonstrate skills or qualifications in accordance with the list of designated industry sectors and associated occupations will qualify for such work visa upon complying with the list of requirements for that specific occupation.
In most cases, it will require such qualifications to be assessed by SAQA and endorsement by the associated professional body representing such industry and associated occupations. Such list of professional bodies and specific requirements are set out in such CRITICAL SKILLS LIST.
It is also important to note that the critical skills will be granted for one year only if there is no employer who has offered a contract of employment. The applicant, after acquiring a critical skills, where no employer is on hand, will then have one year to find gainful employment in that industry and occupation wherein the applicant can suitably apply for a five year critical skills work visa assuming the contract is a permanent one.
Note: Exceptional skills has been retained for permanent residence but has nevertheless introduced critical skills as a key component in qualifying for such residency status.
For critical skills work visa contact Craig Smith & Associates, specialist immigration attorneys for efficient and skilled service.
Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas – Section 19(5) of the Immigration Act
An intra company transfer work visa is issued to a foreigner who is required to be assigned, deployed or seconded to South African branch, subsidiary or affiliate office in relation to such foreign entity abroad.
The rationale is not based on the skills or qualifications of the foreign applicant, as in the case of a general work visa or critical skills, but rather the crucial relationship between the two entities in South Africa and abroad.
There are two major changes that have been introduced since the new immigration laws of 2014 in that it requires the foreign applicant to demonstrate at least 6 months in the employ of the entity abroad and that such wok visa is now granted or up to four years, which cannot be renewed in South Africa.
Note: Whilst an intra company transfer work visa may not be renewed in South Africa after a period of four years, it may be applied for afresh after four years back in the applicant’s country of origin or place of residency, if applicable. This will therefore allow a further term in South Africa.
For both exceptional skills work permits or Intra-company transfer work permits, contact Craig Smith & Associates, specialist immigration attorneys for efficient and skilled service.
For intra-company transfer work visas contact Craig Smith & Associates, specialist immigration attorneys for efficient and skilled service.
7. Retirement Visa
The South African Retired Person Visa, also referred to as the South African Retirement Visa is one most favoured by foreigners wishing to retire or sojourn on a seasonal basis generally for non-work related activities in South Africa.
This retirement visa allows a foreigner to enter into South Africa on a seasonal or continual basis for more than the standard 3 month limit, thus giving foreigners who are financially sound and compliant with the financial criteria but require the flexibility of retiring and still residing in other parts of the world all the freedom they need to come and go.
A South African retirement visa may be granted to a foreigner who is able to prove a financial right to a pension, irrevocable annuity, or requirement account with which to support him or herself indefinitely while in South Africa and valid for a period of 4 years, after which it is renewable in South Africa.
In order to be eligible for a South African retirement permit, foreigners will be required to provide proof that he or she has access to an amount of R37 000 per month as an income pursuant to the above-mentioned sources, or, that he or she has a net worth equivalent to a combination of assets that will produce R37 000 per month.
It will allow the option to add “work” but it is out view that it will only relate to foreign applicants who are clearly of retirement age earning income from retirement sources.
The Department of Home Affairs has never expressly indicated a global amount to retire, which often creates uncertainty. Moreover, there is lack of clarity of what assets are to be taken into account when determining net worth.
If you would like to find out more detail about this visa, or if you wish to apply for one you can contact the team at Craig Smith and Associates for information, advice or assistance.
8. Corporate Visa
A South African corporate visa is issued to a corporate applicant i.e. the company who is operating a business in South Africa and wishes to employ foreigners for such corporate applicant as opposed to an individual person thereby requiring a corporate visa.
A South African corporate visa is issued by the Director-General of Home Affairs in South Africa. After consultation with the Departments of Labour and Trade and Industry, the Department of Home Affairs will determine the maximum number of foreigners to be employed by such corporate applicant.
There are a series of financial and other undertakings that are required to be fulfilled by a corporate applicant before a South African corporate visa would be granted.
Each foreigner employed under a South African corporate visa is regarded as a corporate worker and is required to be in possession of an authorization certificate as proof of employment by that South African corporate visa holder.
The holder of a corporate visa is normally part of the large corporate accounts section of home affairs and receive a more direct line of communication as opposed to individual visa holders.
The acquisition of a corporate visa is highly demanding of such corporate applicant and it will require meticulous compliance with requirements that satisfy many stakeholders and for that reason we recommend that you contact Craig Smith & Associates for further information.
9. Medical Treatment Visas
South Africa is an affordable destination with world-class medical facilities. It is for that reason that foreign applicants see South Africa as a prime destination for medical treatments of varying needs.
Some seek cosmetic surgery and treatments that require a period of recovery before returning to his or her country or origin, whilst others require invasive and life threatening remedial treatment and finally there are those who come to South Africa to seek rehabilitation from certain addictions.
Thus, our private medical and health care facilities are highly sought after and very often foreigners utilize our facilities and make use of medical treatment visas for longer than three months but limited to six months, which may be renewed.
Medical treatment visas are a service offered by our professional immigration attorneys. Click here to find out more about the application process for medical treatment permits.
10. Treaty Visas
Treaty visas may be issued to a foreigner conducting activities in South Africa in terms of an international agreement to which South Africa is a party.
This is often treaties concluded between governments of South African and abroad that will normally seek to be of benefit to both countries.
Permanent residence visas
1. Section 26(a) – Holder of work visa for continuous 5 years and in possession of permanent offer of employment
Note: The Department of Home Affairs will refuse applications on this category where there has been a break in the continuity of the work visa even if it is only a few days.
Note: Time accumulated on corporate worker visa will not count towards the 5 years of holding a work visa. It is our view that work visa will encompass the three categories of work visa in terms of section 19 of the Immigration Act. It does lead to some confusion as to whether a section 19(5) will count but in our view it is possible but such applicant will have to have a permanent contract of employment from the South African employer.
2. Section 26(b) – Evidence to show 5 years of being a “spouse” as defined in the Immigration Act
The definition of “spouse” envisages either a party to a marriage as recognized in our laws and a party who is in a permanent relationship as contemplated in terms of regulation 3 of the 2014 Immigration Regulations.
Note: If the “spouse” relationship is that of being a permanent relationship it is important to show the evidence of same in the form of one or more of the following for at least 5 years: shared banking, joint medical or life cover, payments to each other, joint purchases or ownership of property, joint wills, lease agreement history to show cohabitation or utility bills.
Note: The Department of Home Affairs impose a condition attached to the issuance of the permanent residence on this category, which requires the holder to remain in a permanent relationship of good faith for a period of 2 years upon the issuance of such residency. It is recommended that you approach home affairs for an interview upon two years of issuance.
Note: If the relationship has broken down in the first two years then technically the condition has been breached and the residence lapses. We suggest you contact Craig Smith & Associates should you feel that your relationship is at risk.
3. Section 26(c) and (d) – child of a South African permanent resident or citizen
This is evidenced through the full birth certificate. Step-children or parties who have guardianship will not qualify but adopted children will.
Residence on other grounds
4. Section 27(a) – Critical Skills category
This category will require that the applicant demonstrate and meet the criteria in terms of the critical skills list, inter alia, endorsement with the SAQA accredited professional bodies, SAQA assessment of qualifications from abroad (if local qualifications then no need for SAQA) as well as advertising interventions and the holding of a permanent contract of employment.
It will be a requirement that the Department of Home Affairs will assess the level of post-qualification experience by the applicant in his or her CV and supporting papers.
5. Section 27(b) – Exceptional Skills category
This category will still require of the applicant to demonstrate critical skills per the requirements above saving for advertising and permanent contract of employment but then also demonstrate over and above such critical skills extraordinary skills or qualifications in the form of 5 years post qualifications experience with corroboration by a comprehensive CV, supporting testimonials and references.
In this category the requirement of a permanent contract of employment is not required.
Note: The Department of Home Affairs have not catered for applicants who are exceptional in their endeavor but not part of the critical skills list. The thrust of this will disallow professional sportsperson, writers, designer, artists or the like to qualify for exceptional skills. There is an unfortunate void in the recognition of such talents or fall outside the critical skills list and is contrary to the stated intentions of the immigration laws.
6. Section 27(c) – Own Business category
This category requires an applicant for residence on the business. See temporary residence section for a discussion on such requirements.
7. Section 27(d) – Refugee Status
Those asylum seekers who have qualified for refugee status and complied with the Refugees Act in terms of section 27(c) by demonstrating 5 years of refugee status and satisfies the standing committee for refugee affairs that he or she will remain a refugee indefinitely will be able to apply for permanent residence together with a South African police clearance and an affidavit covering certain aspects.
8. Section 27(e) – Retirement category
This category has the exact same requirements set out in the section on retirement visas under temporary residence.
Of course, the issuing of permanent residence is a lot stricter even though the requirements are identical to the temporary residence.
The Department of Home Affairs has been refusing many of these applications so it is recommended that you consider contacting Craig Smith & Associates for guidance herein.
9. Section 27(f) – Financially Independent
This category is infrequently applied for but nevertheless our law firm handles many of these ‘high net worth’ individuals and families.
An applicant who can show a net worth of R12 million or more in assets and pay the Department of Home Affairs an administration fee of R120, 000.00 will qualify together with dependent family members.
There is no guidance as to what ‘net worth’ means and therefore, it would be understood, literally, 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. It is then that the applicant is called upon to pay the amount in order to receive the permanent residence permit.
It is unfortunate that this category is given ‘vip’ attention as the applicants often have to wait the same long timelines before they get their permanent residence. It is hoped that this category will in time be an expedited service where it is finalised within 3 months otherwise there is little incentive to apply under this category.
Note: Very often, the retirement category can achieve the same outcome without having to pay the exorbitant administrative fee.
10. Section 27(g) – Relative’s category
This category envisages an applicant who is in the first line of kinship to a South African citizen or permanent resident.
Typically, this category envisages an applicant in the first line of kinship of a South African permanent resident or citizen relative who is 18 years or older where such South African relative is able and willing to support and maintain the applicant.
Typically, this category would apply to a foreign parent of an adult South African son or daughter. The converse would apply to a South African parent whose foreign son or daughter is 18 or older and wishes to apply for residence.
Note: There is much confusion whether it permits an applicant to apply on the basis of his or her South African child born of his or her relationship. The Department of Home Affairs consistently refuses any applications made by the foreign parent on the basis of a minor South African child as it requires the South African ‘relative’ to be able to support the applicant and of course a minor South African child is not able to do so.
It is our considered view that this category is restrictive and irrational as it allows temporary residence to the foreign parent of a South African child without even having to show financial assurance and yet for permanent residence it does not.