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A 2023 Guide to PR in South Africa: Requirements and Process

posted 10 months ago

GUIDE TO OBTAINING PR IN SOUTH AFRICA

Getting permanent residency (PR) in South Africa involves several steps and can be a complex and lengthy process. According to the latest available official statistics from the South African Department of Home Affairs, within the 2019/2020 financial year, a total of 10,740 permanent residence permits were issued in South Africa across all categories, including work, business, study, and family-related visas.

While it’s important to note that the number of PR applications can vary significantly from year to year, expats who are looking to live long-term in South Africa may find the below guide useful.

WHY CHOOSE PR IN SOUTH AFRICA?

South Africa offers a diverse culture, stunning landscapes, an excellent climate, affordable living costs, and a relatively high standard of living. It also provides opportunities for adventure activities, access to world-class healthcare and education, and a vibrant social scene. Plus, it is a hub for business and commerce in Africa.

APPLYING FOR PR IN SOUTH AFRICA

The process of obtaining permanent residency in South Africa can be complex and time-consuming, but it offers many benefits. As a permanent resident, individuals have the right to live and work in South Africa and participate in local government elections. Permanent residents also have the same legal rights and protections as citizens, including the right to own property and invest in the country.
There are several pathways to obtaining permanent residency in South Africa, including the Financial Independence Permit, work visas, and marriage to a South African citizen, all of which are discussed below. The application covers your immediate family members, including a spouse, children under 21, and medical dependents.

THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE PERMIT?

The Financial Independence Permit (Permanent Residence) is the most straightforward path to Permanent Residence South Africa. To qualify, you need to prove a net worth of ZAR 12 million (about USD 700,000 at the time of writing).
You do not have to invest any money, and the money does not have to be in South Africa. Processing is usually straightforward and fast, taking about 6 to 8 months. Upon completion, successful applicants must pay a fee of ZAR 120,000 (about USD 7,000), and they then receive their Permanent Residence Permit.

WHAT OTHER WAYS ARE THERE TO OBTAIN PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA?

The next possibility is if you have lived legally in South Africa for five years or more. In that case, you can start applying for permanent residence in South Africa right away.
Alternatively, if you are over 55 and can demonstrate a stable income, there is the Retired Person’s Permit, which negates the need for a work permit and leads to a Permanent Residence Permit.
Individuals married to a South African citizen have another path. They may apply directly for a residency permit.

The last route involves obtaining a work visa, which comes in various forms. For individuals with a permanent job offer, there is the general Work Visa. The Critical Skills Work Permit targets individuals possessing particular skills or qualifications that South Africa requires.

If you are seeking to invest or establish a business in South Africa, the business visa is available, removing the need for a work permit.
With any of the above, after residing in South Africa for a period of time, usually five years, you can then apply for a Permanent Residence Permit.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR PR IN SOUTH AFRICA?

To apply for permanent residency, individuals must submit their documentation to the Department of Home Affairs, accompanied by supporting papers such as a copy of their passport, a valid visa, proof of funds, and evidence of their qualifications or skills. The authorities give successful applicants a permanent residency certificate. It is valid for five years. You provide evidence of continued residence in South Africa when you need to renew it.

Depending on the type of permanent residency permit, individuals may need to have an address in South Africa and pay relevant taxes to maintain their status. However, permanent residency also grants the right to travel freely in and out of South Africa without the need for a visa, and for most, they need only enter the country at least once every 3 years.

Once an individual has held permanent residency in South Africa for between five and ten years (depending on individual situations), they may be eligible to apply for citizenship if they wish.

Overall, obtaining permanent residency in South Africa offers many advantages for those looking to establish a life in the country and take advantage of its various opportunities.

TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENSHIP, YOU MUST MEET THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS:

To apply for permanent residency, individuals must submit their documentation to the Department of Home Affairs, accompanied by supporting papers such as a copy of their passport, a valid visa, proof of funds, and evidence of their qualifications or skills. The authorities give successful applicants a permanent residency certificate. It is valid for five years. You provide evidence of continued residence in South Africa when you need to renew it.

Depending on the type of permanent residency permit, individuals may need to have an address in South Africa and pay relevant taxes to maintain their status. However, permanent residency also grants the right to travel freely in and out of South Africa without the need for a visa, and for most, they need only enter the country at least once every 3 years.

Once an individual has held permanent residency in South Africa for between five and ten years (depending on individual situations), they may be eligible to apply for citizenship if they wish.

Overall, obtaining permanent residency in South Africa offers many advantages for those looking to establish a life in the country and take advantage of its various opportunities.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO APPLY TO THE CITIZENSHIP IN SOUTH AFRICA?

  1. Gather the necessary documents: You will need to provide proof of your residency, language proficiency, good character, and knowledge of South African culture and society.
  2. Complete the application form: You can obtain the application form from your nearest Home Affairs office or download it from their website.
  3. Submit your application: You can submit your application in person at your nearest Home Affairs office or online via their website.
  4. Attend an interview: If your application is successful, you will be invited to attend an interview with a Home Affairs official to confirm your eligibility for citizenship.
  5. Take the citizenship test: You may be required to take a citizenship test to demonstrate your knowledge of South African culture and society.
  6. Attend a citizenship ceremony: If your application is approved, you will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony where you will take an oath of allegiance to South Africa.
  7. Receive your certificate of citizenship: After the citizenship ceremony, you will receive your certificate of South African citizenship.

 

REQUEST MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PR IN SOUTH AFRICA

 

With more than 30 years of experience in Immigration Law and over 20 offices around the world, including in France and the Ivory Coast,

Harvey Law Group (HLG) is known for its expertise in helping high net worth individuals and business clients navigate the complex legal and regulatory landscape of investment immigration, with a focus on programs in Canada, the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.

Schedule a consultation at [email protected]

or call Tel +27 087 109 0725.

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