Permanent Residence Permit

South African ID Book

A South African Permanent Residence Permit may be granted to any applicant, who has been a holder of any single or consecutive Work Visa for a period of at least 5 years and has been offered permanent employment. Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa are not counting towards those 5 years, while the Holders of Critical Skills Work Visa, Business Visa or Retired Person Visa do not have to wait those 5 years and may apply for a Permanent Residence Permit anytime after they have been issued with their temporary residence visa.

Direct Permanent Residence

A direct permanent residence permit will equally be granted to the spouses or life partners of South African citizens or holders of permanent residence permits, if and when their relationship (spouse or life partner) has existed for a minimum of five years. While a spousal relationship is deemed to have existed uninterrupted from the date of the marriage, proof of a life partnership will have to be provided by means of:

  1. A notarial agreement of life partnership;
  2. An affidavit and proof of cohabitation; and
  3. Proof of having shared financial responsibilities.

PLEASE NOTE that the current Immigration Regulations 2014 still contradict the Immigration Act as amended in 2011 as far as the minimum period for co-habitation / marriage are concerned. While the Act requires five years, the 2014 Regulations speak actually of only two years. Therefore – and legally – the five year period still applies!

Life Partners

A life partnership is only recognised by law, if it is a relationship between a South African citizen or permanent residence permit holder and a foreigner or – under the new Regulations – between two foreigners. A life partnership is recognised for both, homosexual as well as heterosexual couples.


Children of South African citizens and of permanent residence permit holders qualify for a permanent residence permit directly as long as they are still under 21 years old. In case that children are above the age of 21, they may also qualify under Section 26(d).


Against contradicting press releases, siblings by blood also qualify for permanent residence.

Financially Independent

Permanent Residence based on Financial Independence has become for many a valid option as it does not necessitate to deal with the incompetence and ill-processing of temporary visa applications at the South African embassies and consulates, especially those situated in Berlin, Munich, Vienna and Sofia. Please see for more details and the specific requirements the corresponding web chapter under “Immigration”.