General Information for first time applicants

Applications for permanent residency in South Africa are considered in terms of Section 26 (Direct Residency Permits) and Section 27 (Residency-on-Other-Grounds Permits) of the Immigration Act 2002 (Act No 13 of 2002), and read with Regulation 23 and 24 of the Immigration Regulations. In terms of granting Permanent Residency Permits, emphasis is placed on immigrants who are in a position to make a meaningful contribution to broadening the economic base of South Africa.
**NOTE!!!  If applicants have been declared prohibited or undesirable persons, applicants must first submit written representation to the Minister of Home Affairs motivating why he or she should not be declared as prohibited or undesirable.

  • Those infected with or carrying infectious, communicable or other diseases or viruses as prescribed;
  • Anyone against whom a warrant is outstanding or a conviction has been secured in the Republic or a foreign country in respect of genocide, terrorism, human smuggling, trafficking in persons, murder, torture, drug related charges, money laundering or kidnapping;
  • Anyone previously deported and not rehabilitated by the Director-General in the prescribed manner;
  • A member of or adherent to an association or organisation advocating the practice or racial hatred or social violence;
  • Anyone who is or has been a member of or adherent to an organisation or association utilising crime or terrorism to pursue its ends; and
  • Anyone found in possession of a fraudulent visa, passport, permanent residence permit or identification document.

  • Anyone who is or is likely to become a public charge;
  • Anyone identified as such by the Minister;
  • Anyone who has been judicially declared incompetent;
  • An rehabilitated insolvent;
  • Anyone who has been ordered to depart in terms of this Act;
  • Anyone who is a fugitive from justice;
  • Anyone with previous criminal convictions without the option of a fine for conduct which would be an offence in the Republic, with the exclusion of certain prescribed offences; and
  • Any person who has overstayed the prescribed number of times.
**NOTE!!! It is only after the Minister of Home Affairs has declared a prospective immigrant not to be a prohibited/undesirable person, that an application for permanent residency status can be submitted. Once you have received a positive response from the Minister of Home Affairs, you may submit an application for either a Direct Residency Permit or a Residency-on-Other-Grounds Permit.

This category of permit is applicable to foreigners who have been residing in South Africa on the basis of their work permits for a minimum period of five years, their spouses and also to dependents of South African citizens/permanent residence permit holders.
To apply for a direct residency permit you need to complete form DHA-947 online via VFS GLOBAL.


This category of permits applies to foreigners who:

  • have critical skills and qualifications as prescribed in the critical skills list
  • intend to establish a business in the Republic
  • qualify as Refugees in terms of Section 27(c) of the Refugees Act
  • qualify as retired persons
  • are financially independent
  • are relatives (biologically or judicially adopted) of a South African citizen/permanent residence permit holder
**NOTE!!! All Permanent Residence Permits applications must be done online: Once your application has been submitted online, you need to book for an appointment at the nearest Visa Facilitation Centre in which you intend to live and work to submit supporting documents and have your biometrics taken. Please visit the aforementioned website to locate the nearest Visa Facilitation Centre. Alternatively, if you are based overseas, you can apply at your nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate in the country in which you live. A non-refundable fee is payable by means of an electronic fund transfer/ prepayment at Standard bank branches or by credit/ debit card at the centre for each applicant. No cash payment will be collected at the Visa Facilitation Centre.