How to Get Permanent Residence in South Africa For Nigerians
For Nigerians willing to travel to South Africa to live permanently, there are several requirements depending on the type of permanent residence permit or visa you are willing to obtain. However there are several documents to provide and steps to follow to apply for a South African permanent residence visa. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of all necessary steps you need to take to successfully obtain your permanent residence in South African visa from Nigeria.
Different forms of Permanent Residence Permits in South Africa
Permanent immigration process to South Africa can be achieved through different avenues which all call for different requirements and eligibility.
Intending applicants can apply for permanent residency in South Africa through the following distinct categories:
- Relative Permanent Residence permit: immigration through the relatives permit is the process by which a close family member who is already a permanent resident in South Africa or a South African citizen intends to sponsor and accommodate his or her family member immigrating to South Africa permanently. Such relative or family member is allowed to apply for a permanent residence of South Africa by virtue of having a South African citizen as relative. The relatives permit is most suitable for individuals who are below 18 years of age and are direct relatives (first kin such as parent- child relationship) of a South African citizen or permanent resident.
- In order to successfully apply for permanent residence through the relative permit, it is important to already hold a valid temporary relative visa
- If you successfully obtain a permanent residence through the relative visa, you have almost all benefits that accrue to a South African citizen and are allowed to work, study or start your own business in the country.
- The period of processing a relative permits varies based on the durations posted by the department of home affairs through the visa application offices. It is important to bear in mind that the processing may take up to two years to be finalized.
- For a relative permit, the applicant is supposed to provide proof of funds to the tune of ZAR8, 500 monthly by the sponsor or jointly by sponsor and applicant.
- Spousal Permanent Resident Permit: this is required for those willing to obtain permanent residence in south Africa as a spouse of a south Africa citizen or permanent resident holder. This class of visa also applies to individuals who are into same sex marriage. Spousal visa requires that such couple must have been in marriage for at least five years.
- The processing duration for permanent resident permit is put at twenty four months or longer depending on the situation surrounding the application.
- Applicants are expected to provide proof of marriage validity such as their marriage certificate.
- Permanent Resident Permit through Work Visas: this is also an avenue through which individuals can apply for permanent residence in South Africa. There are different types of work visas available to travel to South Africa; however most of these require that a person must have worked continuously in South Africa for at least five years to be able to qualify for permanent residence permit application.
- Critical Skills Work visa: this will be issued to individuals who possess certain critical skills that are considered important to the economy of South Africa. They are workers who are highly needed for ready jobs in the country. Once you successfully apply for a critical skills work and are resident in South Africa, you can then apply for permanent permit under critical skills.
Note: You can only apply for the critical skill permanent permit after you must have been in continuous employment in South Africa for at least five years.
- Intra company transfer: this is suitable for applicants who are being transferred from a branch of an international company outside South Africa to a South African based branch. The visa allows such workers or applicants to obtain permanent resident in South Africa based on their transfer.
- General work visa: this type of visa is issued to applicants who do not meet any specified form of work visa but can tender a letter of employment from a South African employer. The applicant must also be able to prove that his prospective employer has employed South African citizens first and he or she is unavoidably required for the job. After working on such job for a period of five years, the individual can then go ahead and apply for permanent resident permit.
- Business Permanent Residence Permit: applicants who intend to establish a business in South Africa may be granted the business permanent resident visa provided their business plan include over 60percent of their employees being South Africans and also such business must have a financial investment of at least ZAR5million in the South Africa.
This class of permit also requires that the applicant receive a formal backing from the Department of Trade in South Africa affirming that such business has been or would be carried out to the national advantage of South Africa and is totally legal.
- Retirement Permanent Residence Permit: required for individuals who intend to spend their entire retirement period or later life in South Africa. These set of individuals must as a requirement not be in need of a job or intend to study or carry out any business while in South Africa. The retirement permanent residence permit has no age restrictions as to who can apply.
Note: Applicants must have proof to show at least a monthly income equivalent of ZAR37, 000 in form of annuities, pensions or income from asset rentals.
- Financially Independent Permanent Residence Permit: as the name implies, this is for applicants who are financially buoyant in terms of global or international assets and net worth. For an individual to be able to apply under this class of permanent residence permit, such must be worth at least ZAR12 million in net worth.
Note: The financially independent permanent residence permit application fee is put at ZAR120, 000.
- Life Partner Permanent Resident Permit: this is required for those willing to obtain permanent residence in south Africa as an individual in permanent relationship or cohabitation with a south Africa citizen or permanent resident holder. This class of visa also applies to individuals who are into same sex cohabitation or relationships. Life partner permanent resident permit requires that such couple must have been in the relationship for at least five years.
Note: Such applicant must be able to prove their permanent relationship and cohabitation through certified documents such as
- Joint bank account statements
- Proof of cohabitation such as joint house bills payments
- They can also obtain sworn affidavits from relatives and friends to confirm their relationship.
It is also important to note that for this form of permanent resident permit, interviews are inevitable.
Basic Process of Obtaining Permanent Residence Permit in South Africa
In order to obtain permanent residence in South Africa, applicants must complete an application process and obtain a Permanent Resident Card. This document gives a holder the right to many of the benefits South African citizens also enjoy.
The following are the basic processes of obtaining a permanent residence visa in South Africa;
Step 1: Determine your Eligibility and Obtain Required Documents: The most important step to applying for a permanent residence visa in South Africa is to determine your eligibility and obtain your required documents. These include
- A medical certificate showing that you are fit and devoid of any illness that may be found to be a threat to citizens of South Africa (this must not be older than six(6)months and carried out by a licensed medical practitioner).
- Certificate of police clearance to show you are not a criminal or not under police custody or warrant for committing an offence. This should be obtained from all countries the applicant has lived in the previous year and should not be older than six months for each country.
- Previous passports as well as past visas and existing visas, if applicable, to show your travel history.
- You also need two identical passport photographs with white backgrounds. Ensure that these meets the correct specifications (45/45 mm) and you sign at the back of each.
- A valid passport as well as a copy of your data page.
- A letter of self introduction with vital information such as your physical address, mail address and contact phone numbers.
- A radiological certificate or report not older than six months
- An international travelling certificate usually referred to as the yellow fever card completed by a licensed medical practitioner
- Certain certificates must also be made available as applicable depending on your visa class. These includes:
- Birth certificates for individuals younger than 18 or consent letters alongside parents’ identification, passport details and data page.
- Death Certificate in case of dead relative, spouse or life partner.
- Marriage certificate for spousal permanent resident permit applicants
- Possession of adequate funds to ensure your smooth stay in South Africa. The immigration officer must be convinced you can take care of yourself while in their country. You will need to provide proof of funds in terms of a bank statement of your account with history for at least three previous months. A proof of sponsorship from your employer in South Africa may also be acceptable.
Note: Always include the contact details and passport page of sponsors.
- Evidence to show continuous work or stay in South Africa for at least five years as applicable
- Passport of the South African relative/ Spouse/life partner to show that they are South African citizens or that they hold permanent residence.
- Evidence to show that you meet the critical skill requirement as published by the Minister such as professional or board certificate.
You can check this link for list of other documents required.
Step 2: Obtain and fill your Application form: after you determine your eligibility and prepare all required documents, the next step is to obtain and fill your application form. Ensure that the application from is completely and correctly filled and signed as required. You can find information on how to obtain your application form here.
Step 3: Confirm and Pay your Visa Application fees: After you have filled your visa application forms, there are certain fees to be paid. The visa fees vary for different forms of permits so ensure that you are paying the correct fees for the permit type for which you are applying. You can check for more information on visa fees here.
Note that the visa application fee is non-refundable. If your application is eventually rejected, your funds will not be returned to you.
Also there is the service Charge for Application handling which must be paid alongside visa application fees. This is currently at NGN25, 200.00 and it is also non-refundable
Step 4: Submission of Application documents: Now after making necessary payments, you may submit your application documents and the receipts/proof of payments of all fees paid. These include the visa fees and service charge. You are expected to gather all the aforementioned required documents and visit the nearest visa application centre for submission. The submission should be done personally and not through a third party. The different application centres accepts application on different days and times. Ensure you visit the website to check for appropriate timing to submit your application. You can check for appointment booking and timing by clicking here.
Step 5: Attend Interviews: Attend interviews as scheduled with immigration representatives. Be sure to maintain confidence and appear as neat as possible. Also avoid using language or behaviour that may pose you as a threat to South Africa
Step 6: Retrieve your passport
This is the final step in obtaining your South African visa. As soon as the embassy is done and your passport is ready, you will be contacted. You can choose to personally go and retrieve your passport at the South Africa Visa Application Centre or have your passport mailed back you (if you had earlier submitted with a self-addressed courier).
Important Note: Applicants are generally advised to apply for both temporary and permanent visa at the same time in order to travel on the temporary visa while still processing the permanent residence permit since the temporary takes a relatively shorter processing period.
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