Department of home affairs

What is Proof of Permanent Residency?

Immigrating to the picturesque, scenic and culturally diverse land of South Africa is something truly special. Thousands of foreign citizens enter the country every year, with many of them choosing to stay on and live their lives here on a permanent basis. Obtaining your temporary residence is the stepping stone required to achieve permanent residency, allowing you to live freely and enjoy many of the perks that South African citizens enjoy. Well, what exactly cements your position as a permanent resident, and how do you prove it?

What is Permanent Residency?

Permanent residency allows an applicant to reside in South Africa on a permanent basis. This means that while you are residing here, you will not be obligated to renew your Visa every couple of years. Hence; the term “permanent”!

What counts as proof of permanent residency?

A PR Certificate is issued upon successful application of your permanent residency. This certificate will be issued by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), where it will only be issued once. Ensure to get a certified copy and keep it on your person, with the actual certificate only being taken out upon travelling internationally.

It is also advisable to obtain a proof of permanent residency letter – which confirms the legitimacy of your PR certificate – and works to prove your status in the country in the event you lose your original permanent residency certificate.

What happens if I lose my PR Certificate?

As stated, this certificate is only issued once. If you misplace your certificate, an application for proof of Permanent Residence will need to be made. This will come in the form of applying for “confirmation of status“, thereby declaring your status of residency – and it takes the form of the proof of permanent residency letter.

Should you be absent from South Africa for three years or more, your permanent residency may be revoked, so make sure to obtain professional legal advice if you intend on leaving the Republic for extended periods of time.

How do I obtain Permanent Residency?

The process of acquiring your permanent residency is based on various categories listed in the Immigration Act – and you must apply on the basis of one of the categories (in other words, categories cannot be combined).

In order to achieve permanent residence, you will need to be staying in South Africa on a long-term temporary residence visa. This will allow you to apply for permanent residence, relevant to the following criteria:

  • You possess a permanent employment offer in South Africa and you have been residing in South Africa based on a work visa for five consecutive years (26(a))
  • You’re the spouse to a South African citizen in excess of five years (26(b))
  • You are highly qualified and possess favorable skills in terms of the most critical skills list (27(b))
  • You are in the process of starting a business or have a business in South Africa which meets financial requirements and falls within the national interest of the country (27(c))
  • You qualify as a refugee in terms of Section 27(c) of the refugees act (27(d))
  • You qualify as a retired individual (27(e))
  • You are financially independent (27(f))
  • You are related to a South African Citizen or permanent residence permit holder (26(c) or 27(g))


Which documents do I need t to obtain my PR Certificate?

Your PR certificate is granted to you upon a successful application for your permanent residency and takes between 12 and 24 months to process – but can take longer.

Some of the documents you will need to ensure a successful application include but are not limited to:

  • A completed and submitted Form Bl-947 form
  • A valid temporary residency permit
  • Unabridged birth certificate
  • A marriage certificate / Proof of spousal relationship, if applicable
  • Medical Report, original and no older than 6 months
  • Radiology Report, original and no older than 6 months
  • Police clearance certificates for all countries in which you resided for a period of one year or longer; since your 18th birthday

Now that you have learned so much more about Permanent Residency and the PR Certificate, you are more than ready to start your life as a permanent resident of South Africa. If you find the process of applying to be daunting and somewhat convoluted; June Luna Immigration Attorneys can aid you in achieving favourable results within your journey to becoming a resident of South Africa.

If you would like to find out more about proof of permanent residency, contact us today. Let JLIA help you spread your wings and find solace within the rainbow nation.