13 Jun What to do after obtaining Permanent Residency
Once you have obtained your permanent residency, most of the stress surrounding your immigration status will disappear. Months of sleepless nights, long queues and unfavourable outcomes are almost a thing of the past. However, once you have obtained your permanent residency – what comes next?
Upon obtaining your permanent residence, you are awarded many benefits despite not being an official citizen. While the rush of excitement may slightly cloud your judgement – remember to keep your eyes set on the end goal. Now, you will need to start applying for the documents that will make your time in South Africa that much more pleasant and help you contribute to this ever-growing economy.
Remind me again, what exactly is ‘South African Permanent Residency’?
Permanent residency allows you to reside and live in South Africa on a permanent basis without having to renew your status, despite not being an official citizen. Permanent residence is normally obtained after temporary residency has been acquired.
Do I have any proof of my permanent residency status?
Once your Permanent Residency is approved, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will issue you a PR certificate to confirming your permanent residency in South Africa. Always keep a certified copy of this document when commuting – while safely storing the original. The loss of this document can make for an uncomfortable situation, as taking 6-12 months will get you a letter confirming your proof of permanent residency.
TIP: If you are travelling internationally, you will be obligated to display the original certificate. Ensure that you look after the certificate abroad!
Do I have the same rights as registered citizens?
Upon attaining your permanent residency, you are free to cherish many of the same rights as any registered South African citizen. You are free to apply for a South African ID and a South African driver’s license. The only handicaps in place will be the inability to vote or apply for a South African passport, as these rights are limited to registered citizens of South Africa.
Are there any benefits to obtaining permanent residence?
Achieving PR comes with many quality of life improvements. Let’s list a few factors in how PR can benefit your stay in South Africa. Unless stated otherwise as a condition on your permanent residency certificate, you are free to apply for jobs of your choice, effortlessly move between employers and possess the ability to change job titles without your nationality influencing said actions. You have full access to South Africa’s diverse and highly-capable tertiary education system, which attracts scholars from across the globe. Government-run, private, short courses or part-time, PR allows you to utilise the education system to suit your needs (and you will not be required to pay the ‘foreigner’ rate).
The benefit of all will be in the form of avoiding Visa renewals and applications. Seeing as you have now obtained permanent residency – you are free to live without the burden of the ever-impending Visa renewal hanging above your head.
Now that I have obtained PR, which essential documents do I need?
Firstly, the two documents you will need are your driver’s license and Identity Document.
Applying for your ID will be important to attaining many crucial benefits – such as the application for a credit card, applying for a cell phone contract or taking out a bond.
Applying for your driver’s license is crucial if you are studying and working. Although Cape Town offers the fast and fluid MyCiti transport solution, many areas are yet to be integrated. To receive your South African Driver’s license, you will need to convert your foreign driving license within the first year of obtaining PR. If this is not done – your driver’s license will be deemed “invalid.”
We also suggest applying for your ‘proof of permanent residency’ letter from VFS Global – so that in the event you lose your permanent residency certificate or you decide to make application for citizenship, you have this crucial document in hand.
I have my PR, now I’m ready to start my new life in South Africa. Are there any words of warning?
Once you have obtained your PR, it will remain indefinitely valid as long as you adhere to and confirm with the department that you have complied with any conditions to your permanent residency. These conditions vary according to each category and each individual.
For example, all permanent residency obtained on the basis of a spouse must comply with a condition to remain married and attend an interview with the Department of Home Affairs within a set period of time.
To maintain your permanent residency status you need to ensure that you do not exceed staying outside of South Africa for longer than three years. This is due to the Immigration Act, which can revoke your PR status if you exceed this time frame.
If you would like to find out more about the steps to take following the retrieval of your PR, feel free to contact June Luna Immigration Attorneys for the best possible advice.