Under most categories of the South African Immigration Act certain requirements can be met to allow a person to apply for permanent residence in South Africa.
Once a person has applied for and received permanent residence this person is afforded all the rights, privileges and obligations of a South African citizen other than those rights reserved exclusively for citizens such as the right to vote and the right to hold a South African Passport.
Subject to section 25 and any prescribed requirements, the Director-General may issue a permanent residence permit to a foreigner
- who has been the holder of a work visa, in terms of this Act for five years and has proven to the satisfaction of the Director-General that he or she has received an offer for permanent employment;
- who has been the spouse of a citizen or permanent resident for five years and the Director-General is satisfied that a good faith spousal relationship exists: Provided that such permanent residence permit shall lapse if at any time within two years from the issuing of that permanent residence permit the good faith spousal relationship no longer subsists, save for the case of death;
- who is a child under the age of 21 of a citizen or permanent resident, provided that such permit shall lapse if such foreigner does not submit an application for its confirmation within two years of his or her having turned 18 years of age; or
- who is a child of a citizen.
- who are in possession of a permanent work offer in South Africa; or
- who have critical skills and qualifications;
- who intend to establish a business in South Africa;
- who qualify as Refugees in terms of Section 27 (c) of the Refugees Act;
- who qualify as retired persons;
- who are financially independent;
- who are relatives (biologically or judicially adopted) of a South African citizen/permanent residence permit holder.