Can I get permanent residency if my child is a South African citizen?

Can I get permanent residency if my child is a South African citizen?

The short answer

No, but you can apply for a relative’s visa.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My daughter is a South African citizen. Does this mean I can apply for permanent residency? If not, are there other permits or visas I can apply for?

The long answer

You are not eligible to apply for permanent residence on the basis of your daughter being a South African citizen, but as you are the parent of a South African citizen, you can apply for a relative’s visa. The South African citizen – your daughter – would need to provide financial assurance (R8,500 a month) for you as the foreign relative. This is what you would have to present to Home Affairs through VFS Global to get a relative’s visa:

  • An application fee to Home Affairs of R1,520
  • A processing fee to VSF Global of R1,350
  • Proof that you are your daughter’s parent
  • Your unabridged birth certificate or certified copy
  • A filled application form
  • Biometrics taken by VSF Global (e.g. palm prints, fingerprints, etc.)
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate if you are from a country where yellow fever is endemic
  • A police clearance certificate
  • A medical report
  • Radiological report (i.e. X-ray)
  • Two passport photos
  • Proof of financial support (at least R8,500 per person per month)
  • Proof of your relative’s South African citizenship through ID or passport (in the case of a baby, probably the birth certificate would be enough)

It could take 60 days for Home Affairs to process a visitor’s visa, given the massive backlog of applications they have.

A relative’s visa is issued for two years and you are not allowed to work or study while on this visa, but you can apply for the visa to be endorsed to allow you to work if you are offered employment. That is called “changing the conditions of existing visa”.

The Eisenberg website says “You are eligible to apply for permanent residence if you have been in possession of work visas for at least the past five consecutive years, with a permanent job offer secured in South Africa. A minimum of five years’ work permits need to have been endorsed in a passport.”

The Ernst & Young website reports that there has been a revised Critical Skills list published by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on 3 October 2023:

“Effective 3 October 2023, engineers who possess ‘candidate registration status’ with a professional body are eligible to apply for Critical Skills Work Visas and permanent residence permits. Previously, only full members of professional bodies with professional designations (e.g., professional engineers) could apply for these visas or permanent residence permits. In addition, university lecturers who are not members of the South African Council of Educators (SACE) can now apply for Critical Skills Work Visas provided they are registered with a professional body in their field of expertise and employed as educators or lecturers in an accredited higher learning institution in certain subject matter areas.”

But as the Department of Home Affairs website reminds us, “A critical skills work visa is not a work-seekers visa. All applications must be accompanied by an offer of employment from Employers who are verifiable and are in good standing with the Department of Employment and Labour.”

You could ask for advice and assistance from one of the following organisations:

The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town

Lawyers for Human Rights:

Legal Resources Centre:

Wishing you the best,