What happens after I get PR?


After years of waiting, you’ve received the outcome of your permanent residence application. You open the envelope – and are delighted to see that the wait was worth it. Your PR is approved!

But what happens now?

That’s a question we often get from clients. Let’s answer it by taking a closer look at PR, and your rights and responsibilities as a permanent resident:

1. What is “South African permanent residence”?

South African permanent residence is a residency status that entitles a person to live in South Africa indefinitely. PR holders are free to work, study or run a business in South Africa.

2. What serves as proof of my PR status?

The Department of Home Affairs issues all successful permanent resident applicants with a PR certificate as proof of their status within South Africa.

Please note that your PR certificate is only issued once. We recommend that you carry a certified copy while keeping the original in a safe place. The only instance where you must show the original is when you travel internationally.

If you lose your PR certificate, you can apply for a Proof of PR. This Proof of PR will take 6 to 12 months to process, and you’ll receive a letter from Home Affairs confirming your PR status.

3. What are the benefits of being a permanent resident?

Life is so much simpler as a South African permanent resident! Here’s why:

  • Instead of having a visa that allows you to, you are free to:
    • Apply for any job, and you can move freely between employers
    • Study in South Africa, whether it’s a full-time, part-time or distance-learning course
    • Start your own business
  • Visa applications and renewals, and the uncertainty surrounding them, are a thing of the past!
  • Your first-kin family members – spouse or life partner, children and parents – can apply for permanent residence based on your status

Please note that your children born in South Africa after you’ve received PR do not automatically get South African citizenship or permanent residency.

Instead, your children are eligible to apply for relatives’ temporary and permanent residence based on your PR status.

4. What are my rights?

You enjoy the same rights as a South African citizen as a permanent resident, except for the right to vote and hold a South African passport. These rights are for South African citizens only.

You will, however, be able to apply for a South African ID and driver’s license:

Applying for your ID

It’s important to have a South African ID if you intend to live here permanently because you’ll need an ID number to, for example, apply for a credit card, apply for a bond, or take out a cell phone contract.

Intergate does not assist with ID applications, but you can read more about applying for your ID on the Home Affairs website.

Applying for your driver’s license

You must convert your foreign driving license to a South African one within a year of receiving your PR status. If you fail to do this, your driver’s license will be invalid.

Intergate does not assist with converting or applying for driver’s licenses. You can get more information on converting your license on the South African Government’s website.

5. What are my responsibilities?

While your permanent resident status does not expire and remains valid indefinitely, you must not stay outside South Africa for more than three years at a time. Home Affairs may withdraw your status if you leave South Africa for three years or longer.

In the following instances, you’ll also have to confirm that you still meet the permanent resident requirements:

  • Business: You’ll have to do a ‘confirmation of business’ within two years of receiving PR and again three years after the first confirmation. You’ll have to prove that:
    • You’ve made the stipulated investment in the business.
    • The business is still running.
    • You’re still employing the required number of South Africans.
  • Spousal and life partner: You must prove to Home Affairs that the marriage or partnership is still valid, genuine, and lasting around the 2-year mark after receiving your PR status.

Let us help you apply for Permanent Residence

Our team has helped thousands of people successfully apply for PR. We can do the same for you. Simply call us at +27 (0) 21 424 2460 to get started.

Alternatively, email us at info@intergate-immigration.com or request a call back for us to contact you instead.

Our consultants and administrators will work closely with you to submit your application while ensuring you meet all the requirements.