Permanent Residence as a Spouse or Life Partner

Who can qualify for Permanent Residence as a Spouse or Life Partner?

A foreign national, who is married to a South African national, or a person holding South African permanent residence status, can apply for Permanent Residence status.

You will also be able to apply for Permanent Residence if you are in a life partnership with a South African national or permanent residence holder. The parties to the relationship can be in a same-sex relationship or a heterosexual relationship.

Criteria to apply for Permanent Residence as a Spouse or Life Partner

  • The marriage must have been concluded at least five years before the submission of the application.
  • Proof of cohabitation and shared financial responsibilities for at least five years before submission of the application.
  • The marriage or life partnership must exclude any third party.
  • The applicant must be a person of good character.
  • The applicant must generally be in good health.

After the status of Permanent Residence as a Spouse or Life Partner has been granted, the relationship must exist for at least another two years. If the relationship does not survive for another two years, this will result in the cancellation of the status of Permanent Residence.  However, the status cancellation is not applicable in circumstances where the South African spouse or life partner pass away.

How to apply for Permanent Residence as a Spouse or Life Partner

Unfortunately, these type of applications takes at least two to three years before they are decided.

 We therefore strongly recommend that applicants who reside in South Africa, apply for this status as soon as they are allowed to do so by law.  By doing so, this will prevent the need for them to extend their temporary South African visas every two to three years.

Once a person obtains the status of Permanent Residence, he/she will no longer have to apply for temporary visas every two to three years.

South African Citizenship

When a person had the status of Permanent Residence as a Spouse or Life Partner for five years, he or she can apply for South African citizenship. This process is called South African citizenship through naturalisation.

How Breytenbachs can help you

The application for Permanent Residence as a Spouse or Life Partner is complicated, with many potential pitfalls. It is, unfortunately, also a long wait for the final decision of the application.  Fortunately, you will have the peace of mind that your case is in the competent and experienced hands of our SA Immigration team. 

As mentioned previously, we strongly recommend that clients who qualify proceed with their application as soon as possible, to prevent having to submit temporary visas. Please do hesitate to contact our SA Immigration team for further advice, a consultation, or to proceed with your application.