South African Government

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Asylum seeker and refugee permits

If you have fled your country of origin for fear of persecution, and you do not have legal documents such as a passport or visa, you must apply for an asylum seeker’s permit at the nearest Refugee Reception Office (RRO).

The asylum seeker’s permit is a temporary permit which you are given pending a decision on your application for refugee status or for asylum.

If your asylum application is approved, you will be given a Section 24 permit (also known as a “Refugee Permit”) which officially recognises you as a refugee and is valid for two years. The permit may be renewed.

You can apply for a permanent residence permit if you have lived in South Africa for more than five years on a refugee status permit.

Find out more about applying for refugee or asylum seekers status or contact the Department of Home Affairs.