The following question is part of Groundup's Answers to your questions series.
Can I get permanent residency if my parent does, and I have lived in SA for more than five years?
The short answer
Yes, if you are a dependent of a permanent residence holder and are aged under 21 years. But there is a massive backlog at Home Affairs.
The whole question
Both my parents are from Mozambique, but my father has a South African ID because he has been here for more than 25 years. I was born in Mozambique but I have lived in South Africa since I started school.
I want to apply for an ID but Home Affairs said I must apply for permanent residency first, which has a waiting period of five years.
Can it be allowed if I have proof that I have been here for more than five years?
The long answer
Unfortunately, in terms of Section 26 (c) of the Immigration Act, it seems that you are only entitled to apply for permanent residence (direct residence) on the basis of your father having permanent residence and you being his dependent, if you are under 21 years.
And, as you have pointed out, this could take five years, given the backlog of applications for permanent residence at Home Affairs.
As you probably know, Home Affairs closed down all applications for permanent residence at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, and only re-opened applications in January 2022. They have an estimated 50,000 applications in backlog.
As not having an ID is a very serious deprivation, it may be worth consulting with organisations that have had plenty of experience in dealing with Home Affairs, and seeing if they can suggest anything that might help to speed up the process.
These organisations and their contact details are:
Lawyers for Human Rights
Their general email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
They have four offices:
Johannesburg: 078 315 1269
Durban: 078 301 0531
Musina: 076 766 7782
Cape Town: 021 424 8561
Centre Email: email@example.com
Telephone: Cape Town: 021 879 2398
Johannesburg: 011 038 9709
Durban: 031 301 7572
Makhanda: 046 622 9230
Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town
Tel: 021 45 6433
Wishing you the best,
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Read the original on GroundUp here.
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