Answer to a question from a reader

What is the process an application for permanent residence goes through and how long does each stage take?

The short answer

Here are the various steps the application goes through, according to the Department of Home Affairs

The whole question

I would like to know how many steps a application for permanent residence goes through after you apply,  how long each step takes, and who has authority to approve an application.

The long answer

The Department of Home Affairs says that it takes between 8 and 10 months to process an application for permanent residence, but that it cannot guarantee that it won’t take longer, while an online immigration company estimates that it takes 18 to 24 months.

These are the steps the application passes through, according to a Home Affairs report on how well it is doing to reach its target time of 70% of applications processed within 8 – 10 months:    

“ The process starts when the application is received and captured at the Visa Facilitation Service Center (VFS) with supporting documents and biometrics, dispatched to head office ON-LINE, received at Head Office by IS, forwarded to the adjudication hub for adjudication purpose, applications that require investigations are referred to Inspectorate, recommendations are forwarded to the Authorization stage (CD, DDG, DG) whereby a decision is made by DG, by either approving or rejecting the application. Once the application has been processed, there are 2 possible outcomes: 1) the application is approved and the relevant document is issued (permit) or 2) the application is rejected and the relevant document is issued (rejection letter). The outcome (permit or rejection letter) is dispatched to VFS for further transmission to the applicant. The clock stops when receipt of outcome is acknowledged at VFS Center where the applicant submitted the application. For rejected applications, a rejection letter is issued with reasons for rejection and an advice to the client to lodge an Appeal within 10 working days on-line through VFS if aggrieved by the decision. For approved applications, a permit is issued.”

No further explanation of these steps is given in the document, but it seems that the application is approved or disapproved by the DG, or Director-General.


Answered on July 3, 2019, 9:43 a.m.

See more questions and answers

Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.