Life Partner Permit
The Life Partner Permit is used to address the situation of people involved in serious relationships, where one of the members of the couple is a South African citizen or Permanent Residence holder and the other member wants to immigrate to South Africa. Examples of serious relationships could be a long-term, co-habiting boyfriend-girlfriend couple, or a common law marriage (association by co-habitation).
Unlike the Spousal Permit, there is no prescribed duration for the life relationship in applying for the Life Partner Permit. It is still necessary, however, to prove that the relationship is of a serious and lasting nature. This may be done via a sworn affidavit. Each case is assessed individually.
Partners who apply for the Life Partner Permit may qualify for Permanent Residence if they are able to prove that the relationship has been in existence for longer than five years. In cases where the relationship has not been in existence for longer than five years, the partner should apply for Temporary Residence, which is valid for three years and can be renewed, as long as the relationship is still in existence.
As with the Spousal Permit, there are advantages to obtaining the Life Partner Permit. Holders of the Permit do not need to apply for a Work Permit or Business Permit if they wish to work or conduct business in South Africa. The procedure that is usually followed is to make an endorsement to the Life Partner Permit, thereby allowing the holder to engage in economic activity.
For the purposes of the Life Partner Permit, due to South Africa’s progressive human rights policies, homosexual couples are treated in the same manner as heterosexual couples.