Asylum-Seeker Rights & Responsibilities in South Africa

As an Asylum Seeker in South Africa you will be issued a Section 22 permit which is normally valid for a period up to six months and legalizes your stay in the Republic of South Africa temporarily pending a final decision on your application. The permit can be extended by the Refugee Reception Office while the process of status determination is in progress.

Information on how to renew your permits is available on the Online Renewal section.

What are your RIGHTS as an asylum seeker in South Africa?

  • You are entitled to an asylum seeker document.
  • You are entitled to have the asylum seeker document renewed for the duration of the processing of your asylum claim by the Department of Home Affairs, including appeals and reviews.
  • You have all the rights outlined in South Africa’s constitution, such as those in the Bill of Rights (except ones that are explicitly for South African citizens only, such as the right to vote or form a political party).
  • You have the right not to be unlawfully arrested, detained or deported. Please note that  Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town and Sonke Gender Justice Network  have produced a useful guide on the detention and deportation process in South Africa

What are your RESPONSIBILITIES as an asylum seeker in South Africa?

  • You have a responsibility to abide by South Africa’s laws.
  • You have a responsibility to renew your asylum seeker document by the renewal date at the Refugee Reception Office where you first applied.
  • You have a responsibility to inform the Refugee Reception Office of your residential address. If your changes, you must inform the Refugee Reception Office within 30 days.
  • You have a responsibility to carry your original asylum seeker document with you at all times.

Related information

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