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Asylum Seeker



He/She is a person who has fled his or her country of origin and is seeking recognition and protection as a refugee in the Republic of South Africa, and whose application is still under consideration.

In case of a negative decision on his application, he has to leave the country voluntarily or will be deported.

Eligibility Procedure: Asylum Seeker

  • A person enters the Republic of South Africa through a port of entry (a land border post, airport or harbor), claims to be an asylum seeker and is, therefore, issued with a section 23 Permits which is a non - renewable“asylum transit permit” of the Immigration Act.
  • The permit is valid for a period of 14 days only and authorizes the person to report to the nearest Refugee Reception Office in order to apply for asylum in terms of section 21 of the Refugee Act.
  • The asylum seeker is required to furnish:

    - A section 23 permit

    - Any proof of identification from the country of origin

    - A travel document if in possession of one
  • The asylum seeker lodges in person his application at a designated Refugee Reception Office where an admissibility hearing takes place.The following are done:

    - Applicant’s fingerprints taken in the prescribed manner

    - Interpreter if secured (if necessary)

    - First interview conducted by a Refugee Reception Officer (RRO) and BI- 1590 form duly completed

    - Applicant’s data and image captured in the refugee system

    - An Asylum Seeker’s permit (a section 22 permit) is printed, signed, stamped and issued to the Asylum Seeker
  • The section 22 permit which is valid for a period of six monthslegalizes the asylum seeker stay in the Republic of South Africa temporarily pending a final decision on his application. The permit can be extended by an RRO for a further six months while the process of status determination is in progress.
  • The holder of section 22 permit has the right to work and study in South Africa and is protected against deportation to his country of origin.