How To Renew An Expired Asylum In South Africa

The asylum seeker’s permit is a temporary permit which you are given pending a decision on your application for refugee status or for asylum.

If your asylum application is approved, you will be given a Section 24 permit (also known as a “Refugee Permit”) which officially recognises you as a refugee and is valid for two years. The permit may be renewed.

Before the permit expires, the asylum seeker reports to the Refugee Reception Office for:

  • A second interview is conducted by a Refugee Status Determination Officer (RSDO)
  • The RSDO proceed with a fair adjudication of the application, makes a decision on claims for asylum application and provides reasons for the decisions. The RSDO must on conclusion of the status determination hearing grant asylum; or reject the applicationas manifestly unfounded, abusive or fraudulent; or refer any question of law to the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs (SCRA).
  • When granted asylum (written recognition of refugee status), a refugee is generally issued with a section 24 permit, which allows such person to remain for a specified period of 2 years in South Africa, and it is renewable upon expiration of its validity after the review process by an RSDO. In this case, the refugee must write a letter requesting the extension of his or her refugee status
  • He is also allowed to work and study in South Africa whilst the permit is valid.

​Refugee Enabling Documents

  • A refugee must apply for a refugee ID  at any Refugee Reception Office within 15 days in the prescribed manner.
  • After being issued with an ID, a refugee can apply for a UNCTD (United Nations Convention Travel Document) at any Refugee Reception Office in the prescribed manner.
  • An ID is free

Appeal and Review Process

  • In case of rejection, an asylum seeker or refugee who believes that he has a well-founded fear of persecution but whose claim has been rejected, may decide to appeal against the rejection decision of the RSDO to the Refugee Appeal Board (RAB) in the prescribed manner within 30 days after the decision has been handed over to them.
  • The Appeal Board conducts an appeal hearing during which the appellant who is entitled to a fair hearing have the rights to be heard and to present his case fully. The Refugee Appeal Board is responsible for considering and deciding appeals on decisions made by RSDOs.
  • The RAB may after hearing an appeal confirm or set aside or substitute the decision of the RSDO.
  • In respect of manifestly unfounded applications, the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs (SCRA) reviews or confirms or sets aside decisions taken by the RSDO and refer cases back to RSDO for determination within 14 days as well as monitors in general the decisions of the RSDO.


  • The applicant must have 5 full years continuous residence in the Republic of South Africa as a formally recognized refugee  not as an asylum seeker
  • Write an application letter explaining the reasons for applying for the certification
  • Go to the initial refugee reception office where application for asylum was first lodged and complete the form. The Refugee  Reception Office will ensure that the applicant complies with all the requirements
  • The application will be referred to the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs which is the body established to certify or not if the applicant will remain a refugee indefinitely
  • If successful, the applicant will then be issued with a “Certification” or Section 27© which will enable the applicant to apply at any Home Affairs office for an “Immigration Permit” or “Permanent Residence”

Legal Instruments

  • Refugee Act, 1998 (No 130 of 19998)
  • 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
  • 1969 OAU Convention Governing The Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees
  • 1993 Basic Agreement between the Government of South Africa and the UNHCR
  • The Immigration Act

Service Standard

Applications may take up to six months


There is no fee payable for eligibility and status determination interviews as well as issuance or renewal of section 22, section 24 and refugee ID. Service to asylum seekers and refugees is free of charge.

All asylum seeker are encouraged to report any person who exhorts money from them