How do I apply for refugee status in South Africa?
If you have left your country because of persecution and fear for your life if you were to return there then upon arrival in South Africa, you are advised to declare yourself as an asylum seeker at the border. This will inform border officials of your intention and they will issue you with an Asylum Transit Permit. With this document, you can then apply for refugee status at one of the three Refugee Reception Offices. These are located in Pretoria (Marabastad), Durban, Musina. First you need to get an asylum seeker’s permit from a Refugee Reception Office. This is proof that you have applied for refugee status and are legally in the country. There are often long queues outside these offices so it helps to arrive very early in the morning. It is likely to take a number of visits before you can get into the offices because there are so many people there. Until you get into the Refugee Reception Office and receive your permit, you may still be arrested by the police or immigration officials. If this happens to you, you must tell them that you have been trying to apply for refugee status and they must assist you to do this.