The Extra Mile
Permanent residence stamps: your ID will suffice as proof of SA residency
The issue of putting permanent residence stamps in SA passports has caused uncertainty among travellers. Sunday Times readers share their experiences
Last week we looked at the issue of Home Affairs no longer putting permanent residence stamps in SA passports - and how those affected can be sure of getting back into the country when they travel. While our advice erred on the side of extreme caution - ie to carry your original certificate of permanent residence as proof - we had several letters from readers, sharing their experience.
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Barry Lane writes: I am a permanent resident and have been travelling frequently for the past two years without the stamp in my passport.I have had no problem leaving and re-entering SA, or checking into a flight in a foreign country with SA as my destination.I made a copy of my permanent resident visa, which I carry with me. I also carry my expired passport with the stamp.When departing and re-entering SA, I give my SA ID book, together with my passport. I also do the same when checking in at a foreign airport and tell them that I live in SA. I have never had to show my PR visa or old passport.
A year or so ago, they recorded my fingerprints and photo on the bio system at immigration as I entered SA. This now automatically confirms my details and my passport is stamped without any questions.Janette Marks writes: I have only once, about 40 years ago, had my permit stamped in my passport. I often travelled overseas and only once have I been asked for proof of residence in SA when checking in overseas. I produced my SA ID book, which was enough.Interestingly, two years ago while going through SA customs control to travel overseas, I was asked how long I had been in SA. "Forty-seven years!" I said. The woman had been looking for my visitor's visa, and was puzzled until I produced my SA ID.Steve Ashforth writes: I am a permanent resident and travel overseas all the time. All a permanent resident needs produce is his/her ID document. Normally even a copy will suffice.