Family joining in South Africa
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Which documents are needed for family joining?
The family joining process takes place at a Refugee Reception Office. Accessing this service can be tricky, and often several visits to the Refugee Reception Office are needed. Nevertheless, the following documentation should be prepared for family joining processes.
- Where spouses are concerned, the principal refugee, asylum seeker or the dependent(s) must provide proof of spousal relationship if available. Proof of relationship may be a marriage certificate (which must be officially translated into English). If there is no marriage certificate, other documents such as proof of lobola payment, photos of the wedding, church or mosque documents, as well as an affidavit, should be provided.
- Where children, destitute, aged or frail family members are concerned, the principal refugee, asylum seeker or the dependent(s) must provide proof of dependency relationship if available. Proof of dependency relationship may be established by birth or baptismal certificates (which must be officially translated into English).
- If the dependents are over 18 years of age, the recognised refugee, asylum seeker or dependents must provide certified copies of documents proving dependency, such as a medical certificate, proof of school enrolment or any other acceptable document if available (which must be translated into English).
- If none of the above documents is available, an affidavit (which is a written sworn statement) may be used to prove the relationship. You must have the affidavit certified at a police station by a commissioner of oaths.
- The recognised refugee or asylum seeker needs a certified copy of his or her permit. Certification can be done at a police station by a commissioner of oaths.
In the event that you bring minor relatives with you into South Africa, that are not your biological children, you will have to apply to the Children’s Court to be declared the child’s legal caregiver before the child can be joined to your file. You must take the court order with you to the nearest Refugee Reception Office (RRO) as proof of the Court’s decision.2 If you are caring for a child that is not your biological child, and you hold asylum seeker or refugee status, we recommend that you contact one of the organizations here for further assistance.