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​Applying for asylum
​There are many reasons why people came to South Africa. If you have left your country because of persecution and fear for your life if you were to return then you may apply for asylum. This process is governed by the Refugees Act of 1998. A specific procedure must be followed:

Declare your intention at the point of crossing into South Africa.
​Present yourself at the nearest Refugee Reception Office; the Johannesburg Refugee Reception Office is at 31 Planet Avenue, Crown Mines.
Bring two passport-size photos.
You will be interviewed and asked about your reasons for seeking asylum.
Your fingerprints will be taken and you will be issued with a section 22 temporary permit and asked to return for a second interview.
Ideally you should receive a decision regarding your status as a refugee within three months of your application; however, because of severe backlogs this process takes much longer.
You are expected to return to the Refugee Reception Office to renew your temporary permit for as long as it takes to finalise your refugee status.
Once your status as a refugee has been determined you are issued with a section 24 permit that is valid for two years, renewable three months before expiry.
You may now apply for a refugee identity document and a travel document that replaces your passport.
If your application has been rejected, you may appeal the decision within 30 days.
Section 22 and 24 permits allow the holder to live, work and study in South Africa.​