Do Foreigners Qualify for SASSA? A Detailed Answer for You

Millions of South Africans rely on SASSA to meet their basic needs. Whether for income, senior citizens, children, or other types, the impact of these grants extends beyond mere financial assistance and contributes to social stability. But do foreigners qualify for SASSA? Here is all you need to know about it.

Do Foreigners Qualify for SASSA

Eligibility criteria for SASSA Grants

Listed below are some eligibility standards that applicants must meet in order to acquire the grant;

  • Age: All grants have minimum age requirements and require a Valid ID document to confirm the date of birth.
  • Income Thresholds: Applicants must fall below the defined maximum income thresholds per grant type based on bank statements, pay slips, etc.
  • Citizenship/Residency: Only South African citizens or permanent residents qualify for the grants. Refugees and asylum seekers can also access specific grants, but SASSA would be required to verify their nationality.
  • Disability Status: Medical assessments are required for the disability grant. On the other hand, temporary disability grants require reassessments after the defined period.
  • Care Dependency: Child grants require evidence that the parent/guardian is the primary care provider.

SASSA assesses each applicant’s eligibility status for grants through rigorous vetting of documents, income tests, and verifications to ensure that the aid reaches the intended beneficiaries.

Foreigners and SASSA

SASSA grants are aimed at supporting the country’s most vulnerable citizens who are unable to meet basic needs. This is why, SASSA grants are only accessible to nationals and permanent residents. However, specific provisions allow for Foreign nationals and SASSA assistance under certain conditions.

Notably, foreigners from the Southern African Development Community region have acquired legal permits to work or seek asylum in South Africa. Expressly, refugees and children of asylum seekers born in South Africa may qualify for child support grants and food assistance via SASSA.

The Department of Social Development provides clearances for eligible foreign applicants. Beyond these exceptions, SASSA grants remain reserved only for South African citizens and permanent residents with long-term rights to supplement their income through state social assistance. While the requirements are surely stringent, they help fulfill the intended purpose of SASSA’s for South African nationals.

Can Foreigners Apply for SASSA R350 Grant?

Accessing SASSA support as a foreigner is a topic of much interest, especially concerning the SASSA R350 Social Relief of Distress grant. Unfortunately, foreign eligibility for SASSA relief does not extend to the R350 grant. This specific assistance is designed to aid unemployed South African citizens and permanent residents experiencing hardships.

Non-South African citizens and SASSA eligibility criteria clearly indicate that foreign nationals, regardless of their residency or permit status in South Africa, are not qualified to apply for this grant.

Applicants are required to have a 13-digit South African ID number and must submit verification documents such as an ID, asylum papers, or residency permits, underscoring the necessity of South African citizenship or permanent residency for eligibility.


Who qualifies for the SASSA grant?

South African citizens and permanent residents who meet the eligibility criteria for specific grants qualify, including vulnerable groups like the elderly, disabled, children, and unemployed facing hardship.

Who qualifies for a South African old age pension?

South African citizens and permanent residents aged 60-75 years old who pass income threshold assessments qualify for old-age pension grants from SASSA. Men from age 65 qualify.

Who qualifies for a child support grant in South Africa?

Primary caregivers earning below a defined income threshold who are South African citizens or permanent residents looking after children under age 18 qualify for the child support grant.

Who receives the SASSA grant?

Eligible South African citizens and permanent residents facing circumstance-based vulnerability receive SASSA grants, including the elderly, those with disabilities, children in poverty, foster caregivers, and those unemployed or impacted by disasters.

Do refugees qualify for SASSA benefits?

Refugees with valid permits and meeting residency criteria may be eligible for SASSA assistance.


While SASSA grants provide a vital social safety net for South African citizens, foreign nationals generally do not qualify for these income support grants due to the stringent eligibility criteria.

Limited exceptions allowing refugees, asylum seekers, and their children to access assistance may still require formal clearances. They do not extend to the SASSA R350 relief grant, which remains strictly for unemployed South African citizens facing financial distress.

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