Common Understanding – Our Starting Point

Common Understanding – Our Starting Point

Significant words and definitions relating to Foreign Nationals

The subject of foreign nationals, refugees, and asylum seekers is a complex topic around the world but especially in South Africa. Here are some key terms and definitions to help you understand the landscape of the discussion, so that we’re literally ‘speaking the same language’.


Foreign National – a person who is not a naturalised citizen of the country in which they are living.
Asylum Seeker – a person who has left their home country as a political refugee and is seeking asylum in another.

Refugee – a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

Immigrant – a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.
Economic Migrant – a person who travels from one country or area to another in order to improve their standard of living.
Sojourner – someone who stays temporarily in a place.
Afrophobia – a perceived fear of the cultures and peoples of Africa, as well as the African diaspora.
Xenophobia – dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where is ‘Home Affairs Cape Town’?

A: In the Fair Cape Building, 56 Barack Street. Cape Town. Western Cape 8001
021 468 4501

Services Rendered:

  • Births,
  • Marriages,
  • Death Registration
  • ID Document applications,
  • Passports,
  • Immigration & Permitting Services

Q: What does the country’s consulate do?

A: A foreign country’s help and advice is provided by the diplomatic agents of a country to citizens of that country who are living or traveling overseas. But this is subject to each country’s policies with foreign nations.

Assistance from a consulate can include:

  • Replacement of documents
  • Advice or support in accidents, illness, or death
  • Liaison with local police officials in the case of nationals abducted or missing overseas
  • Help during events of civil unrest and natural disasters
  • Registering births abroad

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