Critical Skills Visa Extension
How to extend your visa
Is your critical skill work visa expiring soon? If so, you need to submit your critical skills visa application immediately as the Department of Home Affairs has recently published the draft critical skills list for South Africa.
The following occupations have been removed from the draft critical skills list for 2021:
- Corporate General Managers
- Foreign Language Speakers
- PhD holders
If you specialize in one of these occupations, then we would advise you to renew your visa as soon as possible. If your occupation is removed from the occupation list, this means that you are not eligible to apply for renewal once the draft list is approved and published.
If by the time you are ready to extend your visa and your occupation is removed from the list, then these visas might be your next best bet:
- General Work Visa
- Life Partner Visa with working rights (if you are in a relationship with SA a citizen)
- Spousal Visa with working rights (If you are married to a SA citizen)
- Corporate Workers Visa (If the company you work for holds a corporate visa certificate)
An application may only be submitted 60 days before your visa expires but we typically start the process 6 – 9 months before the time.
If you have not received your visa and your current visa has expired, we advise you not to leave the country as you will be declared an undesirable person.
Can you renew a critical skills visa in South Africa?
Yes, you can apply for a renewal in South Africa through VFS. All applications must be submitted through VFS and no application will be accepted at the Department of Home Affairs.
You need to find the VFS centre closest to you and schedule an online appointment once you have collected all the documents.
The different VFS branches in South Africa:
- Cape Town
- Port Elizabeth
You need to appear in person so that VFS can collect your biometric details when you submit your application. The biometric details that will be captured are photographs of your face and fingerprints.
On the day of your appointment your face must be clear of any obstruction:
- Your hair should not cover your eyes
- Wearing any item such as a hat or scarf that obstructs the face, hair or neck (Only religious head coverings are allowed)
If you are wearing a head covering for religious purposes, please ensure that your face is visible including your:
- The bottom of your chin
- Both cheeks
- Your eyebrows
- Both ears if possible
If your fingers prints are damaged by cuts or anything that could hamper the process of getting your fingerprints scanned then you should schedule the appointment when your fingers have healed. Please contact VFS if you have henna or mehndi prints on your hands so that they can advise you if they can scan your fingerprints.
All applicants must appear in person, irrespective of their age as biometrics are mandatory for all persons.
All children who are under the age of 18 must have a legal guardian or parent who can provide consent for biometrics. Those who are unable to provide fingerprints can only have their photograph taken.
Critical skills visa required documents
- Correctly completed online form. No handwritten application form will be accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.
- A passport that is valid for 30 days after your intended visa expires.
- A medical report. (Not older than 6 months at the time of submission)
- A radiological report. (Not older than 6 months at the time of submission)
- A recognized marriage certificate or in the case a foreign spousal relationship exists, proof of official recognition issued by the foreign authorities of the country of the applicant.
- The affidavit where a spousal relationship to a South African citizen or resident is applicable as well as documentation proving cohabitation and the extent to which the related financial responsibilities are shared by the parties and setting out the particulars of children in the spousal relationship.
- Proof of union for customary marriages
- Divorce decree (if applicable)
- Proof of court order awaiting custody (If applicable)
- Written consent from both parents and/or sole custody parent, where applicable, with proof of sole custody.
- Proof of legal adoption (If applicable)
- Legal separation order (If applicable)
- Original Police clearance certificate issued by the police or security authority in each country where the relevant applicant resided for 12 months or longer after attaining the age of 18 years except for South Africa, in respect of criminal records or the character of that applicant, which certificate shall not be older than six months at the time of its submission: (Provided that the certificate shall not be required from a foreign country in the case of renewal or extension of a visa)
- Biometric fee
- Yellow fever certificate (If applicable)
- A written undertaking by the employer accepting responsibility for the costs related to the deportation of the applicant and his or her dependent family members, should it become necessary (All renewals must be accompanied by an offer of employment or employer contact. No renewal without employment contract except for the occupations listed under the category of Life and Earth Sciences and Academics and Researchers)
- A written undertaking by the employer to ensure that the passport of his or her employee is valid at all times for the duration of his or her employment (Where there is no employer: A written undertaking by the applicant to ensure that the passport of the applicant shall be valid at all times for the duration of his or her temporary visa)
- For the occupations listed under the category of Life and Earth Sciences and Academics and Researchers, where there is no employment contract, proof of financial means. (Applicant to also submit additional proof of financial means every 12 months thereafter)
- Proof that the applicant falls within the critical skills category by specifically indicating the occupation/critical skill for which the application is being made as it appears on the critical skills list.
- proof of evaluation of the foreign qualification by South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and translated by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of the Republic.
- If required by law, proof of application for a certificate of registration with the professional body, council or board recognised by SAQA in terms of section 13(1)(i) of the National Qualifications Framework Act;
- a confirmation, in writing, from the professional body, council or board recognised by SAQA in terms of section 13(1)(0 of the National Qualifications Framework Act, or any relevant government department confirming the skills or qualifications of the applicant and appropriate post qualification experience, (if not attached, VFS official to check Directive 22 of 2014)
- Proof of payment of the applicable fee
- Duly completed online form. Handwritten forms will not be accepted by the Department of Home Affairs.
- The passport is valid for no less than 30 calendar days after the expiry of the intended visit.
- Original Police clearance certificate issued by the police or security authority in each country where the relevant applicant resided for 12 months or longer after attaining the age of 18 years except for South Africa, in respect of criminal records or the character of that applicant, which certificate shall not be older than six months at the time of its submission: (Provided that the certificate shall not be required from a foreign country in the case of extension of a visa)
- Biometric enrolment fee applicable: Yes
- Contract of Employment or Offer of Employment signed by both applicant and the employer stating the condition that the contract will only be valid provided the applicant obtains a valid critical skills work visa)
- A written undertaking by the employer accepting responsibility for the costs related to the deportation of the applicant and his or her dependent family members, should it become necessary
- A written undertaking by the employer to ensure that the passport of his or her employee is valid at all times for the duration of his or her employment
- Proof that the applicant falls within the critical skills category by specifically indicating the occupation/critical skill for which the application is being made. The occupation/critical skill must be on the Critical Skills list.
- Copy of the Critical Skills Work Visa recently issued to the applicant for 12 months.
- Proof of payment of the applicable fee
The requirements are that all documents must be translated into English if they are in a foreign language and all copies must be certified.
The visa is issued for 5 years and in the case where an applicant initially received a 12-month visa, then the 4 years will be awarded to the applicant.
Critical skills visa application cost
The cost for the visa application:
- VFS service fee: R 1350.00
- Department of Home Affairs: R 1520.00
- SAQA costs (if applicable)
- Immigration agents fee (If applicable)
All the fees are inclusive of VAT and must be paid in South African rands. Once your application has been submitted, then all fees paid are non-refundable.
To secure your appointment, you need to pay the service of R 1350.00 via one of these payment methods:
- Online payment via a secure portal (Debit or credit card)
- Payment at a Standard bank branch.
- EFT through the secure portal.
If you opt to do a prepayment in the branch then you need to complete the online process before your profile expires.
Critical skills visa rejected
If your critical skills visa has been denied, then you need to carefully study the refusal letter to see which requirements you have not satisfied.
The refusal letter will state that you need to rectify or appeal the application within 10 days and therefore you need to compile the application which must be submitted within 10 days.
We would advise you to make use of an immigration agent to compile your application to minimize any errors which would negatively affect your application.
The refusal will cost you more money and time. We, therefore, advise you that you do your due diligence when extending your visa and ensuring that all required documents are 100% correct and if you are unsure make use of an experienced immigration consultant.
Temporary Visa Renewal:
Charl Vollmer has 8 years of experience helping people immigrate to South Africa. I am passionate about helping people and making their dreams a reality. Charl constantly stays up to date with South African Immigration rules and regulations. To contact Charl, visit our contact page.