Home Affairs Extends Visas in South Africa
South Africa’s Visa Extension Covid 2021
The minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has decided to extend the validity of visas that have expired throughout the covid lockdown period. The extended date for short-term visas such as tourist visas is now the 30th of September 2021. Long-term temporary residence visas issued for 3 months up to 3 years which expired during covid lockdown has been extended up until 30th of September 2021. This is the latest news from the Department of Home Affairs.
Home Affairs news about foreigners 2021
The Department of Home Affairs announced that any visa or permit holder who has not departed from South Africa since the announcement of the National State disaster in March 2020 and arrived in South Africa with a valid visitors visa between 2019 and 14 March 2021 are legally valid until the 30th September 2021.
The holders of these visas are allowed to stay in the country under the conditions of their visas until the expiry of their applicable extension. Those who would like to repatriate to their country of residence may leave without being declared an undesirable person.
This extension is not valid for people who entered the country on or after 15 March 2021 and that the normal validity of their visas still apply, meaning that they need to leave the country before their visa expires.
What does this mean for foreigners who are on short term visas for 90 days or less?
This means that for a person who entered SA with a valid visitor’s visa between the period of December 2019 and the 14th March 2021 when the National State of Disaster was announced in March 2020, the extension applies to those tourists.
Tourists have the option to extend the visitors visas at VFS but the number of days granted is not guaranteed which means if you are applying for a further 30 or 90 days, you might not receive the requested number of days. So if you’d like to stay in the country and exit after the 30th of September then you have to submit as earliest as possible and the number of days might be limited.
If you are in doubt about what you need to do, then feel free to contact us and we can advise you about your next steps.
Visa extension for foreigners in South Africa who entered on or after the 15th May 2021
The 30th September 2021 visa extension granted by the Department of Home Affairs does not apply to foreigners who have entered the country on or after the 15th of May 2021. This means that the validity of your visa remains and you need to leave the country before your visa expires or you may apply for an extension to extend your stay. The normal rules of submitting your application 30 days before your tourist or short-term business visa expire still applies.
If you are not sure about what to do next then feel free to contact us and we will give you the best advice for your specific case. We can assist if you would like to renew your tourist visa and we have to make this clear that you should not overstay your visa as you will be declared as an undesired person meaning that you will be banned from the country for 12 months or 5 years depending on how long you have overstayed.
Temporary residence visa extension South Africa during lockdown 2021
Temporary residence visa holders which have been issued for 90 days up to 3 years and expired during the state of national disaster can renew their visas.
The following TRP visa holders can extend their visas at VFS:
- Business visa
- Critical Skills Work visa
- Relatives visa
- General Work visa
- Student visa
- Treaty visa
- Retired Person’s visa
- Exchange visa
- Medical Treatment visa
- Spousal visa
- Life Partner Visa
What does this mean for foreigners who are on a temporary residence visa issued for 90 days up to three years?
Temporary residence visas or permit holders who are still in SA since the National State of Disaster was announced in March 2020 have up until the 30th of September 2021 to either leave the country or renew their visas at VFS.
As most of you are aware, work permits, in general, take longer to process and 3rd party services might be delayed due to the pandemic.
We urge you to start the renewal process as early as possible to submit your application at VFS.
Failing to submit can lead to an undesirable status and being banned from the country upon exit which is either a 1-year ban for 30 days overstay or a 5-year ban for overstaying more than 30 days.
Start collecting and preparing your application for submission. Making use of an immigration consultant at this stage is crucial for your application to avoid any errors which lead to delays and refusals. Keep in mind to adhere to and include any covid protocols or requirements.
We are uncertain whether the Department of Home Affairs is likely to grant another extension to those who entered during the National State of Disaster announced in March 2020. Therefore you need to decide to leave the country or renew your visa.
Permanent Residence appeals and proof of permanent residence applications will resume as of 1st October 2021, whilst new applications for permanent residency will resume on the 1st of January 2022.
If you are unsure about the latest directive from DHA, then feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the visa process and we will assist you. We can assist you in renewing your visa and give you advice concerning your situation.
Latest news on asylum seekers in South Africa 2021
The South African Department of Home Affairs extends the validity of refugee permits and asylum permits until the 30th of September 2021. This means that any refugee or asylum holders whose permits are expired are legal in the country up until the 30th of September. South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs is encouraging both asylum and refugees to renew their permits online as the refugee centres remain closed.
When is refugee home affairs opening?
The refugee home affairs offices remain closed for now until communicated otherwise from DHA. There is a new online service system which has been implemented to assist with renewals which you need to follow.
The refugee or asylum seeker holder needs to email DHA to extend the validity of the visa without the need of having to physically go to the centre, where it is issued to you. The online platform is only for those whose visas have expired during the lockdown and if your visa has expired before the lockdown, then unfortunately you are not allowed to use the online system.
The applicant must send an email to the centre where he or she last renewed their application. Once they received your request then they will reply to you with a response that outlines the process in detail which includes all the templates and the required documents.
What are the required documents?
- The signed template with the following particulars: visa number, your full names and surnames, full contact details such as email address, cellphone numbers, physical address and your signature which must be the same as on your expired visa.
- Proof of physical address (Either a utility bill or affidavit confirming your address)
- Copy of your current visa (In the circumstance that your visa has been lost, you need to obtain an affidavit that confirms that it has been lost and your previous visa number must be used in the affidavit.)
- The template must be completed for each applicant. The template must be legible, with no errors and very clear. If it is not clear or legible then it will be sent back to you to complete again.
What are the email addresses for the different centres?
Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre: Asylum seekers should email firstname.lastname@example.org and refugees should email email@example.com
Cape Town Refugee Reception Centre: Asylum seekers should email firstname.lastname@example.org and refugees should email email@example.com
Durban Refugee Reception Centre: Asylum seekers should email firstname.lastname@example.org and refugees should email email@example.com
Musina Refugee Reception Centre: Asylum seekers should email firstname.lastname@example.org and refugees should email email@example.com
Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) Refugee Reception Centre: Asylum seekers should email firstname.lastname@example.org and refugees should email email@example.com
Can I submit my family’s application in one template?
No, the family members must submit their applications separately. So this means that each family member must their application in a new template and the family may use the same email address.
In the case of a minor, the principal applicant must sign the minor’s application which should be the same signature as on the expired visa or current visa.
DHA has three outcomes which applicants may expect. If all the documentation have been filled in correctly and all the requirements are satisfied, then they will send you a PDF visa which applicants can print and use.
If you have been sent a letter requesting additional information then your application is incomplete and the letter will request which documents are outstanding which you need to email to them. Once all the documents have been received then only will your application be processed.
The third outcome you can expect is requesting the applicant to appear in person at the RRO. The letter will confirm the official name, date and time of your appointment.
How can I verify the validity once I receive the visa?
You can verify your validity by emailing DHA as outline at the bottom:
- Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cape Town Refugee Reception Centre: email@example.com
- Durban Refugee Reception Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Musina Refugee Reception Centre: email@example.com
- Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) Refugee Reception Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org
The service is offered for free to refugees and asylum seekers whose visas expired during the lockdown and no official should charge you any fee for the service. Applicants must not send their applications multiple times as this can delay their systems which means the request for your application will take longer to process.
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.