How to write an overstay appeal letter

Overstay Appeal South Africa
Overstay Appeal South Africa

Have you been banned from South Africa and looking for tips to write your letter to overturn your ban?

Today you’ve come to the right place to get all the information you need to create the perfect letter to have your ban overturned.

Appealing a ban and having it overturned means that you are allowed to apply for a visa (South Africa immigration options) or permanent residency for South Africa or perhaps just re-enter to visit family or friends with a tourist visa.

If you are not sure what the consequences are for overstaying then our blog post “What is the penalty for overstaying in South Africa on an expired visa” would give you all the details you need.

No matter how perfect your appeal letter may be, your reasons why you overstayed plays a vital role in successfully uplifting the ban.

Therefore, if you have overstayed your visa in South Africa due to negligence for example leaving a month after your visa expires for no justifiable reason means that you might not get that overturned.

So we would advise you to think about why you overstayed and whether you have solid reasons to appeal the travel ban.

Your length of the ban depends on the number of days you overstayed. Being declared an undesirable person is stressful especially if you have family here who depends on you, so compiling a weighted application is in your best interest.

Uplifting a ban is completely different from the visa appeal process South Africa.

Once you ban has been uplifted, these are the South Africa visa types you can apply for.

How can I fix an overstayed passport?


How can I fix an overstayed passport?


Foreign nationals who have been banned from South Africa can directly appeal to the Department of Home Affairs to overturn the ban by submitting the following documents:

  • Your overstay appeal letter.
  • A copy of the declaration of undesirability (form 19) that was issued at the port of entry.
  • Copy of the relevant pages of the passport, including the bio page
  • Acknowledgement of receipt (in cases where the applicant has applied for a temporary residence permit / visa and the status is still pending).
  • Overstaying due to medical reasons, a medical certificate must be submitted by the applicant.

Your appeals application must be submitted to and to confirm whether your application has been received you can contact the IMS deportations at 012 406 4985 (overstay appeal South Africa phone number).

Writing an overstay appeal letter 


overstay appeal sample letter


Before we give you some awesome tips, we’d recommend that you download our overstay appeal sample letter if you are not comfortable creating your own. 

The overstay appeal sample letter is a basic letter that you could use as a starting point and edit to make it fit your unique situation.

But back to the main point.

If you were sure that you have a solid reason and would like to apply for some form of temporary residence visa or just visit our country again because it’s awesome, then we propose that you appeal the decision. 

If you are unsure and would like us to do this for you then you can make use of our South African immigration services as we are experienced in applying to overturn a ban.

The most important aspect that you need to remember is how you are going to write your appeal letter.

Your letter should not be an emotional one but based rather on facts, evidence and convincing. 

Avoid being rude and complaining about how unjust the immigration system is, you have one job and that is to write a sound-letter that is pretty convincing. 

Things you should include in your letter:

  • Name and Surname
  • Your passport number
  • Your date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Email address
  • Contact details
  • Your address

There is no right way of writing an appeal letter, however, there are some general things that you need to include like the above, but you need to include the following as well:

  1. Mention when you exited the country and when you received form 19 which declares you undesirable.
  2. Mention which airport you have exited from.
  3. Explain your reasons why you have overstayed your visa.
  4. List all supporting documents that have been submitted to the overstay appeal departments.
  5. Include your signature at the bottom.

So here is an example of an overstay appeal sample letter which you can read:


Department of Home Affairs

To Whom it may concern,

Paragraph 1:

This is the opening introduction of the letter and in this part, you should introduce yourself by including your name, surname, your address, place of birth and include your passport number. State your reason for writing the letter and then mention the date when you were banned from the country and indicate that you received from 19. Make it clear that you wish to apply for a temporary residence visa or visit the country again.

Paragraph 2:

Paragraph 2 reveal the reason why you were banned from South Africa and mention that they please overturn the ban.

Paragraph 3:

In this paragraph, you need to explain why you have overstayed your visa. Elaborate the reasons why you have overstayed and ensure that your reasons are convincing enough. In this paragraph, you can ask them to refer to the references like medical bills, doctors’ letters or whatever proof you have that can back up your reason. Remember the success of overturning your undesirability depends on how strong your evidence is and how convincing it is.

The closing paragraph of your written letter should ask them to consider your reason and that they are welcome to contact you for further information and that you respect the South African law.


your hand signature

Your full name

Your phone number

Your email address

You can use this overstay appeal sample letter to create your letter and build a strong solid case. We wish you all the best and if you need any assistance or would like us to take over the process, then please do not hesitate to contact us. But hopefully, our overstay appeal sample letter will do just the trick for you if you are not sure how to write a letter from scratch. We understand that this process is stressful and that you can think straight and how to write an appeal letter is the last thing on your mind.

How long is an overstay appeal?


How long is an overstay appeal?


When a new application has been submitted to the Department of Home Affairs, the duration for the decision to be overturned can take anything from 1 month up to 3 months, depending on how busy they are and the number of applications received.

So the time taken to receive your outcome can vary depending on how busy they are.

Once your application with support documents has been received you can call them to confirm whether your application has been received and you can call them for updates.

We advised all applicants to keep a copy of their application, in case your application is lost and you can easily submit it again.

Please ensure that the size of your application is under 4 MB as the email server will reject the application and your application will not have been received by the appeals office.

About Charl

Charl Vollmer

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.

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