Letter Of Good Cause South Africa

What is a letter of good cause

What is a letter of good cause?

A letter of good cause is a document that provides a compelling and persuasive reason for why a non-South African should be granted a specific request from the Department of Home Affairs when their visa has expired.

In the context of South Africa, a letter of good cause is often used in visa applications to explain any extenuating circumstances that may affect the applicant’s ability to comply with the requirements of the immigration act like an expired visa.

It is an opportunity for applicants to provide additional information that supports their late visa application or any reason why they could not submit it.

Writing a compelling and well-structured Letter of Good Cause is critical for a successful outcome. To ensure that your letter is effective, it is important to understand the requirements, guidelines, and best practices for writing a strong and persuasive letter.

Need to apply for a visa? These are the different South Africa visa types you can apply for.

Importance of a good cause

Importance of a good cause

If you have an expired visa, it is important to submit the good cause when applying for a new visa, or an extension of your existing visa. This is because the good cause provides an opportunity to explain the reasons why your visa expired and to demonstrate that you did not intend to overstay your visa or violate the terms of your visa in any way.

Types of situations where it could be used

Types of situations where it could be used

It can be used in a variety of situations for visa applications. Some common situations where it may be used:

  • Unexpected events: If an unexpected event such as a natural disaster, family emergency, or illness impacted your ability to renew your visa or comply with the terms of your visa.
  • Overstayed your visa: If you overstayed your visa, you can explain the overstay and demonstrate that it was due to extenuating circumstances and not intentional.
  • Financial difficulties: If you are facing financial difficulties and you could not submit in time.

These are just a few scenarios we could think of but there are many reasons why you could be applying for one. If you have overstayed your visa due to negligence then you will be declared undesirable. You can read our what is the penalty for overstaying on an expired visa.

Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility Criteria

  1. The applicant has not been ordered to depart or arrested in South Africa.
  2. Demonstrate that the applicant was not in the position to submit their application in the specified timeframe.
  3. Demonstrate that you are now able to apply at the time of your request.

How to write the perfect letter

How to write the perfect letter

When writing the letter for the visa in South Africa, it is important to be clear, and concise, and to provide all relevant information. Here are some writing tips:

  1. Identify the purpose: Clearly state the purpose and explain why you are writing it.
  2. Explain the circumstances: Provide a clear and detailed explanation of the extenuating circumstances that led to your visa expiration or the situation that requires the submission.
  3. Provide evidence: Provide any relevant supporting documentation or evidence, such as medical certificates, death certificates, or proof of financial difficulties.
  4. Be honest: Be honest and truthful about the situation and the circumstances leading to your visa expiration.
  5. Demonstrate your commitment: DEmonstrate your commitment to adhering to the terms of your visa and to maintaining good standing with the South Africa immigration authorities.
  6. Keep it professional: Write in a professional tone and format, using clear and concise language.
  7. Provide contact information: Provide your full name, address, and contact information at the end of the letter.

Sample Letter of Good Cause – Home Affairs

Sample Letter of Good Cause - Home Affairs

Dear Director General of Home Affairs,

I am writing this letter to explain the extenuating circumstances that led to my visa expiration. I am [Your Name], [Your Passport Number], and I was originally granted a [Type of Temporary Residence Visa] on [Visa Issue Date]. Unfortunately, my visa has now expired due to my prolonged illness.

In [Month and Year], I was diagnosed with [Name of Illness], which required [length of Hospitalization/Treatment}. During this time, I was unable to attend to my visa status, as I was receiving treatment and recovering from my illness. I understand that this is an unfortunate situation, but I can assure you that my illness was beyond my control and was not intentional.

I have attached my medical certificate and any other relevant supporting documentation to this letter. I would like to also assure you that I have sufficient funds to support myself during my stay in South Africa.

I understand that my visa has expired, and I am writing this letter to apply for an extension or renewal of my visa. I hope that you will consider my circumstances and grant me the opportunity to continue my stay in South Africa so that I can continue being with my family (Husband & Kids).

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your positive response.


[Your Name}


[Phone Number]

[Email Address]

How to apply for letter of a good cause:

How to apply for letter of a good cause

  1. The illegal foreigner needs to approach an inspectorate at any Home Affairs office to find out if a good cause exists and whether you can apply.
  2. You need to have your proof and written motivation with you on the day the immigration officer will interview you.
  3. The immigration office will issue you with a notice to report DHA 1721 – Form 23 so that the authenticity of your supporting documents can be confirmed.
  4. Once the immigration officer has completed a report, it must then be sent to the office head who will send it to the District Manager of Operations/Director.
  5. If your outcome is positive you will then be handed an application for form 20 which you then take to VFS with your visa application.
  6. If your outcome is negative, you will either face prosecution or be deported.

The most important aspect is you need to have a ready-to-submit application while waiting for your outcome from the Department of Home Affairs.

This will ensure that you are prepared to submit your visa application immediately in case your good cause is approved, and avoid any potential delays in the visa application process. This counts for all visas.

Common mistakes to avoid when writing

Common mistakes to avoid when writing

When writing, it is important to avoid common mistakes that can negatively impact the outcome of your visa application. Some of these mistakes include:

  • Lack of detail: Providing insufficient information or not fully explaining your circumstances can make it difficult for the authorities to understand your situation and make a decision on your visa application.
  • Inconsistent information: Providing conflicting or inconsistent information and other visa application materials can raise red flags and make the authorities doubt the authenticity of your claims.
  • Inadequate supporting documentation: Failing to provide sufficient supporting documentation can weaken your case and make it difficult for the authorities to decide on your visa application.
  • Neglecting to follow up: Failing to follow up and the status of your visa application can result in unnecessary delays and a negative outcome.

How long does a letter of good cause take

How long does a letter of good cause take

The length of time it takes to process can vary depending on several factors, including the volume of applications being processed, the complexity of the case, and the completeness of the application. On average, it may take several weeks or even months for the authorities to make a decision.

However, it is important to note that the processing time can be influenced by various factors, such as the availability of resources, staff, and processing capacity at the Home Affairs office. Additionally, some applications may take longer to process due to the need for further verification or clarification of information provided in the application.

It is recommended to follow up on the status regularly to ensure that it is being processed and to avoid any potential delays.

About Charl

Charl Vollmer

Charl Vollmer has 10 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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