South Africa Visa Rejected by the Department of Home Affairs?

South Africa Visa Rejected

We understand that navigating the complex immigration system of South Africa is a daunting process and can cause your anxiety levels to jump through the roof. The process alone is frustrating and being notified that your visa application was rejected will make you panic.

There are many reasons why your visa application has been refused and 9/10 times the reason for rejections is because of a document which could have been omitted by you.

Do not qualify for the visa you applied for? These are the different South Africa visa types you can apply for.

What causes a visa to be rejected?
What causes a visa to be rejected?

There are many visa rejection reasons why your application could have been rejected but below are some of the reasons we could think of:

  • Crucial documents omitted from your application
  •  A criminal record
  • A medical illness
  • You do not qualify for the visa you are applying for
  • You have overstayed your visa in South Africa and submitted with an expired visa
  • Attempting to change your status from a visitors’ visa to a temporary residence visa in South Africa
  • Submitting forged documents
  • Lack of evidence to convince the Department of Home Affairs to issue you the visa

These are just some of the visa rejection reasons we could think of but there are many reasons why your visa or permit could be rejected.

Every visa application is unique to every applicant submitting a visa in South Africa. Therefore all visa applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. There is a visa appeal process for South Africa you need to follow.

Applicants planning on visiting South Africa can find out if they fall under the visa exempt countries for South Africa.

Is it possible to get visa after rejection?
Is it possible to get visa after rejection?

In most cases yes, if you are in a position to provide a strong reason why they should overturn their decision.

Missing documents are one of the easiest appeals but some become more complex and might not lead to you not being issued the visa.

There is a specific timeframe in which you have to submit your appeal. Missing that time frame would mean that you are accepting the refusal and that you plan not to overturn their decision.

If you plan not to appeal, please ensure that you leave the country before your visa expires.

What happens after your visa gets rejected?
What happens after your visa gets rejected?

The Department of Home Affairs in South Africa will notify you through VFS of an outcome via their portal which you need to login in to. The notification will not reveal the outcome but will notify you to collect your outcome at the VFS centre you submitted through.

Once you get to VFS you will collect the outcome and if your application has been refused, they will then include the refusal letter stating why your visa has been denied.

At a South African embassy abroad, you will have to either call or walk in to find out if your application has been processed.

Can you appeal a rejected visa?
Can you appeal a rejected visa?

You will have 10 business days (which does not include weekends) to submit an appeal.

That means that you have to submit an appeal before the 10 days are over. This includes finding the necessary refusal reason evidence to overturn the Department of Home Affairs decision.

Protip: You only have 2 chances to submit an appeal, meaning that if both appeals are refused you have no grounds to appeal again and that you perhaps you would have to leave the country to avoid being illegal here which would have serious consequences.

We, therefore, advise that you satisfy the required refusal and ensure that what you are submitting is in the correct format as per Home Affairs requirements, including supporting evidence, including a letter of support to convince them to overturn it.

What to do if my visa got rejected?
What to do if my visa got rejected?

There are two ways you could approach the situation in:

Do it yourself:

If you are confident enough to appeal it yourself, then by every means do so.

  1. Find out the reason for the refusal by collecting outcomes at VFS
  2. Obtain supporting documents to overturn the refusal
  3. Assess the entire visa application for any possible errors that could lead to further refusals

Let an immigration consultant assist you:

An immigration consultant is experienced and will know what to do in the case of a refusal. They are fast to act and can advise you on what to do when you are on board with them. They have experienced different visas which have been refused.

Sometimes important documents have not been included with your application but sometimes you could have a complicated refusal which perhaps cannot be overturned. In this scenario, it’s best to assess if you should leave the country or apply for an alternative visa.

They will assess your application and can immediately rectify the situation if it’s a minor error. However if supporting evidence will take weeks or months to obtain, they can give you the best advice to follow.

Immigration consultants charge a service fee to assist you and you are paying for the experience.

Remember that you need to rebook an appointment with VFS and repay the R1550.00 to submit your appeal.

If the South African embassy abroad is not contracted to VFS then you can apply without having to book an appointment on VFS, however, you might have to book an appointment with the South African embassy.

What is the South Africa Visa Rejection Rate
What is the South Africa Visa Rejection Rate

Applicants who are applying for a visa on their own, stand a higher chance of refusal. Applicants are not familiar with the immigration system and each case is unique.

Applicants do not understand the different requirements and tend to interpret requirements for not what they are.

Due diligence is not applied and many applicants tend to skip 3rd party processes which are an integral part of particular work visas.

Immigration consultants or immigration lawyers on the other hand have a better understanding of the different types of visas. They have experienced thousands of submissions if not more and will have the knowledge to guide applicants to a higher chance of approval.

Countries marked as a high risk in South Africa by Home Affairs, these applicants will have a higher refusal rate as their applications are scrutinized more closely. Often, the South African embassy will include extra requirements when applying for a visa.

So the rate of refusal will be depending on the country and whether you have satisfied all the requirements. In different countries, SA embassies may change the requirements to make it stricter for applicants to apply for a visa.
Applying for a fake work visa will have dire consequences for employers and employee’s.

How long does a South African visa appeal take?

In South Africa, at the moment in 2022, Home Affairs has closed its doors for 2 years. When they renewed, the number of applications received was overwhelming and thus affected the processing times.

On average now it make more than 5 months to nearly 10 months to receive your outcome.

Remember that whilst awaiting the outcome of your appeal, do not leave the republic of South Africa with an expired visa. You will be banned from the country and you can read about the consequences in our blog post called “What is the penalty for overstaying in South Africa on an expired visa“.

We understand it’s frustrating but one thing you could do is navigate to the Home Affairs website and find the email address for the temporary residence visa appeals section and email them to find out about updates for your visa.

Migrate With Q can assist you to appeal a refusal, we can arrange a meeting to discuss your refusal, understand why you were refused and work out a custom plan to assist you.


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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