Visa Appeal Process South Africa

Visa Appeal Process South Africa


It is incredibly heartbreaking to know that your application for a visa has been rejected by the Department of Home Affairs and not to imagine the anxiety you must be feeling at this point. If you do not qualify for the visa you’ve applied for then these are the different South Africa visa types you can qualify for. We understand all the effort you have dedicated towards this and now you need to deal with the rejection. It could feel like your dreams are crushed, but not to worry. Today we are discussing the ins and outs of a refused visa and what you can do about it. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let us discuss something you should know before appealing.

What you need to know:

According to the immigration regulation sections 8(4) and 8(6), an applicant can appeal a rejected visa application.

The applicant has 2 chances to appeal, where the first appeal is sent to the Director General of Home Affairs and the second appeal is directly sent to the Minister of Home Affairs.

The applicant has 10 working days (weekends not included) to appeal the outcome and this regulation counts locally in South Africa including abroad at a South African embassy. 

If you need to track oyur visa application, you can do so here: VFS tracking South Africa.

South Africa visa rejection reasons

South Africa visa rejection reasons

There are many reasons why visas or permits are rejected but we will list here whatever springs to mind:

  • The applicant does not qualify for the visa being applied for
  • Omitted documents from the visa application
  • Submitting with a fake existing visa
  • The Department of Home Affairs incorrectly adjudicated the visa and misinterpreted the immigration act
  • Did not satisfy all the requirements
  • Submitting expired time-sensitive documents
  • Submitting an application in SA on a visit visa
  • Criminal record
  • Mental or serious illness

These are just some of the reasons we could think of but there are many reasons why applicants’ visas could be rejected.

How to appeal for a visa refusal in South Africa

How to appeal for a visa refusal in South Africa

The first thing you would need to do is collect your outcome from VFS at the centre you initially submitted it.

At this point, you won’t know what the outcome of your is at this point.

Once you have received the outcome, you would have 10 days to submit the appeal.

We understand at this point you would be freaking out and feeling disappointed.

The relatives visa South Africa processing time can take about 5 months to process and a normal temporary residence visa could also take about 5 months.

We recommend the following steps:

Step 1: Read the refusal letter

You need to thoroughly read through the refusal letter to find out why your application has been refused. The Department of Home Affairs would cite the reason why your visa or permit application has been rejected and mention the 10-day time frame.

We recommend that you obtain or satisfy the reason why your visa or permit has been rejected.

Once you have completed this, we would advise you to navigate to the VFS website and print the list of requirements for the visa you are applying for.

Once you have the list, double-check your application against the list to see that you have all the required documents.

Step 2: Check your documents for any errors

The next thing you need to do is check every document for any errors.

Things you need to check for:
  1. All your information is consistent throughout the application like names, surnames, passport numbers etc.
  2. Ensure that all your documents are still valid and not expired medical, and radiology are not older than 6 months and certified documents are not older than 3 months.
  3. Ensure that all documents are certified or notarised by a notary or commissioner of oaths.
  4. All foreign qualifications must be accompanied by a SAQA certificate.
  5. All letters and 3rd party letters are in the format that Home Affairs requires them to be.
  6. Ensure that all 3rd party processes are complete and include proof thereof when applying for work visas.

Checking your entire visa application allows you to eliminate any errors which might lead to rejection again. So we want to eliminate any possible causes further down the line as we are only allowed to submit 2 appeals and wasting them would be detrimental to you.

If you do not qualify for the visa or permit you are applying for, then there is no way you can appeal it. You must seek an alternative visa which you qualify for and apply for it.

Submitting an application with a fake visa or you have overstayed your visa, then you must first rectify this by submitting an appeal for that and once this has been cleared from your name then only can you go ahead and apply for the visa.

Step 3: Writing a refusal letter:

You will need to write and sign your representation/motivation appeal letter which must include information that will assist the Director General or Minister in making a fair decision.

Your letter must contain the following:

  • Address to the Department of Home Affairs Pretoria (Head Office)
  • Date
  • Addressed to the Director General or Minister
  • Cite your response
  • include signature
  • Thank the Department
What is the cost related to submitting an appeal

Start Your Visa Appeal For South Africa Now!

Take action today and turn your dream of living in South Africa into a reality. Your future awaits, so start your visa appeal journey today!

What documents are required for a visa appeal?

What documents are required for a visa appeal?

You can only appeal once you have collected the outcome of the refusal.

The following documents must be submitted:

  • Completed VFS Online Form
  • Have original documents on hand for verification while submitting photocopies for any visa/permit
  • Valid passport
  • Copy of the rejection letter from the Department of Home Affairs
  • Copy of your passport and copy of your latest visa/permit that was issued to you
  • Your written signed representation/motivation for an appeal in response to the rejection letter which includes any information that would assist the Director General or Minister to make an informed decision when considering your appeal.
  • Supporting documents that you wish to include.
  • Proof of the VFS funds paid.

VFS Appeal Fee South Africa

VFS Appeal Fee South Africa

Once you are complete with your application and happy that it is 100%, the next step is scheduling your appointment with VFS to submit your appeal for processing.

Protip: If there are no appointments available within the 10-day mark, we suggest you go to VFS and insist that you want to submit.

VFS will not accept your appeal after the 10-day mark, they will simply refuse to assist you.

If there are appointments within the 10 days, we recommend that you book a slot and then submit your application.

Submitting Abroad:

Submitting a refusal appeal abroad works slightly different. If the South African embassy is not contracted to VFS then you would need to find out how they prefer submission for appeals.

Some South African embassies would request form 49 to be accompanied with your application.

Fees for an appeal:

VFS Fees – R 1550.00

Home Affairs – No fees

Remember to include your receipt within your application.

VFS appeal processing time

VFS appeal processing time

Your appeal could take anything between 5 months to nearly 2 years.

We advise that after 1 month of waiting, you follow up with them by consistently emailing them every week.

For example the relative visa South Africa processing time takes about 5 to 8 months because of Covid 19.

Once a week is enough as you do not want to irritate them. Set a reminder to mail them every Monday and include the following details in your email:

  • You reference number (Include a scanned copy)
  • Name & Surname
  • Type of application
  • When you submitted

Do this every week and you are sure to receive a reply from them. The most important thing is you need to be consistent. Even if there is no reply, you need to be consistent.

Contact us today to assist you with your immigration needs. We have years of experience working on overturning a refusal and we can give you the best advice for your situation. Refused applications do not need to be complex and let us take the stress out of the application for you this refusal will be a walk in the park for you,

Temporary residence refusal and permanent residence refusal are what we specialize in. Contact us today for our refusal service.

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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