The Department of Home Affairs has issued a statement clarifying a number of points relevant to non-South Africans inside the country. The South African government has implemented a number of temporary measures since March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These measures include travel bans and restrictions, the revocation of visas and provisions for foreigners already in South Africa. Here are some points addressed by The Department of Home Affairs hoping to provide some additional clarity.
Visas that expired on or after the 15th of February 2020 can be renewed once the lockdown is over. VFS Global is currently closed due to the nationwide lockdown, though. Submission can therefore only be done once VFS is operational again post lockdown. If your visa expired before or during the lockdown, you won’t be penalised. Renewal applications will be accepted without a Letter of Good Cause (Form 20).
Foreigners who hold work, business or study visas
Due to our nationwide lockdown, The Department of Home Affairs is not processing or adjudicating any applications currently. As a result, there is going to be a backlog. The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that those who have submitted work, business or study visa applications prior to lockdown can take up their respective activity once the lockdown has been lifted. Under normal circumstances, you cannot conduct an activity if your visa has expired and you’re awaiting the outcome. However, due to expected backlog, a concession has been made.
Visas issued to foreign nationals from high-risk countries
As per the Directive issued in March 2020, foreign nationals who hold temporary residency visas and who are outside of South Africa have unfortunately had their visas revoked. Based on the most recent statement by Home Affairs, this unfortunately remains unchanged.
Departure of foreign nationals
Foreigners currently in South Africa cannot depart the country during lockdown. Those being repatriated by their governments are an exception to this rule.
Lesotho Exemption Permits
Holders of a Lesotho Special Permit have until 15 June 2020 to make applications for the Lesotho Exemption Permit. Those with Lesotho Special Permits that expired at the end of December 2019, remain valid until 15th June 2020. No new applications will be accepted – it is only for those who have held a Lesotho Special Permit.
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