According to VFS and the Department of Home Affairs, foreigners are now allowed to change their visa status in South Africa, instead of applying at the South African mission in their home country.
This change will however only be allowed without leaving the country when the foreigners wants to change to long-stay visitor visa or to a spousal visa.
Both the Department of Home Affairs and VFS, represented by Deputy General Manager in South Africa, confirm this statement. The changes will take effect immediately.
The law, which states that foreigners have to apply in their home country when changing visa categories came into effect with the immigration law changes which took place in South Africa in 2014. This new law was controversial as visa category changes overseas could take up to 8 weeks to be processed during which time foreigners had to stay in their home country – waiting and deprived of their passport.
The law was amended after the case of Stewart versus Minister Of Home Affairs ( case 12520/2015), by clarifying the question around Change of Status and Conditions from a Visitors Visa.
The decision follows the Cape Town High Court’s decision in Stewart v Department of Home Affairs that visitors should be allowed to apply for other visas from within South Africa in certain circumstances.
The industry has welcomed this amendment.
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