Despite the widely publicized issues concerning foreigners overstaying their visas in South Africa, the number of people getting banned from continues to rise. While the Immigration Act considers anyone not in possession of a valid visa to be an illegal foreigner, many foreigners choose to risk remaining in South Africa.
If a foreign national overstay for a period of fewer than 30 days, they will be banned for a period of 12 months and given the position of an ‘undesirable person’. An overstay that goes beyond 30 days leads being banned for a period of 5 years from South Africa. Additionally, the individual may only re-enter after the expiration of the stated period.
Not applying for visa extension 60 days before the expiry date
It is important to note that the court states that foreign nationals who seek to extend their existing visas must ensure that such applications are made at least 60 days before termination of their existing visas. Failure to do so may result in such foreign nationals being declared as ‘undesirable’ persons.
Appealing for an overstay at the Department of Home Affairs
Any person distressed by these new laws, whether it is a local citizen or a foreign national, can go to the Department of Home Affairs using an appeal process. If you have been professed as undesirable, you can apply to have the status appealed within a period of 10 days. Subsequently, the Department of Home Affairs will attend to your appeal within 48 hours. However, there is no guarantee that the matter will be dealt with according to the time frame indicated by the department, as immigration-related matters can become time-consuming.
If the appeal is successful, a waiver will be issued to the foreigner permitting them to return to South Africa with immediate effect. It is advisable for employers to recommend this route to any employees who find themselves illegally resident in South Africa.
The most common reason for this ban is when no outcome has been received regarding the date of expiration of your visa when applying for a new visa application or an extension/renewal of an existing visa from within South Africa.
If you find yourself in this predicament or unsure on which side of the law you’re on, we are here to help you every step of the way! Get in touch with one of our immigration consultants today to help you with all visa applications in South Africa.