COVID-19 | All Your Most Pressing Concerns Answered – SA Immigration

We at Black Pen understand that us this time there are many people concerned about their visa status, when they could expect to having visa’s and permits approved and more. We have heard all your concerns and have decided to sum up the majority of answers to the questions our lawyers are asked the most by you.

1.How long can I stay in SA?

The Minister of Home Affairs has just announced during a debate on the Home Affairs budget vote that the grace period for foreigners with expired visas will be extended until 31 October 2020. An official declaration will be published in the Government Gazette shortly, but in the meantime you can already refer to the Minister’s speech here (the relevant section is right at the end “extension of validity of legal permits”)

 The Department of Home Affairs has recently resumed operations, but is currently still working with limited staff capacity.

2. Can I work in SA in my current visa expired during the lockdown?

 As per Media statement by the Department published on 14 April,  “people whose visa expired during the lockdown and those who have submitted their applications before the lockdown but their applications are still pending, will be allowed to work, study or conduct business after the lockdown while waiting for the outcome of their applications”:

3.I need to return home, will I be banned if my current visa is expired?

 As per statement by the Department, “Holders of temporary residence visas which expired from mid February 2020, who did not renew their visas before the lockdown, will not be declared illegal or prohibited persons. Any person whose visa expired before or during the lockdown will not be arrested or detained for holding an expired visa. Those who opt to return to their countries of origin or residence after the lockdown instead of renewing their visas will not be declared undesirable upon departure”.

 4.Can I return to SA now if I don’t have permanent residence?

 At this moment, only SA citizen and permanent residence holder will be able to return to SA.

5.I am in SA on a tourist visa, however, I have all my paperwork to submit a critical skill visa – can I do within the country?

 As, per Immigration Act  of 2002, application for critical skill work visa must be submitted in the country of origin.

6.When will I be able to submit my visa application at the Embassy?

 At this moment, we are waiting for the official Directives from the Department when the “adjudication” of visas will be reinstated. In our professional anticipation, it will be beginning of November.

7.If I have any problem once I depart the SA, what do I require to do?

 Certainly, can contact us when you depart and if you face with issues upon the departure.

8.I am a spouse of SA citizen can I enter SA at this moment?

If you are in possession of a long term visa, you will be able to enter SA. As the moment no new visa application are “adjudicated” by the foreign Missions.

If you have any questions for us or need further assistance, you can contact us directly at and one of our immigration lawyers will get back to you as a soon as possible.

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