On the 10th of June 2020, Dr. Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi, the Minister of Home Affairs in the Cabinet of South Africa, gazetted directions in terms of the Disaster Management to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The directive No. 664, issued on the 10th June 2020, addresses travel restrictions and immigration directions for South African citizens, Permanent residents, foreigners, Asylum seekers and Refugees. Furthermore, the department of Home Affairs will provide specific services during lockdown Level 3 which are explained in the following in more detail.
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS FOR CITIZENS AND PERMANENT RESIDENTS
South African citizens and permanent residents should refrain from non-essential travel to high-risk countries, and exercise caution in relation to any other travel outside South Africa.
South African citizens and permanent residents who are currently abroad and want to return to South Africa must apply to the nearest South African Mission for prior approval at least 72 hours before the intended arrival in South Africa.
Returning South African citizens and permanent residents will be subjected to medical screening and may be referred for mandatory isolation or quarantine on return to South Africa.
South African citizens who want to depart South Africa for employment or study or have a residence outside of South Africa must request permission to leave South Africa from the Department of Home Affairs at least five working days before the intended date of travel.
SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS UNDER LOCKDOWN LEVEL 3
Registration of birth, including late registration of birth;
Registration of deaths;
Reissue of birth and death certificates;
Solemnisation and registration of marriages;
Issuance of temporary identity certificates;
Collection of identity cards or documents;
Application for, and collection of, passports for persons engaged in the delivery of essential goods across the borders of the Republic and those travelling outside of the Republic for receiving medical services.
FOREIGNERS CURRENTLY OUTSIDE OF SOUTH AFRICA
Withdrawal of Visas Suspension of Visa Exemptions
With the exception of foreigners who were already in South Africa on 15 March 2020, all temporary residence visas issued to foreigners residing in high-risk countries are withdrawn.
Visa exemptions for foreigners from high-risk countries are withdrawn.
Refusal of Visas
Foreigners who have been in, or departed from, or transited through, a high-risk country since 15 February 2020 are deemed to be prohibited persons and will not be granted a visa or admitted into South Africa.
For the duration of the period of the national state of disaster, no visa application will be considered from nationals or residents of a high-risk country.
Applications by nationals of high-risk countries may only be considered if the person is not ordinarily residing in that country and has not been in that country or any other high-risk country since 15 February 2020.
FOREIGNERS CURRENTLY IN SOUTH AFRICA
Departure of foreigners from South Africa
Foreigners who are currently in South Africa whose visa has expired since 15 March 2020 will not be declared as undesirable when leaving the country until 31 July 2020.
Any declaration of undesirability that has already been issued to a foreigner who left South Africa on or after 15 March 2020 is set aside.
Foreigners who travel to or through a high-risk country after leaving South Africa will not be readmitted into South Africa.
Foreigners who will be repatriated to their country of nationality or permanent residence during the lockdown must apply to the relevant diplomatic or consular mission in South Africa at least 72 hours prior to the intended date of departure.
Visa concessions for foreigners currently in South Africa
Foreigners whose visas expire during the lockdown are allowed reapply for their visas without the need to first obtain authorisation to remain in the country (Form 20).
In the case of a visitor’s visa which has reached its maximum validity period and is technically not renewable, foreigners will be allowed to apply for the same visa with the same terms and conditions for a period not exceeding 90 days. No change of status or conditions will be allowed.
Applicants who are unable to meet one or more of the prescribed requirements for any temporary residence visa can apply for a waiver of such requirement.
Extension of Asylum Seeker Permits and Refugee Status
Asylum seeker permits and refugee status which have expired since 15 March 2020, or which were set to be withdrawn during the lockdown, are deemed to have been extended until 31 July 2020.
Extension of Lesotho Special Permits
Lesotho Special Permits which have expired are deemed to have been extended until 31 July 2020.
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