COVID-19 | Home Affairs Issues New Immigration Guidelines

The temporary measures that were introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa before the nationwide lockdown with regards to visa extensions and renewals for foreign nationals in South Africa will remain valid until 31 July 2020, unless extended officially by the department. They apply only to foreign nationals, who have been legally admitted into the country

People whose work, study, visitors visa’s etc which has expired during the Covid-19 lockdown will not be penalised, Home Affairs said on Tuesday the 14th of April 2020.

This also applies to people who submitted their applications before the lockdown, with the outcome pending.

During the lockdown, except for cases relating to expatriation initiated by their home countries, all foreign nationals who are currently in South Africa may not depart the country.

Expiry of visas

Holders of temporary residence visas which expired from mid-February, 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 nor 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.

Visa application and adjudication

During the lockdown, the department is not receiving or adjudicating applications for visas and permanent residence permits.

Foreign nationals whose visas expired after February 15 may reapply for their respective visas or relevant visa exemptions while in SA immediately after the lockdown has been lifted. They will not be required to apply for authorisation to remain in the country. Those with expired visas from the same date who had scheduled appointments on dates which fall within the lockdown period should reschedule their appointments to an available date after the lockdown has been lifted, the department advised.

Lesotho exemption permit

Holders of the Lesotho Special Permit have up to June 15 to submit their applications for an exemption permit.

Expiry of asylum seeker permits

Any asylum seeker whose visa expired from March 16 to the end of the lockdown will not be penalised or arrested provided they legalise their visa within 30 calendar days of the lockdown being lifted.

If you are a foreign national in South Africa right now, and need help extending or renewing your current visa then click here to send through your query and one of our immigration lawyers will get back to you withing 24 hours.

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