On 29 March 2023, the DHA provided a new blanket temporary extension of foreign nationals' current visa status from 31 March 2023 to 31 December 2023 for those awaiting the outcomes of their visa and waiver applications.
The following measures will apply with immediate effect:
- Foreign nationals whose waiver application outcomes are still pending: long-term visa holders (work, business, study, relative and accompanying spouse), who applied for a waiver which is still being processed on 31 March 2023, will be granted a temporary extension until 31 December 2023. This will enable the DHA to process the applications and foreign nationals to collect their outcomes and submit applications for appropriate visa renewals.
- Foreign nationals whose visa applications are still pending: long-term visa holders (work, business, study, relative and accompany spouse), who qualified for the initial temporary measures from 1 September 2022 to deal with visa backlog applications, will be granted a temporary extension until 31 December 2023 to their current visa status. Foreign nationals are not allowed to engage in any activity other than provided for in their current visa conditions.
- Short-term visa holders, whose visa validity was less than 90 days and who have not received their visa extension outcomes by 31 March 2023, will need to make the necessary arrangements to leave South Africa on or before 30 April 2023, to avoid being declared as undesirable persons.
Foreign nationals who wish to abandon their pending visa or waiver application and leave the country instead may also do so on or before 31 December 2023 without being declared undesirable.
Foreign nationals with pending long-term visa applications, who originate from visa-exempt countries and wish to travel, may do so if they present their original VFS receipt upon departure and re-entry into South Africa. Foreign nationals with pending long-term visa applications who originate from non-visa-exempt countries and wish to travel may do so but will be required to produce a port of entry visa and the VFS receipt to be allowed re-entry into South Africa.
The extended temporary measures will only apply to foreign nationals who have legally entered South Africa and have applied for a visa through the VFS Centre on or before 31 March 2023.
Read the original publication at Webber Wentzel.