Further adjustments made to visas expired during the national lockdown

Throughout the various stages of the South African National Lockdown, owing to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, various temporary measures have been put in place in an effort to accommodate immigration needs of foreign nationals within the Republic. These temporary measures have mainly centred around extensions of the various visas by means of a series of amendments that have been made to the directions issued in terms of the Regulations of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002. 

13 Apr 2021 2 min read Employment Law Alert Article

At a glance

  • Temporary measures have been implemented during the South African National Lockdown to address the immigration needs of foreign nationals, mainly through extensions of visas and permits.
  • An extension until 30 June 2021 has been granted for South African visitors' visas and permits issued for less than 90 days, ensuring holders are not declared undesirable if their visas expired during the lockdown.
  • However, this extension does not apply to certain visa categories, including study visas, business visas, work visas, and visas obtained on or after 15 March 2021. Holders of these visas should either apply for new visas before 31 July 2021 or leave the country before that date. Asylum seeker permits, refugee status, and Lesotho Special Permits have also been extended until 30 June 2021.

On 26 March 2021 the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, once again extended the validity of visas and permits which expired during the national lock down from 31 March 2021 to 30 June 2021.

However, this particular extension only applies to the South African visitors’ visa and permits issued for less than 90 days. This effectively means that such holders will not be declared undesirable if their visas or permits expired during the course of the national lockdown because they are now deemed to be valid until 30 June 2021.

This concession does not apply to the following visas which have expired during the National State of Disaster namely:

  • Study visas;
  • Treaty visas;
  • Business visas;
  • Medical treatment visas;
  • General work visas;
  • Critical skills work visas;
  • Retired person visas;
  • Exchange visas;
  • Visas issued for more than 90 days up to three years; and
  • Any visa or permit obtained on or after 15 March 2021, or to any persons who entered on or after this date.

Instead the abovementioned holders who are not entitled to the South African visitors’ visa extension should instead apply for visas at www.vfsglobal.com/dha/southafrica on or before 31 July 2021, or leave the country before this date.

It is important for visa holders to adhere to the terms and conditions of their visas and any activity not endorsed onto such visa or permits is prohibited.

In addition, the asylum seeker permits or refugee status, which has been granted in terms of the Refugees Act, which expired from 15 March 2020, is deemed to have been extended up to and including 30 June 2021.

Similarly, Lesotho Special Permits, which have expired, is deemed to have been extended to 30 June 2021.

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