Amendments to the Covid-19 Immigration Directives were published in the Government Gazette on the 26th March 2021. The amendments primarily deal with 3 areas:
The deadline date for persons on Tourist visas has been extended from the 31st March 2021 until the 30 June 2021. Accordingly, any person that has been in South Africa on a Tourist Visa since the 15th February 2020 or who entered South Africa on a Tourist Visa during the course of the lockdown period can stay in South Africa, and leave the country before the 30th June 2021 without being banned, and declared undesirable when they exit South Africa.
The above, however, only applies to persons that entered South Africa prior to the 15th March 2021. Those persons that entered on or after the 15th March 2021 must leave South Africa on or before the date that their visa expires or should apply for an extension of their visa if they wish to stay longer.
This extension until the 30th June 2021 does not apply to the holders of long terms visas that have expired during the lockdown period. These long term visas include the following: work visas, business visas, study visas etc. The holders of such visas that have expired during the lockdown period must apply to either renew their present long term visas or apply for new long term visas. This must be done by the 31st July 2021.
The amendment suggests that if the holder of a long term visa does not apply either to renew their long term visa or make an application for a new long term visa and they then leave the country after the 31st March 2021 then they will be banned and declared undesirable on their exit from South Africa. Accordingly, if the holder of a long term visa that expired during the lockdown does not intend to either renew or apply for a new long term visa then they must leave South Africa by the 31st March 2021.
It further appears from the latest amendments that the latest extension until the 31st July 2021 is the last extension that will be allowed. All persons affected are thus encouraged to take whatever actions are required to regularize their stay in South Africa well before the latest extension date.
Finally the amendments list further services that are now available through the offices of the Department of Home Affairs. Unfortunately, neither citizenship nor Permanent Residence applications are included in this expanded list.
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