The Department of Home Affairs have put in place various temporary measures that will be applicable during the national lockdown that is presently in place until the end of April 2020.
The concessions apply to all persons with visas that expired after the 15th February 2020. Should a persons visa have expired prior to 15th February 2020, and they had applied for an extension prior to 15th February 2020, but the decision is still pending then these concession apply to such persons as well.
These measures will be valid until the 31st July 2020 unless officially extended by the Department. The concessions apply to the following situations:
Expiry of Visas:
Persons that hold valid temporary residence visas that expired after the 15th February 2020 and 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 or detained for holding an expired visa.
Should a person decide to rather return to their country of origin or residence after the lockdown instead of renewing their visa then they will not be declared undesirable when they leave South Africa.
Visa applications and adjudications:
Both the Visa Facilitation Centres (VFS) as well as the Department of Home Affairs will be closed during the lockdown period and accordingly, they will not be receiving or adjudication visa applications during this period.
Persons whose visas expired after the 15th February 2020 may apply for their visas from within South Africa as soon as the lockdown has been lifted. They may do so despite the fact that their visas have now expired, and they may further do so without first having to make an application to remain in the country (Good Cause/Form 20)
Those persons whose visas expired after the 15th February 2020, and who had already scheduled appointments for the submission of their visa applications, and where their appointment dates fall within the lockdown person must reschedule their appointments to a date after the lockdown has been lifted.
Applications for Work, Study and Business:
Persons whose visas expired during the lockdown, as well as those that submitted their applications before the lockdown, but their applications are still pending will be allowed to work, study or conduct business after the lockdown while waiting for the decision of their applications.
Visas for high risk countries:
Holders of temporary residence visas that are from high risk countries countries and who were outside South Africa at the time that lockdown was implemented have had their visas revoked. This is applicable both to persons that had already taken up their visas, but then left South Africa as well as to persons that had their visas granted, but had not yet entered South Africa.
An announcement has not yet been made with regards to how such persons should reapply for their visas, and it is hoped that concessions will be made with regards to such applications. We shall monitor this and update you as soon as an announcement is made.
Departure of Foreign Nationals:
During the lockdown, except for cases relating to expatriation initiated by another state, all foreign nationals who are currently in South Africa may not depart.
Repatriation programmes have been initiated thus far by various governments and these are ongoing.
Lesotho Exemption Permit:
Holders of the Lesotho Special Permit have up to 15 June 2020 to submit their applications for the Lesotho Exemption Permit. The Lesotho Special Permits which expired on 31 December 2019 remain valid until 15 June 2020. No new applications will be taken.
Expiry of Asylum Seeker Permits:
Any asylum seeker whose visa expired from 16 March 2020 to the end of the lockdown period will not be penalised or arrested provided that they legalise their visa within 30 calendar days of the lockdown being lifted.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with regards to any questions that you may have concerning the above concessions.
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