The Department of Home Affairs has outlined temporary measures which are in place to address immigration matters during the national lockdown period in South Africa.
The visa concessions listed below apply to foreign nationals with visas which expired from 15 February 2020 – unless a person has proof that he or she had already submitted an application for a visa at VFS prior to 15 February 2020 and the application is still pending.
These temporary measures will remain valid until 31 July 2020 – unless extended by the
Department of Home Affairs.
Expiry of visas
Holders of temporary residence visas which expired from 15 February 2020 who did not renew their visas before the national lockdown will not be declared illegal or as prohibited persons.
A foreign national whose visa expired before or during the lockdown period will not be arrested or detained for holding an expired visa.
A foreign national who opt to return to his or her country of origin or residence after the lockdown instead of renewing his or her visa will not be declared as an undesirable person upon his or her departure from South Africa.
Visa application and adjudication
During the lockdown, the Department of Home Affairs will not receive or adjudicate any applications for visas or permanent residence permits.
Foreign nationals whose visas expired after 15 February 2020 may submit a new application for a visa while in South Africa immediately after the lockdown has been lifted. Such applicants will not be required to obtain an authorisation to remain in the country (Good Cause Letter / Form 20).
Foreign nationals whose visas expired after 15 February 2020 who had scheduled appointments at VFS on dates during the lockdown period will have to reschedule their appointments to an available date after the lockdown has been lifted.
Work, Study and Business
Foreign nationals whose visas expired during the lockdown period and those who have submitted their applications before the lockdown but their applications are still pending will be allowed to work, study or conduct business after the lockdown has been lifted while waiting for the outcome of their applications.
Visas for high risk countries
Visas issued to foreign nationals of high-risk countries who did not enter South Africa before or on 15 March 2020 were revoked by the Department of Home Affairs and will remain revoked.
Departure of foreign nationals
During the lockdown, except for cases relating to expatriation initiated by another country, all foreign nationals who are currently in South Africa may not depart.
Expiry of asylum seeker permits
Any asylum seeker whose permit expired from 16 March 2020 to the end of the lockdown period will not be penalised or arrested provided that he or she legalise their permit within 30 calendar days of the lockdown being lifted.