South African visa - detention and deportation

Detention and Deportation – Know your rights

The South African Immigration Act No.13 of 2002 provides immigration officials with rather wide-ranging powers when it comes to the arrest, detention and deportation of illegal foreigners. In some instances, these powers have been abused as displayed in the case of Edward Samotse. Thus it has become incredibly important for foreigners to familiarise themselves with the law and their rights. Section 34 of the Act specifically deals with this issue.

Are you at risk of being detained or deported from South Africa

In terms of this section, an immigration officer is entitled to arrest an illegal foreigner, without the need for a warrant, and deport or detain said foreigner. In doing so, the immigration official must follow certain procedures.

The foreigner concerned:

  • Must be notified in writing on the prescribed form (Form 29) of the decision to deport him or her, and the subsequent right to appeal this decision;
  • May request that his or her detention for the purpose of deportation be confirmed by warrant of a Court. If such warrant is then not issued within 48 hours of the request, the foreigner shall be released immediately;
  • Shall be advised at the time of the arrest or as soon as practicably possible thereafter of the above rights, and in a language he or she understands;
  • May not be held in detention for more than 30 calendar days without a warrant of a court. This detention may be extended on good and reasonable grounds for a period not exceeding 90 days;
  • Shall be held in detention in compliance with the standards protecting his or her human rights and dignity.

In the event that a foreigner is arrested for purposes other than deportation, he or she may not be detained for a period in excess of 48 hours. The Act also makes provision for the payment of a deposit by a foreigner subject to deportation in order to defray the whole or part of the costs of his or her deportation, detention, maintenance, and custody. If said foreigner is ordered by an immigration official to make payment of the deposit and fails to do so, he or she shall be guilty of an offence and liable for a fine or imprisonment.

What to do if detained in South Africa

If you find yourself in a position where you suspect your rights are being infringed as a foreigner, it is advisable to contact a firm of attorneys in order to gain clarity. It goes without saying that officials are well within their rights to deport illegal foreigners, provided they do so through the correct channels. If you have been deported and banned from South Africa, but wish to fight the decision, you can do so by way of a visa overstay appeal for South Africa. For further details, do not hesitate to contact our offices. .[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]

South African visa - detention and deportation

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Posted in Appeals, blog, Live In SA, News, Play in SA, Visit SA.

45 Comments

  1. Good day I am Andre Schoeman. A Mozambique friend of mine has been arrested on 11 June 2016 for carrying him papers with him. The family of this man are not sure why he has been held so long as all his paperwork is in place

  2. Hello Andre. Sorry to hear about the situation in which your friend is currently in. There is definitely something we can do for your friend. Could you send us your enquiry again by email to immigration@lr-inc.co.za, explaining the situation and provided with your telephone number. An attorney who deals with this matter will get back to you as soon as possible.

  3. hi how r u dear, my brother syed tahir mehmood having lesthdo pasport with him was arrested at johansberg airpor yesterday me still not know about him plz do some if u can plz any information about him give me i will b thankful to u+923072188643

  4. Hie my gal was arrested in 25 of May they sent her to prison for 2 month and now she is in botlokwa police station for 2 weeks 6days so plz help me

  5. Hello
    My fiancée is from the UK he has been living here for 2years he has his own construction company and was doing a contract for the government.
    His daughter got very sick and was rushed to hospital in the UK he went to be with his daughter when he came back to SA the government told him that they are behind in his contract and he must pay the government an amount of 2million rand when he said no that he would make sure that the building is complete on time they did not accept it and sent him out the country we want to be married this was to happen in July.
    Can he come back to SA without being arrested and sent back
    Thank you

  6. Hi Collen

    Thank you for contacting us, sorry to hear about your situation. Please email this overview to matt@lr-inc.co.za and include your contact details and he will get back to you.

    Kind regards,
    The SAVisas Team

  7. Hi I dnt know where to start,but a friend from the uk came to visit me,he has been detained johannesburg airport,his name is andrew ishmael he laned here on the 12th of october 2016 I dnt know why they dont let him go he payd in of the money they wanted of him but his still being detained,can you please help me

  8. Hi Ronel

    Thank you for contacting us. Please email this to matt@lr-inc.co.za with your contact details and he will be in contact with you about the matter.

    Kind regards,
    The SAVisas Team

  9. his I was given someone money to he said he can process my permit but he take my R3000 cash in hand and he just make for me a appointment letter but after that nothing happened he just keep quite

  10. Hi Maximillian

    Thank you for contacting us. Please email immigration@lr-inc.co.za with an overview of your situation, the type of permit you were applying for and your contact details and a consultant will get back to you with advice.

    Regards,
    The SAVisas Team

  11. Hi Stacey

    My cousin was depoted to Swaziland in 2010 and her passort was destroyed and they banned her for 5 years not coming to S.A. bt now the period is over yet she still not allowed in what must she do because she did appeal but his case is still existing please help

  12. Hi Kholiwe

    We’re sorry to hear about your cousin’s situation. Please email the summary of your situation to matt@lr-inc.co.za with your contact details and he will get back to with advice on the matter.

    Kind regards,
    The SAVisas Team

  13. Please kindly release my husband,His Children wanted him,they have been Crying like there is tommorrw,I don’t even have my peace of night again since he called me with a strange Number telling him they arrested as illegal immigrant

    Pls save me,save my heart from been shredd into pieces

  14. Hi Akinwale

    Thank you for contacting us, we are sorry to hear about the situation with your husband. If you are seeking assistance from the Department of Home Affairs, please email:hacc@dha.gov.za or phone:0800601190.

    We are an immigration law firm and we can only try to assist you if we have more details about your husband’s situation. Please email immigration@lr-inc.co.za if you wish to use our services.

    Kind Regards,
    The SAVisas Team

  15. A Zimbabwean friend of mine got arrested last Thursday as he was working illegally in South Africa. He had no visa or work permit. What happens next after this? Does it mean he will be deported and banned from entering South Africa? Is there anything I, or anyone can do to avoid deportation?

  16. I AM A CITIZEN OF TWO DIFFERENT COUNTRY WITH THE SAME INFORMATION ON BOTH OF MY PASSPORT , I WAS DEPORTED IN 2010 BECAUSE I OVERSTAYED MY VISA WITH ONE OF MY PASSPORT WHICH REQUIRED VISA TO SOUTH AFRICA BY THEN AND I RECENTLY HAD A NEW NATIONALITY WHICH PASSPORT DOES NOT NEED A VISA TO SOUTH AFRICA . WOULD I BE ABLE TO TRAVEL ON THE NEW PASSPORT TO SOUTH AFRICA WITHOUT FACING ANY IMMIGRATION PROBLEM ? BECAUSE MY NEW NATIONALITY I HAVE NOW WAS THROUGH THE OLD NATIONALITY THAT I USED TO OVERSTAYED MY VISA IN SOUTH AFRICA , AND I TRIED TRAVELING WITH MY OLD NATIONALITY PASSPORT WHICH I WAS DEPORTED ON IN 2010 AND I WAS REFUSE BOARDING THE FLIGHT . AM I GOING TO FACE ANY PROBLEM IF I SHOULD USE MY NEW NATIONALITY PASSPORT ? BECAUSE IT HAS THE SAME NAME AND EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION THE OTHER ONE HAD .

  17. Hi there…my fiance have been deported yesterday from cape town airport following that he has been blacklisted from entering the country as he had sent me money illegally by a courier company. …what can be done to clear his name cos we are suppose to get married in april

  18. Hi Dineo

    Thank you for contacting us. Please email matt@lr-inc.co.za with your contact details and the details of your fiance’s situation and a consultant will get back to you on the matter.

    Kind regards,
    The SAVisas Team

  19. Hi Van Raba

    Thank you for contacting us. We assume that the system will still pick up the overstay ban based on all your details. We suggest you apply for a waiver of the ban if you wish to enter South Africa again. For more information please email matt@lr-inc.co.za.

    Kind regards,
    The SAVisas Team

  20. My accounting client wants to understand the process of what happens to someone who is in SA on a spousal visa (which he couldn’t renew) and him and his wife has now split up. He is now apparently on a deportation order. He owns a business and is trying to sell it before he needs to leave the country. My worry is that the sale of the business may not be concluded and the assets (and future income stream?) may be frozen. I don’t want to give poor advice to either my client or the potential buyer. What pitfalls you foresee and how do you recommend I advice him?

  21. Hi there. My gardener was arrested/detained on Sunday for being an illegal, he is still in jail. Is this allowed or should they have let him go after the 48 hours without warrant of court?

  22. Hi there
    My Malawian gardener has been detained since Sunday., today is Friday. Should he have been let go after 48 hours as there was no warrant of court?

  23. Dear Sir / Madam,
    A friend of mine lost his Asylum papers. He was arrested and detained in a holding cell over the weekend. His papers expired round a bout 12 December 2016. How long grace period is there to have your papers renewed? How can I obtain a copy of his papers whilst he is in the holding cell?
    Can any other legal documents be used to prove that he is not illegal in SA?
    Please advise urgently.
    Thank you for your time!

  24. Hi
    My partner of 2 years is in SA as an illegal immigrant. His permit expired 4 years ago and he never renewed it. He has recently renewed his passort but needs a permit. Can anytging be dine to help him?

  25. Hi my husband is been arrested he went to home affairs to renew his assylum and I go there to ask what happened they told me that they are going to deport him.I’m talking about a bread winner father of my kids.M not working what must i do with my kids?or its wrong to marry a foreigner?they are human being like us pls now my kids must be fatherless is that true

  26. Please ‘ have currently overstayed here in south africa after my 10 days visa expired ‘ November 2016r ‘ please what can i do to remain legally in south africa ?

  27. Please ‘ have currently overstayed here in south africa after my 10 days visa expired ‘ November 2016r ‘ please what can i do to remain legally in south africa ?

  28. My spouse had his id blocked and according to home affairs it says illegal immigrant. In an efford to rectify this I discovered he does not have the requires documentation. Clearly it was obtained illegally.
    As we speak the house is in his name, we have 3 kids together. He has paid lobola.
    Is there a way that you can assist us in resolving this problem without us being separated. Please help

  29. Morning , I’m nomcebo. I was deported on the 2 of December 2016 by home affairs due t the I’D I got before marriage since I was a swazi from Swaziland. Was issued warranty of arrest and detained same time. I’m married in south for 17 years and having a daughter which I got in marriage. I’m was permanent employed by dept of education now I’m not working not seeing my family. I have done my matric n went to university here. I’m having 18 years staying in south africa. My family needs me , I left everything in south africa .was allowed even t take clothes. Please help me t go back to my daughter. She not doing well at school because she is worried by the my deportation. She need my support as a mother.

  30. Hi, so a friend and her husband, who have been in S.A. for 13 years, and have an adopted daughter from S.A., and own a house, have applied for an extension on their visa’s. The husband was given an extension of 2 years, and she has been told she us being deported in 10 days (now 5 days). How does this happen? Why does home affairs break up families? Her lawyer says she must buy an air ticket, go back to Europe, and reapply? Is there any way to help her.

  31. Hello
    My father passed away 2 years ago. We did not receive his death certificate from home affairs because they declared him an illegal immigrant. My father had an ID document that he obtained from the home affairs in 1993. We have a passport that he applied for in 1986, this shows he had an ID before this one we have. He and my mother have a marriage certificate obtained from the home affairs. Now that he’s deceased the home affairs is not able to register his death and tells us we have to provide proof that he’s South African so they can remove that mark. How can the we get help.

  32. Looking for Enoch Talia from Nigeria his got three kids in south African but didn’t hear from him in four years and his son 17 with me is looking for him and all I know is the that his last whereabouts was in Midrand with a lady call Pinky and with a son with him called junior that is about 6 or 7

  33. Hi my dear may I know please tell me if some one had been deported from south Africa so he is banned for how long would you like to give me the information

  34. Hi a friend of mine has been arrested for the passport that is expired his from Swaziland he been arrested in South Africa by home Affairs at Engcobo they kept him in Elliot police station this happened on the 8 June wat will happen to him.

  35. Hi a friend of mine has been arrested for the passport that is expired his from Swaziland he been arrested in South Africa by home Affairs at Engcobo they kept him in Elliot police station this happened on the 8 June wat will happen to him.

  36. Good Day
    My name is Stephen Nyamwanza. I have my young brothers child who was arrested in Polokwane Limpopo for stealing from a shop. The child is an undocumented person who is also married and have two children and breastfeeding. How best can I help her out. The Father my young brother is not concerned and I can add the child has a mental problem. The father and mother are devorced. Mother is now working as a Domestic helper in South Africa the father is a Truck Driver in Tzaneen.

  37. Good day

    How can someone who has been detained and their permit is going to expire while they inside be able to renew their permit. This person is still awaiting a bail hearing and trial. So how can he renew his permit while in prison?

  38. Hi I was in south afreqa from 5 years I get my work parmat there but when I was traveling to my country they cancel my work parmat they said it’s a fake parmat that some one did for me now from Dubai they did not allow me to travel because refeuse of imegration now I want to go to Swaziland so they gona allow me to travel. From my country to there earport for sty in the earport and than same day travel to Swaziland or not pls let me know any one sir

  39. Hi pls advise I am married to a pakistani foreigner 3years now .. he has asked me for my south african passport to apply for a visa… what is the pros & the cons of what I.should be aware off .. and if so I am not sure if my passport is used illegally whom should I contact .. how should I put a stop to this… if so.. as I.heard pakistani marry south african women for the ids only.. anonmous..

  40. Hi my brother is UK Citezen and has served a prison sentence. He is due to be released in September but the home affairs are saying he could go out to a police cell until they decide how to deport him as the flights back to the UK are from Jo Berg and he is in Durban. They have no means to get him to Jo Berg.

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