Retention of South African Citizenship

Overstay Visa South Africa – Must I leave?

Can I apply for a new visa or permit from within South Africa?

A question often posed by our clients is “Can I apply for a new visa or permit from within South Africa?”. For the most part, the answer to this question is “Yes” – although this is rarely possible if the foreigner in question is currently on a visitor’s or medical visa and intends to change over to a new type of visa.

The inconvenient truth

The answer to the above question, however, becomes a resounding “No” in instances where a foreigner does not currently hold a valid visa for one reason or another. Individuals who overstayed their visa in South Africa fall within this category. A foreigner who attempts to submit an application for a new visa from within South Africa, where his/her previous visa has expired, will be met with a swift and merciless letter of rejection from the Department of Home Affairs.

Options available to foreigners

Prior to submission of a visa application, a foreigner may make application to the Department of Home Affairs requesting authorisation to submit the visa application from within South Africa. This option is only available to foreigners who can prove that they did not submit an application prior to the expiry of their previous visa for reasons beyond their control.

This avenue is not available to the majority of foreigners and the only option left open to these persons is to return to their country of origin and submit a fresh application. Naturally, these foreigners will be declared undesirable and banned upon departing South Africa as a result of having overstayed their visa. It follows that a foreigner will not be able to submit a new visa application in his/her country of origin until the ban and undesirable status are overturned.

For more information on how to overturn a declaration of undesirability and rectify and overstayed visa in South Africa, be sure to contact our offices.

Retention of South African Citizenship

Speak to a professional

Contact Le Roux Attorneys, South African Visa specialists about your visa application. Start by selecting one of the enquiry options below

Posted in blog, Legal Advice, Live In SA and tagged , , , .


  1. Hi Dipo

    Unfortunately, the penalties can be either a minimum of a 5 year ban or being prohibited entry into South Africa indefinitely. This would be at the discretion of the immigration official that interviews you upon your voluntary exit from South Africa, and would be dependant on the reason provided for overstaying the visa. If you would like more information please email

    Kind Regards,

  2. Hi Wes

    Thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately, when you leave the country you will be issued a ban. This ban can then be overturned if you appeal the matter by stating your reason for overstaying. If you would like further assistance with this please email an outline of your situation and your reason for overstaying your visa to

    Kind regards,
    The SAVisas Team

  3. I applied an extention of my tourist visa a week after my arrival and still waiting for the result. My original visa expires soon and i need to leave a couple weeks after the current visa expires. Can i leave the country without knowing the result?

  4. Hi Joe

    We would highly recommend that you do not overstay your current visa, if you travel out of SA with an expired visa you can receive a ban for a period of up to five years. Although you have applied for the extension, if you do not get a response before your current visa expires, you will need to leave the country. For further assistance please email

    Kindest regards,
    The SAVisas Team

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