In-country change of status to spousal visa now allowed
VFS in South Africa has been instructed to allow visitors visa holders to change status from within South Africa. In-country change of status will however only be allowed when the visitor wants to change to long-stay visitor visas or to a spousal visa.
[UPDATE – see edit below]
VFS accepts all visa applications in South Africa on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). The instruction came directly from the DHA and was communicated to VFS staff by Kiran Abraham, Deputy General Manager in South Africa.
The changes will take effect immediately.
Previously, visitors had to submit visa change applications from their home countries. This policy, which came into effect in 2014, was hugely controversial.
The decision follows the Cape Town High Court’s decision in Stewart v Department of Home Affairs that visitors should be allowed to apply for other visas from within South Africa in certain circumstances.
Industry insiders have welcomed the move.
Contact SAvisas.com for peace of mind and expert immigration advice.
[Edit 6 January 2017 – VFS now flatly refuses to accept applications from foreign nationals who try to change their status in South Africa from a visitor’s visa to an 11(6) spousal visa or volunteer’s visa . In instances where VFS has [been forced to] accept the application, the Department of Home Affairs has rejected the visa application on the grounds that “The applicant is not allowed to change status from within the country”.
The DHA’s rejection of these applications are clearly unlawful. However, until a court orders the DHA to abide by the Stewart judgment, applicants are not advised to attempt these changes of status from within the country.
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