Image of sad dog over Christmas

Summertime Sadness for expiring visa holders

Waiting for your new visa to be issued?  Previous visa expired? Don’t go home for Christmas.

With the festive season fast approaching, we are often asked whether clients who await issuance of their visas will be allowed to travel to their home countries for the holidays. Due to recent changes to South Africa’s immigration policies, foreign nationals must at all times be in possession of an issued visa. If an applicant’s visa expires while waiting for a new visa to be issued, the foreign national will be in the country illegally from the expiry of the previous visa – regardless of when the new visa application was submitted. One of the consequences of illegality is a complete ban on travel to and from South Africa.

How South African visa expirations worked in the past

In the past the Department of Home Affairs did recognize that applicants should not be penalized for visa applications taking longer than expected. Accordingly, Immigration Directive 43 of 2010 stated that applicants for temporary residency could travel in and out of South Africa if in possession of a visa application receipt. Unfortunately, Directive 43 was withdrawn by Directive 9 of 2014 on 24 May 2014. Foreign nationals not in possession of a visa are no longer able to travel abroad without the risk of being declared undesirable and banned from the country. If a foreign national does not have a visa, he or she does not have a status and is in the country illegally.

Already applied for a new visa

If your visa has expired and you are waiting for your new visa to be issued you will need to stay put until your new visa is issued.

Image of sad dog over Christmas

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, Explore SA, News, Play in SA, Visit SA.

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