Temporary Measures Address Backlog Processing Outcomes Owen Magocha
Due to a backlog in processing outcomes on waiver and visa applications, temporary measures have been introduced for foreign nationals.
The Department of Home Affairs for the Republic of South Africa, located at 230 Johannes Ramokhoase Street and Parliamentary Office at 120 Plein Street, has issued a circular regarding temporary measures for foreign nationals due to a backlog in processing waiver and visa applications.
To address the situation, the following measures will apply immediately:
- Long-term visa holders (Work, Business, Study, Relative, and Accompany spouse) who have applied for a waiver and are still awaiting outcomes as of March 31, 2023, will be granted a temporary extension until December 31, 2023, to allow the Department to process their applications and for applicants to collect their outcomes and apply for appropriate visa renewals. If applicants wish to abandon their waiver applications and leave South Africa, they may exit at a port of entry by December 31, 2023, without being declared undesirable, but non-visa-exempted applicants must apply for a visitor's visa to enter the country.
- Long-term visa holders who have applied for visas and are still awaiting outcomes as part of the 62692 visa backlog applications will also be granted a temporary extension until December 31, 2023, to maintain their current visa status. If they wish to abandon their applications and leave the country, they may do so by December 31, 2023, without being declared undesirable. Non-visa-exempted applicants who left the country with a receipt must apply for a visitor's visa to enter the country and await the outcome of their visa extension.
- Short-term visa holders with a visa validity of less than 90 days and who have not received their visa extension outcome by March 31, 2023, must leave the country by April 30, 2023, to avoid being declared undesirable.
These temporary measures apply only to foreign nationals legally admitted into South Africa and who have submitted their applications via VFS on or before March 31, 2023. The Department will communicate any further extension, modification, or amendments to these concessions in writing.
Travel While Waiting for a Permit:
Foreign nationals who have submitted an application for a permit extension can travel outside of South Africa and use their proof of submission receipt to return to the country while waiting for the outcome of their application. This is subject to compliance with the applicable immigration laws and regulations. Non-visa exempted applicants who have traveled out of the country with a receipt as proof of submission are required to apply for a visitor's visa, which will allow them entry into the country to await the outcome of their permit extension.
Applicability of the Temporary Measures:
The temporary measures introduced by the Department of Home Affairs will only apply to foreign nationals who have been legally admitted into South Africa. They are applicable only to applicants who have submitted an application via VFS before or on March 31, 2023. Any further extension, modification, or amendments to the terms of these concessions will be communicated in writing.
The temporary measures are in line with section 30(1)(h) of the Immigration Act, read with regulation 27(3) of the Immigration Regulations.
The backlog in processing outcomes on waiver and visa applications for foreign nationals in South Africa has caused significant challenges for individuals and businesses in the country. The temporary measures introduced by the Department of Home Affairs are designed to provide temporary relief to those affected by the backlog. The Department will continue to monitor the situation and may introduce further measures as needed to address the backlog and improve visa processing times.