South Africa

Good news about South African visas

New Home Affairs Minister Leon Schreiber has announced big changes to safeguard skilled workers, tourists, and others affected by visa processing delays at Home Affairs.

In my first act as Minister, Schreiber extended a temporary concession for foreigners living in South Africa, allowing many to stay here until the end of the year.

Long-term visa holders in South Africa have thus been given legal permission to remain in South Africa until 31 December 2024.

Schreiber’s decision comes four days after the expiration of the previously granted extension, which was set to cause havoc for many workers and tourists.

The delay in the announcement had left many in a panicked state, as they feared they would be required to depart South Africa.

Schreiber has committed to avoiding a repeat of the current situation, in which the previous concession expired before the extension was announced.

Any further extension, modification, or amendment to the terms will be communicated in writing before 31 December 2024, the expiry date.

The directive by the Department of Home Affairs introduces several measures which assist with the current South African visa debacle.

Foreign national visa holders with pending waiver applications as of 30 June 2024 will receive a temporary extension until 31 December 2024.

This extension will allow the Department to process their applications, applicants to receive their decisions, and applicants to apply for appropriate visas.

Visa holders who need to travel but are awaiting the outcome of a waiver application can exit and re-enter at a port of entry until 31 December 2024 without being declared undesirable.

Non-visa-exempt applicants who travel out of the country with a waiver application receipt must apply for a port of entry visa.

Long-term visa holders whose applications remain pending as of 30 June 2024 have also been granted temporary extensions until 31 December 2024.

That means foreigners in South Africa for work, business, study, relatives, and accompanying spouses maintain their current visa status.

These foreign nationals are restricted from engaging in activities beyond their visa conditions. They will be allowed to exit and re-enter without being declared undesirable.

Visa holders who have appealed a negative decision on a long-term visa application will also receive a temporary extension until 31 December 2024.

New Home Affairs Minister Leon Schreiber explains

Home Affairs Minister Leon Schreiber

Schreiber explained that without this concession, international tourists and workers who contribute to the South African economy would have been punished.

This extension avoids the situation where people whose documentation expired while they awaited the outcome of Home Affairs processes are harmed.

“This would not only be unfair and irrational but would also discourage investment, tourism and skills transfer,” he said.

“Under the concession I granted today, this situation is averted, and applicants, businesses and other stakeholders are protected.”

The concession protects international tourists and workers while Home Affairs tackles the backlog of visa applications.

“Clearing this backlog is an urgent priority, and I will keep the public updated as we proceed,” Schreiber said.

This announcement followed a day after Schreiber took his oath to serve the people of South Africa as Minister of Home Affairs.

“This department is central to all of our lives, and I will work hard to reform it to serve all South Africans with dignity and diligence,” he said.


Top JSE indices