Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi has extended the validity period of legally issued temporary visas to September 2021.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Department of Home Affairs confirmed the validity of visas that expired during lockdown will be extended to 30 September both for short-term and for long-term temporary visas.
“Directions communicating these amendments, in line with the national state of disaster regulations, will be gazetted by 30 June,” the department said.
“This means that visas or permits of holders who have not departed South Africa since the announcement of the national state of disaster in March 2020 and arrived with a valid visitor’s visa between December 2019 and 14 March 2021, are deemed to be valid until the end of September 2021.”
Short-term visas are issued for a period not longer than 90 days, such as a tourist visa, while longer-term temporary visas are issued for a period of three months to three years.
The department said that holders of such visas were permitted to remain in the country under the conditions of their visas until the expiry of the extension period.
“Those wishing to be repatriated to their countries in this period can depart without being declared undesirable persons,” it said.
The department, however, said the extension did not apply to people who entered the country from 15 March 2021.
“The normal validity period of visas of people admitted into the country from 15 March 2021 applies.”
Holders of longer-term temporary visas including study visas, treaty visas, business visas, medical treatment visas, relatives’ visas, general work visas, critical skills work visas, retired person’s visas and exchange visas are invited to renew their visas at www.vfsglobal.com/dha/southafrica before 30 September.
The department further said that while refugee reception centres remain closed, the validity of asylum and refugee permits had also been extended to 30 September.
“Asylum seekers and refugees are encouraged to continue renewing their permits via the online platform. As of 25 June 2021, the department had approved the extension of 9,788 Section 24 (refugee status) and 28,249 Section 22 (asylum seeker permits) since the online extension system was activated in April 2021,” the department said.