Visas extended for foreigners stuck in SA: what you need to know

Visa and permits for foreigners stuck in SA have been extended for three more months.
Visa and permits for foreigners stuck in SA have been extended for three more months.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Foreigners stuck in SA can breathe a sigh of relief as the government has extended the validity period of their visas.

Minister of home affairs Aaron Motsoaledi  gazetted new directives extending the validity of visas or permits to October 31.

Initially, August 1 was the final day for foreign visitors who had been stuck in the lockdown to leave the country or face the risk of being declared “an undesirable” and possibly a ban.

Who the extension applies to

According to Motsoaledi, the extension of the validity of already-extended permits and visas applies to visitors who entered the country after March 15.

“The directions extend the initial validity period from July 31 to October 31. This means that lawfully issued visas, which expired during the lockdown are deemed to be valid until the end of October 2020,” said Motsoaledi.

“Holders of such visas are permitted to remain in the country under the conditions of their visas until the end of October. Those wishing to be repatriated to their countries within this period can depart without being declared undesirable people.”

For refugees, asylum seekers and holders of special Lesotho permits, the extension is automatic, with no application required.

The terms and conditions attached to the visas and permits remain in place, meaning those who were not allowed to seek employment still may not do so.

“A holder of a visa or permit must adhere to the terms and conditions of his or her visa and any activity not endorsed on such visa or permit is prohibited,” said Motsoaledi.

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