May 19, 2022

South Africa Issues Concessions Due to Delays in Long-Term Visa Application Processing

Following the measure implemented by the Department of Home Affairs in January 2022 for all long-term visa applications (for durations of stay 90 days and over) to be adjudicated in Pretoria instead of the South African consular posts, there has been a backlog of applications and significant processing delays due to staff shortages. Following recruitment, it is expected that the additional adjudicators will be able to tackle the backlog before the end of June 2022. However, further concessions may be necessary.

Processing times have increased from the usual four to eight weeks to an expected minimum twelve weeks. As such, employers should take this into consideration when planning the start date for foreign national employees who require a visa prior to commencing work.

For those already in the country with pending waiver and visa applications the Department of Home Affairs will grant them an automatic extension of their status until June 30, 2022 while their applications are adjudicated.

The automatic extension will apply to applicants with pending waiver and visa applications. For applicants with pending waiver applications, if they receive an approval by the 30th of June, they can process to apply for the appropriate visa, if the applicant’s waiver is rejected, they must leave South Africa in order to avoid an overstay. For those with pending visa applications, if they receive an approval by the 30th of June they can continue to reside in the country. If they receive a denial, they can submit an appeal within the set timeframe of leave the country to avoid an overstay.

When it comes to traveling and returning to South Africa prior to June 30th, affected individuals who are visa exempt can re-enter the country by presenting their Visa Facilitation Services receipts. Visa nationals will need to obtain an entry visa to re-enter the country. These visa applications should not be subject to any delays as they continue to be processed at the South African consular posts.

For further information on immigration in South Africa, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over fifteen years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends, and currently serves as a member of the Worldwide ERC (WERC) Immigration Advisory Council.

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