Tuesday, 30 March 2021

LOCKDOWN : SA EXTENDS VISAS

SOUTH Africa has with immediate effect extended the validity of visas which expired during the lockdown period to June 30 for short-term and July 31 for long-term visas.

In a statement, the neighbouring country’s Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the validity of longer-term temporary visas, those issued for three months to three years, was also extended until July 31.

The life span of short-term visas issued for a period not longer than 90 days, such as a tourist visa has been extended to June 30, 2021.

Minister Motsoaledi said the new order extends the initial validity period to March 31.

“This means that visas that were lawfully issued and expired during the period of the lockdown are deemed to be valid until the end of June 2021 and 31 July 2021,” he said.

“Holders of such visas are permitted to remain in the country under the conditions of their visas until the expiry of their applicable extension”.

Minister Motsoaledi said those wishing to be repatriated to their countries within the said period can depart without being declared undesirable persons.

He said the extension does not apply to people who entered South Africa after March 15.

“The normal validity period of visas of people admitted into the country from 15 March 2021 applies,” he said.

According to South Africa’s department of home affairs, visas are not issued at the country’s ports of entry and airline officials are obliged to insist on visas before allowing passengers to board.

“If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials are obliged to put you onto a flight back to your home country.

“Foreigners with long term status (work permits/permit residence) in the neighbouring countries who transit the Republic to return to their employment or residence are not subject to the transit visa, provided they are in possession of proof of their status,” said the department.

It said South African visitors’ visas may be granted for visits to family or friends and also for tourism purposes, business purposes; spouse to join a spouse who is in South Africa on a work or study visas; children to join parents who are in South Africa on work or study visas; study purposes, among others. Chronicle

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