How to Extend Your South Africa Tourist Visa in 13 Steps

Get the step-by-step instructions for how to extend your South Africa tourist visa, then see our local Cape Town travel blog, Garden Route guide, and “Hectic Route” Joburg to Cape Town Itinerary for ideas on how to get the most out of your extra 90 days in this amazing country.

Tilt the Odds in Your Favor


Based on all the contradictory online reports about how to extend your South Africa tourist visa, it seems like a crapshoot whether applications get accepted, rejection, or something in between.

Kim and I don’t like crapshoots.

We can’t afford to gamble either, so we went to the Visa Facilitation Services (VFS)* offices to get some answers.

Amazingly, we got some!

A surprisingly honest and helpful VFS agent assured us that if we follow the steps he advised, our South Africa tourist visa extension application would be accepted.

Guaranteed. No crapshoot!

And guess what. It worked! We just got approved for an extra 90 days!

Here are the exact steps we followed. Nothing is ever 100% certain, but these tips for how to extend your South Africa visitors permit should at least tilt the odds heavily in your favor.

*VFS is the company to which the South African Department of Homeland Affairs (DHA) outsourced the visa extension process.

13 Steps to Extend Your South Africa Tourist Visa

1. Go to the VFS online application page

2. Fill out the form and click “Submit”

As shown in the screenshot below select “Temporary Residence Visa,” “TRV – Renewal Visa,” “Visitors Visa Section 11(1),” and the city you’d like to apply in.

Screenshot of online South Africa tourist visa extension

3. Create your account

Follow the steps by providing your email, confirming it, then setting a password.

4. Fill out the fields in the “Particulars of applicant” and “Visa details” tabs

passport info screenshot
more application info screenshot
South Africa passport stamp screenshot
Get the info for the “Visa Details” tab from your passport stamps.
  • Get the entry and expiry dates from the stamps on your passport.
  • For “Visa No.”, use the little number under the date on your entry stamp.
  • You can’t leave the “Details of any subsequent visa issued to you, or the most recent thereof” section blank, so in those fields input the same data as in the preceding “Visa details section.”

5. In the “Overview” tab click “Submit’

You’ll be warned that once you click “Submit” you can no longer change the information.

If you make a mistake, though, it’s not the end of the world. Just log in again (here) and create a new application—i.e. repeat Step 4—under your same account.

6. Add applicants as necessary

If you are traveling with friends or family members, click “Add Applicant” in the summary screen (the one shown under Step 7 below).

You’ll have to repeat Step 4 for each new applicant, but then you can pay and schedule your appointments together.

7. Pay R1,775 per person

Schedule visa screen

You can’t schedule an appointment until you pay and you can pay with a credit card.

Save and print the payment confirmation that you will receive via email. You’ll need it for your appointment.

8. Schedule Your Appointment


As you can see from the screenshot above availability was not an issue in our case.

Important tip: Pick an appointment as early in the day as possible because the later your appointment is, the bigger the likelihood there will be a backlog ahead of you.

9. Save the Appointment Letter and Application forms

Click the “Appointment Letter” and “Download Form and Checklist” links to open and print these documents for your appointment.

10. Print off all 10 items in this checklist

Each person applying to extend their visitor’s permit needs items 2-9 separately. For example, if you paid for two applications at the same time you’ll need two copies of that receipt, one for each person’s application.

  1. Your appointment letter
    • From Step 9. You should get it in your email too. It’s password-protected with your login password from Step 3.
  2. Application form
    • From Step 9 or log in and, in the table you’ll see on your screen, click the “Print” link
  3. Proof of payment of the 1,775 rands each
    • The email receipt you’ll receive if you pay with a credit card.
  4. 3 months of bank statements
    • They just want to see the totals. You don’t need to print all the transactions.
    • If your bank balances are low, Ruby commented that you can supplement with wage advance slips, invoices you’ve sent for work, proof of credit card limits and letters from hosts in SA/family members who are willing to financially support you.
  5. Letter of why you want to extend
    • The VFS staffer we talked to told us to keep it very brief.
    • Here is exactly what we wrote:
      • To Whom It May Concern, We wish to extend our visitors permits in order to remain in South Africa until April 30, 2019 because we would like to have more time to visit more parts of your country while it is summer here and winter where we are from (Canada). Thank you for welcoming us in your amazing country! Best Regards, Kim and Chris
  6. [If applicable to you:] Letter to apologize for not submitting within 30 days of arrival in South Africa
    • Again, keep it short.
    • Here’s exactly what we wrote:
      • We apologize for our delay in submitting our application to renew our Visitors Permit, which we should have submitted before December, in other words within 30 days of our arrival in South Africa on November 1, 2018. During the time we should have extended our permit, we were doing a road trip across the country and by the time we returned to Cape Town, the offices were closed for the holidays. We sincerely apologize for our transgression and request you please be understanding of our situation.
  7. Return flight ticket
    • The date should be within the extra 90 days you’re applying for.
    • If you don’t have one yet, buy a ticket on Expedia, save the ticket, then cancel it within 24 hours for a full refund. Visatraveler.com has complete instructions.
  8. Copy of your passport bio page
    • Ensure it doesn’t expire before the date you’re extending to.
  9. Copy of your passport stamp
  10. [NOT OFFICIAL REQUIREMENT, BUT READER REPORTED] Proof of accommodation
    • A couple of people have shared in the comments below that everyone without this was sent away. An email from a friend she’s staying with was enough in one person’s case. Ideally, have a utility bill or something with the host’s name and address as proof of their identity, too. Another reader, Myf, commented that in Durban they asked for a copy of the host’s SA ID, so you might want to have that ready, just in case.
  11. (For parents:) A copy of your child’s birth certificate and a letter explaining your you are financially responsible for your child.
    • Also be mindful that your need separate copies of all the previous 10 documents for each child.

11. Go to your appointment to submit your application

Kim waiting to submit her application to extend her South African travel visa
  • Here are the addresses of the VFS office locations across South Africa
  • You don’t have to be right on time, but don’t be too late. Our 12:45 appointment started about 20 minutes later than scheduled.
  • Count on it to take just over an hour in total to go through the three steps of the appointment:
    1. Quality control: An agent checks your documents are in order
    2. Submission: Another agent officially submits your visitor permit extension application
    3. Biometrics: They take your photo and fingerprints
  • Keep your application receipt in your passport. You’ll need it when you return to pick up your visa (Step 13).

12. Wait

This is the horrible overflow waiting room at the VFS offices.

The VFS agent and website told us to expect to wait 8 to 10 weeks to get the final word on whether our visa extension application would be accepted or not, but in our case it took only 3 weeks.

Over that period, we received seven automated emails from VFS updating us on the status of our applications.

Screenshot of the 7 emails we got from VFS while awaiting word on whether our South Africa visa extension application would be approved.
The emails we got from VFS. As you can see, it only took 3 weeks.
The final email telling us the response to our application from the VFS office was ready for us to come pick up.

Tip

If you’re facing delays or challenges, send a direct message on Twitter or Instagram to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. They’ll respond with an email address of someone who can help you with an update.

Thanks to Jana from the comments, who deals with extending visas for international volunteers, for this tip!

13. Pick up the verdict

Waiting (im-)patiently for our number to be called.

The emails you get don’t tell you whether your application was accepted or not, so the journey to the VFS office to get the verdict is a nervous one.

Don’t make it worse by having to wait forever. Get to the VFS as early as possible to avoid huge lines. Also, make sure you have your receipt from Step 11 or you won’t be allowed upstairs.

In Cape Town, pickups start at 10 a.m., so we came at 9:45 and were fifteenth in line. For some reason, the agents didn’t actually show up until 10:40. From then, we waited another 50 minutes until our number was called, so altogether we waited for 1h45min.

It was worth it, though, because we got the good news that our visa extension application was accepted!

The agent stuck the extension approval to our passports and we were free to leave and enjoy South Africa for a full 180 days.

By the time we left the VFS offices, the waiting list to pick up was at least sixty people deep. Like we said, go early.

Cape Town Tip:

For a pick-me-up, a celebration, or just to kill time, stop by a cafe/restaurant called Brownies and Downies. It’s just around the corner from the VFS offices and one of our picks for the 23 Best Cape Town Restaurants for 23 Unique Occasions.

Important Things to Know

What happens if I don’t bother with all this mess, and overstay my visa?

You’ll be declared an “undesirable person” and banned from returning to South Africa for anywhere from 1 to 5 years.

Can I just do a visa run instead?

There is no official word on whether, or in what circumstances, you can get a fresh 90-day visa by leaving South Africa and returning again.

Here’s what we’ve seen in practice:

Doing an overland visa run to neighboring countries won’t work.

Unless you get lucky and get a generous or unobservant immigration agent at the border crossing, you may only get a couple of days to leave South Africa or not be allowed back in at all.

[Jan 2021 Update:] Kim and I got lucky. On returning from a five-day trip in Namibia on January 2, the immigration agent initially gave us only an additional five days to our visitor’s permit. But we asked if she could extend it an extra 30 days, to the date of our flight, and she gave it to us. Her supervisor was there and had zero issue with it.

Flying to non-neighboring countries does work.

For example, we flew to Rwanda for a week and got a fresh 90 days upon our return to Cape Town airport, no questions asked. If you fly outside of Africa for your visa run you’re just about guaranteed to get a new 90 days. People we know have repeated this every three months for years without issue.

The DHA and VFS say I have to apply for an extension within my first 30 days of arriving in South Africa. What if I apply later?

You can still extend your visa.

In fact, the insider VFS agent we talked to told us that DHA agents who receive applications have a bad habit of extending visas 90 days from the extension date, not the expiry date. So if they receive your application a month before your initial 90-day visa expires, your newly extended visa may expire a month sooner than the 180 days you had hoped for.

Not ideal.

But if you wait until towards the end of your initial 90-day visa to extend, as we’ve done, you face the risk of not getting your verdict until after your initial 90 days have expired. This isn’t an issue so long as your extension is approved. (See next question.) But if it’s rejected you will have overstayed you will need to appeal, which can take 2-to-3 months. If your appeal is rejected or if you need to leave before you hear back from your appeal, you will be banned from returning to South Africa for up to 5 years.

So it’s a trade-off. Do you want to extend early and risk the DHA agent screwing up and not giving you the full 180 days? Or do you want to extend later and risk being rejected and banned?

What if my initial 90-day visa expires while I’m waiting on the response to my application?

According to the VFS staffer, your tourist visa extension application receipt from Step 11 counts as a temporary visa extension.

You can’t leave and re-enter South Africa during this period, so if you want your full 180 days in South Africa but also want to explore neighboring countries, don’t plan on doing any international travel during the 8-10 weeks it can take for the DHA to receive and respond to your tourist visa extension.

What if my 90-day visa expires while I’m waiting on the response to my application and they deny my extension?

You have two choices.

  1. Appeal within 10 days of your visa expiry. It can take 2-3 months to get a verdict on your appeal
  2. Leave and be banned. The DHA says you’ll have 10 days to leave the country without penalty, but that’s not the reality. You’ll be banned from returning for up to 5 years.

The latter happened to an unfortunate fellow reader, T. The DHA stupidly rejected T for having insufficient funds because they misread his bank statements as being in rands, not euros. T couldn’t stay an extra 2-to-3 months to appeal, so he went through all possible lengths to see if he could still leave within 10 days without being banned. He talked to lawyers, the DHA, and the VFS. No luck. He ultimately was banned from returning to South Africa for 5 years.

Click here to read T’s the full story in the comments.

I’m from [whatever country]. How many days can I stay in South Africa without needing to extend my tourist visa?

Some nationalities only get a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival. Check the official DHA site.

You didn’t answer my question. Now what?

Ask us in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer and update the post accordingly. Please look through the comments to see if your question hasn’t been asked already.

What to Do While You’re Waiting…
(Or Once You’re Extended!)

Kim and I only moonlight as pro-bono immigration advisors.

Our real “job” is to share ideas for extraordinary experiences that will hopefully help you escape the ordinary.


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Giraffe on a safari in Etosha, Namibia

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389 thoughts on “How to Extend Your South Africa Tourist Visa in 13 Steps”

  1. Thank you so much for this! Do you know if applying for this jeopardizes your chances of getting another 90 days in the future? For example, if I apply for the extension and get the maximum of 180 days. Then I return to my home country (USA), if I decide to come back to SA this year, will there be an issue getting the 90 day tourist stamp again?

    Reply
    • Good question Cathy. I tried getting an answer because I may want to do the same thing, but couldn’t find an answer. The DHA site is currently down and their phone number doesn’t work either, so I emailed them. If and when they get back to me, I’ll share their answer here.

      Reply
    • Hi Cathy,
      I’ve had clients get the full 90 day extension (so 180 days in total), return home when it expired and return to get a new full 90 days in the same year. As long as you don’t try to re-enter on a current visa, and get 90 days on top of that, I believe you should be all good.

      Reply
  2. Hi there,

    Thanks so much for your tutorial! 🙂
    Question. Do I understand correctly that it’s recommendable to plan your appointment (step 11) close to the expiry date of your initial 90 days permit, since the receipt you get can be used as a temporary visa until you get an official approval of your extension? In other words, as long as you manage to make an appointment before the expiry date, you’re good?

    Best regards
    Sarah

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, Yes, correct. You don’t have to push it to the very last day, though. The agent we talked to recommended we do it towards the beginning of our third month. We didn’t ask why not even later, like you say, but maybe pushing it like that puts you at risk of annoying a DHA agent for really flouting their “rule” that you apply for extension within 60 days before expiry. I’m just speculating, though.

      Reply
      • Thanks for taking the time to advise!
        I will do just that. If all fails then the only risk is an overstay of a month, resulting in a one year ban which I will survive I guess.

        Happy travels!
        Sarah

        Reply
  3. Wow, this definitely helps us in applying for an extension!
    Just 2 small questions:
    1. If you apply within 30 days, I assume you don’t need such apology letter?
    2. Is it correct that you will have your passport whilst waiting for 8-10 weeks on the DHA? Or do you have to hand it in during this period?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Hi Emily,
      1. Yeah, no need to apologize if you don’t break their rule.
      2. They only take a photocopy of your passport, not the passport itself.
      Hopefully your extension goes as well as ours did. Enjoy SA.

      Reply
  4. Thanks for the information

    I have been waiting for outcome of my wife visa extension application . It’s been exact 2 months from application submitted at VFS. Now we need to leave in a month as my visa is expiring.What options could we exercise for my wife s visa as the same is expired now I.e. 90 days

    Reply
    • Hi Pardeep, They tell you it can take up to 10 weeks before you hear back, so I suspect you’ll hear back on your wife’s application within the next two weeks. You or she have been getting the emails tracking her application’s progress, no? If 10 weeks pass and you don’t hear anything, definitely contact VFS.

      Reply
  5. Hi! I have a problem that is slightly different than the one treated above. Nevertheless, I hope you can help me out! I will be going to South Africa in a few weeks in order to study in Pretoria for one semester. However, I would like to extend my stay in South Africa with two months after I have finished my semester. In other words, I would like to change my study visa into a tourist visa. Do you maybe know what is the best way to handle this? Can I for example go to another non-neighboring country and return after a few days and get a tourist visa? Or should I try to apply for a tourist visa while I am in South Africa under my study visa?
    (Btw, I have a Dutch passport)
    I hope you can help me out!

    Reply
    • Hey Jannie, Sorry, I have no idea. Ask the immigration agent when you get in. They’ll probably know. Who knows, maybe they can extend your visa then and there (…ok probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.) Speaking of ask, if you find the right person at your school in Pretoria I’m sure they know. And when you get the answer, please share it here for future readers in similar situations.

      Reply
  6. Hey guys!

    Thanks a lot for this helpful step-by-step plan, really helpful!

    I was wondering if you do the application on the beginning of your third month and you only get the outcome 7 weeks later, you are good with this temporarily visa extension permit if it get’s approved, but what happens if it is denied. How many days do you have then to still legally leave the country without being banned?

    Thanks again for the info!

    Reply
    • Good question, Gust. When we picked up our extensions at VFS, the guy in front of us got denied. Poor guy. I overheard the VFS agent tell him he had 7 days to leave the country. I’d take 7 days as a best-case scenario, though.

      Reply
  7. Hi there!

    Thank you so much for this helpful guide!

    I’m also travelling from Canada and applying for the visa renewal later than the 30-day window (I decided I wanted to stay longer to explore more of SA quite late). Regarding the apology letter, I was wondering if there were any “unacceptable” (or other acceptable) reasons for the late application that you know of.

    Thanks again for all your help?

    Reply
    • Hey Justine. The DHA says you “must” apply within the 30-day window and doesn’t list any acceptable excuses. Your is a good one though. “Sorry for not applying earlier. I thought I was going elsewhere but there’s so much more to see here in SA that I’m scratching those plans and staying here. Please let me stay.”

      Reply
  8. Hi Guys,

    Quick question, I was in SA for 2,5 weeks in April/May. When I returned in June the guy at Border Control told me I can only stay till July 28, 2019. I didn’t get a new 90 days visa, so I immediately applied for a extension. I only need an extension till August 20, what if I haven’t heard back from VFS before my flight back? Can I just leave and show them the receipt?

    Regards,

    Niels

    Reply
    • Hi Niels, I don’t know the answer. If you want to be sure not to be banned from returning for a year or more, you should probably follow up sometime in early/mid July. Fingers crossed that you’ll get your approval before then, though.

      Reply
  9. Hi Guys,my uncle is visiting South Africa and suddenly got sick and had to go for surgery.how do i apply for extension without him been present

    Reply
    • Hi Claudia. Oof, I’m sorry to hear about your uncle. Terrible. And I’m sorry that I don’t have a good answer for you. All I can suggest is A) Go to the VFS office and ask on his behalf and B) Consider not extending? If your uncle doesn’t extend, he’ll be banned from returning for a while, but if it’s a one-time trip to SA maybe that’s not a big deal. I’d like to think the South African embassy back at his country might even have some leniency given his situation. All the best to you and your uncle.

      Reply
  10. Hi, thanks for the information. I don’t like crapshoots either, so this is encouraging! You may or may not have insight into this question, but I’m preparing to head out to South Africa and hoping to get the extension and be there 6 months. Regarding flights, do I basically have to book my return date for within the original 90 days, even though I hope to extend and would have to change that? I’m worried that if my round trip is outside the bounds of the initial 90 days I might get into trouble at the airport, but I’d love to avoid the fees in changing it.

    Reply
    • Hi Ryann, nobody asked us for departure flights when we arrived in Cape Town. We didn’t have any in any case. We just told them we’re visiting for three months. Worst case scenario, they force you to get a flight and you get something on Expedia that you can cancel for free within 24 hours.

      Reply
  11. Hi guys hope I can get clear advice what can I do
    I’ve been applying my visa xtension last July 03,2019
    and I feel worry if I get my xtension or not my departure is on July 24,2019
    my application is still at DHA as used to track thank you so much

    Reply
    • Hi Ginalyn. If you only applied on July 3, it’s unlikely you’ll hear back by the time you leave on July 24. As we wrote above, we were lucky that it only took three weeks (which would just get it in time for you), but the DHA says it can take 8-10. You could go to VFS to ask what they advise you do in your situation. I fear you won’t get it on time and you’ll be at the mercy of the immigration agent when you leave the country.

      Reply
      • Hi Chris & Kim. Thanks for putting together such a useful set of instructions! I followed them and I have just received my 90 day tourist visa extension. My girlfriend and I also used your ‘The Hectic Route’ guide to plan a Joburg to Cape Town road trip we did in November last year, so we’re both really grateful for your awesome blog!

        I have some questions about my options for staying in SA for more than 180 days, and I’m hoping you, or any of your readers, may be able to help. I’ve included a quick version, and a slightly longer more detailed version below for anybody who has the time 🙂

        Reply
  12. Thank you for this information. I have been weighing the options between doing this all myself and paying a company to handle it for me. The only thing is, these companies charge 3500 rand per person before the VSF fee! From your experience, how DIY is this process? Thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • Hey Tyler. The process of filling out the forms and preparing the documents is simple, especially if you follow this post. The worst parts are 1) The hassle of having to go to VFS and 2) The uncertainty. If the company you hire can go to VFS for you (which I doubt) or can guarantee you’ll be approved (only slightly less likely) they might be worth it. Or if you’re loaded, why not. Otherwise, do it yourself and spend that R3,500 on something more fun like a celebratory gourmet meal and wine!

      Reply
  13. Hi there, great article thank you! I see on the visitor’s visa section of the VFS SA website you require a radiological report and a medical report.
    Did you need this or did you just need the documents below the heading “Visitors Visa – Renewal”? Thanks!!

    Reply
    • You need the documents below the heading “Visitors Visa – Renewal”

      You dont need medical report for holiday visa extention.

      Reply
  14. Hi, thanks a lot for this helpful information,

    I followed the above steps, i got 3 months holiday visa extention. It took me about 4 weeks.

    I want to know if i can apply another extention

    Thank you so much

    Reply
    • Hi Ahmed, You can spend a max of 180 days per calendar year in SA. Unfortunately like you I’m also not clear on whether you can, for example, stay the last 90 days of one calendar year, then the next 180 days of the following year. Nobody I’ve reached out to has been helpful with this. If you find this out, please let us all know.

      Reply
      • this isnt right. You can enter and leave SA and renew your visa several times in one year. I have friends who have been here years doing that. It is not a case of you can only stay for 180 days per year.

        Reply
        • Robbie’s right. You can fly in and out of non-neighboring countries every 90 days and otherwise stay in South Africa indefinitely. Many foreigners do that here. They get away with it because the immigration system isn’t designed to catch this. If an agent were to check stamps on other pages, they could turn you away for exceeding the 180 day limit.

          For that reason you cannot extend your visa through VFS multiple consecutive times. They’ll see you’re exceeding 180 days and turn you down. You have to fly to get around it.

          Reply
  15. Hi! Thanks for your nice page. The info is very good. Also the comments are very helpful. I was just wondering what would happen if my extension is denied and nevertheless stay in the country for an extra 3 months. Perhaps you have any info regarding this question?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey Jeff. You’ll be declared an “undesirable person” and banned from returning to South Africa for anywhere from 1 year (if you overstay for 30 days or less) to 5 years (if you overstay for more than 30 days).

      Reply
  16. Hi, according to the VFS website it says you need medical and radiological reports to extend a tourist visa. Did you have to get these?

    Reply
  17. Hey Chris,

    I visited my very good friend who lives in South Africa last year and now I’m planning to return there again.

    This time I want to apply for a 90days tourist visa however, I don’t have a concrete itinerary. We’re very spontaneous but I’m worried it could be an issue and SA embassy wouldn’t approve my 90 days tourist visa.

    Any advice?

    Reply
    • Hey Nikola, Sorry, but my experience is only with extending existing tourism permits, not on getting them, especially since I’m lucky to get one on entry with my Canadian/Swiss citizenship. Best of luck to you.

      Reply
  18. Thank you for this great guide. Really impressed how well its done and all information is well compiled and displayed!
    I also deal with international volunteers and had a similar guide on a word dodument, but yours is much more detailed. Often I find people struggle with the VFA forms. So thanks a lot for the screenshots.
    Will definitely recommend your site.
    Just additional points:
    1 – Change of visa in south Africa is not permitted, you have to go back to your home country to do that (question above to change from study to tourist visa) – only exception is for spousal visa as this was challenged in court.
    2- Tipp if there is any challenges/ delays: send a direct message to the minister of Home affairs on Twitter or Instagram. You will receive a response with an email address that you can check with for an update. They ususally respond quite fast.

    Reply
  19. Hello!

    Many thanks for this guide it is super helpful!
    I’m applying for an extension myself at the moment but I’ve got some concerns:

    I’m staying in SA for a PhD stay at the University of Cape Town for 3 months, so that worked with the Tourist Visa of 90 days. However, due to some miscalculations I have my return flight at day 92 of my stay; hence, me applying for the visa extension since I don’t want to have a ban to enter the country in case I want to come back. My question is if I should state that the purpose of my extension is only for “Tourism” or a “Research stay”? Given that I’ll be leaving only two days after my visa extension and that could seem counterintuitive…

    Reply
    • Hey Marina. Ouch, sorry to hear you have to go through this rigamarole just for 2 days. If you came on a tourist visa, definitely say the purpose of the extension is to tourism. Saying “research” risks raising flags/confusion. All the best with it!

      Reply
  20. Hi guys thank you so much for the information provided on your blog, I m from the democratic Republic of congo, currently in South Africa Johannesburg for holiday purpose I entered South Africa last week, but I was granted 30 days stays only, I wonder if this type of visitor visa can be extended as I would like to stay for another month , any advices will be much appreciated, thanks

    Reply
    • Hey George. Sorry, but I don’t know. I fear that since they can take more than 30 days just to respond, 60 days even, it wouldn’t be a possibility. If you can’t find the answer anywhere online, it’d be worth stopping by VFS offices to ask. Good luck!

      Reply
    • Hi,

      Thanks so much for this blog post. It’s been super helpful and informative. I have a question about the ticket leaving SA. Would I show them a ticket out of the country for the original date in my passport or for my new desired departure date?

      Reply
      • Thank you! We put our address in the United States and they seemed to accept it! Still waiting to hear about whether we get an extension. Btw, we went to the one in Johannesburg, so maybe it depends on which one you go to (Re: Rosalind’s comment about it having to be the address in South Africa).

        Reply
    • Hi, this is a good question and one which we have just faced doing the wrong thing on the application. We put our UK address, and in Port Elizabeth they said we had to log in again and change it to where we were staying in South Africa. It is confusing as the application form just says address, but you’ll notice when you print out the application form that that field is labelled: Address in the Republic (South Africa). So, it’s better to just put where you are staying in SA to save you the hassle and inconvenience of having to do a new application. We were very lucky to get a sympathetic VFS worker, who changed it for us.

      I hope this helps 🙂

      Reply
  21. Hi there chris and kim. Thank you for such an informative page. I have a query. My parents are going to extend their visitors visa on Thursday 30th october. Their visa expires on the 22nd November. Once they get a receipt can they stay until they get a response or must they leave by the 22nd november? They have already changed their return ticket to february 2020….

    Reply
    • Hey Aliya. They can stay. If, for some unfortunate reason, their extension application is denied, they’d then have a certain number of days (sorry but I don’t know how much. Not many) to leave the country. Good luck to you and your parents!

      Reply
      • Hi chris and kim. Am so happy to let you know that my parents’ visa came through. Thank you again for putting such a comprehensive guide to applying for this visa. We would have been lost without it. Please dont ever take this page down. Best wishes to you guys.

        Reply
  22. Hi Chris & Kim!

    First of all; how amazing that you guys made it work with your extension! I hope you both had the loveliest of times in SA <3 Thanks so so much for this post, it's super duper helpful. I do have one question though, been scrolling through the other comments but couldn't find it.

    Was this your first time going to SA? The reason I'm asking is because I've been here for a year in total on a different visa that expired on the 1st of Oct. So I've been in my home country the month of October and I'm back here in SA now on a tourist visa, that I'd like to extend. But I guess they can see that I've been here over the past 12 months 😉 It seems so easy the way you guys write it down but I'm stressing my ass off haha. Thanks so much in advance for your answer, have a great day!

    Reply
    • Thanks T. Yeah, we had such a lovely time in SA that we just came back for more (and likely for another visa extension in a few months… ugh). And yes, it was our first time.
      If you’re in SA already on a 90-day tourist visa, you should be ok since your extension would start in 2020, when you’d be entitled to a new 180 days without any tax or residency issues. I’m no immigration expert, but that’s my take, at least. I hope it helps and works out for you!

      Reply
  23. Thank you so much for your tutorial! After reading so many forums about failed attempts I’m relieved to find some hope in here haha. I wanted to know when exactly did you apply in your last month? Was it like 30 days before your expiry date or like 2 weeks? And was your visa granted from the expiry date or from the day you applied?

    I’m asking because my visa expires on Jan 27th and my flight back home is on April 7th. So ideally I would like to apply on January 7th (that way I’ll be fine even if they give me an extension from the day I applied). But I’m afraid applying 20 days before the expiry date is too late? Since I’ll ignore the 60 days rule anyway does it make a difference if I apply 30 or 20 days before the visa expires?

    Reply
    • Hey Julia. If I remember correctly, it was something like 25 days before our expiry date that we applied for the extension. And they gave the full 90 days from the date of expiry, not the application date.
      For your case, I’d apply whenever convenient after the holidays. 30 vs 20 days shouldn’t make a difference. And the “application date” would be the date your application gets to the DHA agent, not the day you apply to VFS, so at least a couple of weeks after.

      Reply
  24. Hi Chris,
    Did you both receive your final outcome emails at the same time? My husband and I applied together. We got two emails today saying that he would receive his outcome in one business day, but we have received nothing for me.

    Reply
  25. Hey Chris,
    Your report is literally perfect! Thank you. I am here in SA for a week now and also want to renewal my visa for further 90 days. One more question:
    When I pay the application fee, I can chose an appointment right? How is the availability of the appointments? Few days or could it also be a few weeks? Thank you.

    Reply
  26. Hi,
    I need your guidance in my case. I have applied for extension of my BV11.2 and application is currently in DHA. My current visa is expiring on 07Dec2019. I am ready to wait for the outcome of my application.
    My concern is what if i get my visa outcome after my visa has expired and the out come is Visa Rejected. Will i get some days to travel out of South Africa to my home country or i will definitely get the overstay ban.

    Reply
  27. Hello!

    I wanted to thank you for this page – as someone who really struggles with bureaucracy I found it so, so helpful and I’m happy to say that by following these instructions I have been able to extend my visitor’s visa for an extra 90 days!

    The main thing that differed to the above is that I had to provide some proof of an address in South Africa. Although I provided an invoice for accommodation and hoped for the best (the VFS person gave me time to run to the nearest PostNet and get it printed), she initially wanted proof of my host’s ID, utility bank statement, and a written / signed statement that I was staying with her. It’s not mentioned anywhere on the VFS checklist for a visitor’s visas, but it was still something that was seemingly required (at least in my case).

    Another thing: a VFS staff member told me is that, if you are applying for your extension within your first 90 days (the maximum length for me as a UK citizen), you are allowed to leave the country when waiting for the decision as long as you return during that timeframe (i.e. the first 90 days). I think the problem lies in situations where you return once your first visitor’s visa has expired. I would not take this as sacrosanct, but it might be worth double checking with VFS, especially if you plan to visit different countries during your stay but will be returning to SA during the time your first visa is still valid.

    Of course, I’m not too sure if the VFS expect or require you to collect your visa outcome within a specific time period, once they have made a decision.

    One more thing: I found that even though I submitted my application just after the first 30 days, I still received the full additional 90 days I requested (similar to you, it took just over 3 weeks for a decision to be made. That was a huge relief!

    Finally: your advice about getting to the VFS office as early in the day as possible (at least for Cape Town) to collect your result couldn’t be more accurate. Initially, the receptionist in the main lobby (nothing to do with the visa collection itself) wouldn’t let anybody sign in until 10am (the time you’re allowed to begin collections; his colleague decided otherwise). Luckily I was third in the queue at the actual VFS collection point; nobody arrived to begin the process until 30 minutes after the official collection time began, and at that point, the room was completely packed with people standing. I honestly think I would have been there for a few hours had I not turned up at 9.30 or so.

    Anyway, thank you again, so much! Really appreciate the advice given here :)(and the screenshots).

    Reply
    • Our absolute pleasure, Sarah. We’re glad you found these steps helpful and thanks to you for your own research and insights into this messy process. I’m comforted to hear that you got the full 90 days when you applied in your first 30 days. Maybe—hopefully—they’ve addressed that issue of extending too early.

      Very curious about the address. What would people who are moving around the whole time be expected to do?

      And yes, as long as your initial 90 days haven’t expired you can leave and enter the country as much as you’d like. It’s only when your 90 days are up and you’re awaiting your “verdict” can you not leave.

      Thanks again Sarah. Enjoy the summer down here!

      Reply
      • Hello,

        Regarding the accommodation, I’m not entirely sure what people would do if they were traveling around. I was so surprised to be asked for proof of address, any rational questions went out of my head! Although she did want to know if I was staying in a guest house, B&B, AirBnB etc.

        Perhaps her response would have been different if I told her I was traveling around.

        But given it wasn’t on the checklist, I’m half tempted to assume she mistook me for a student (I think proof of address is needed in that circumstance).

        I think it’ll always remain a mystery – but still, super happy it all worked out!

        Reply
  28. Hi, i have a multiple entry visa of South Africa and it’s gonna expire on the 20th of January. And right now, my application for visa extension is on process. It’s gonna be out by around 1st week of January. Would the visa extension application get cancelled once I leave the country? Thank you!

    Reply
  29. Hi!

    I need some advice 🙂 i am here with my partner and son of 3 years old. We want to do the tourist extension of three months. It expires on the 28th of January. Do you recommend to apply for it now? Before the 19th of december? After that they close. Or would you suggest to wait when they open again thats on the 6th of January? But thats gonna be short from the 6th till the 28 of january (expiring date)

    Can I not leave just 1 day before the expiring date 28th or january to Mozambique or any african country and wait for the outcome of the visa? Then I go back to South Africa come in and tell them that I am going to fetch my visa extension: your allowed anyway 7 day back in the country?

    Yes you get creative of this system. Haha please let me know! Lovely regards

    Reply
    • Hi Amanda, If I were in your case, I’d apply now. That way, you’d hopefully hear earlier (doubtful, though because of the holiday) and avoid your crazy… I mean creative!… scheme, haha.

      If I were in your position, I wouldn’t risk leaving the country and trying to return to pick up your verdict (which you don’t know is positive or negative until you go to VFS to pick it up). The agent could deny you entry in SA entirely, for example. But if you’re desperate, I wish you luck. Please let us know how it goes.

      Reply
    • No. All I know is security required that slip for our appointment and wasn’t letting us through without it, so you’ll probably have to make another visit to VFS (or at least extra early the day of the appointment) to talk to the front desk there and see what the solution is. Hopefully it’s not too big of a deal…

      Reply
  30. Hello Chris and Kim
    Congratulations for your work, it’s very useful. Trying to go through all the information I get from websites as well as people in South Africa I’m asking to is a total mess. I’m Canadian too and need to extend my actual visa only for about 10 days. It’s going to expire at the beginning of March and my scheduled flight is in the 3rd week of March. As I don’t need an extra 3 months, I plan to apply now. My question is about the collection. Does it have to be at the same office as where I apply? I’m going to apply in Nelspruit, but could be far from there at time of collection.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hello Nicole. Hmm that’s a good question that I don’t know the answer to, sorry. If you get the answer, please let us know so we can share with others. Have you considered not extending at all? If you don’t plan on returning to South Africa within a year, it may be the best option.

      Reply
      • I will find and let you know for sure. As I usually come here at least 2 times a year, I prefer to be as legal as possible. But not being to come back for a year, if it’s the worst case scenario, could be an opportunity to visit other places.

        Reply
        • Previous post : “My question is about the collection. Does it have to be at the same office as where I apply? I’m going to apply in Nelspruit, but could be far from there at time of collection.”
          Update : I called to change the collection office. They said I need to send an email and they will let me know. I sent the request on March 12th, when I just got the email saying the answer was ready for collection at Nelspruit, and got an answer at the end of July, saying it’s ready to collect, but doesn’t mention if it’s Nelspruit or Cape Town !!.
          Anyway, I’m back in Canada since 18th March.
          About border when I left (OR Tambo) : I’ve been banned from SA for a year because my visa had expired nine days before. I explained and show the papers from VHS, but they said the procedure is to fill some papers and send them to Home Affairs within 10 days to ask for a “forgiveness” and it should be okay. So far, 1st September, I still didn’t get an answer.
          Will let you know when I get an update.

          Reply
          • Thanks Nicole. And ouch. Sorry to hear of the hassle you’ve been through. So I take it if you want to change the collection notice you need to give them at least a few week’s notice. (Or months, if a lockdown happens like in your case.)
            Hopefully you’ll get your ban forgiven.
            All the best.

  31. Hi again – based on this statement …”Kim and I only moonlight as pro-bono immigration advisors.

    Our real “job” is to share ideas for extraordinary experiences that will hopefully help you escape the ordinary. COME ON LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO THE GOBSMACKING extraodinary experiences you have missed…:-)

    Reply
  32. Hi, really great post!
    I was wondering if you have any knowledge about how long you can stay in SA with dual passports. (read in one comment that you have dual Canadian/swiss citizenship).
    Lets say you visit & recieve a visa extension with your passport from one country, so you stay 180 days. Then later you return on your other passport as a visitor within the same year. Do you think immigration will pick up that it’s the same person re-entering the country?

    Reply
    • Hi Paula. Funny enough, I just had a conversation with a friend about the same thing recently because I might be trying the same thing after our trip to Rwanda at the end of the month. I don’t know what the answer is, sorry, but I’d be surprised if the immigration system’s sophisticated enough to catch that type of thing.

      Reply
  33. Hi Guys, that’s for the tutorial. I am from Zambia and should be entitled to a 90 day visitors visa according to DHAs website. However, at the border I was only given a 30 day visitors visa and they refused to grant me the 90 days. Do I still have to apply for an extension and pay the fee or can I get the additional 60 days some other way?

    Thanks for the help in advance.

    Ryan

    Reply
  34. Hi Chris

    Thank you for such an informative and step by step article explaining the process. Very grateful for this. You mentioned that we have to provide bank statements for the last 3 months and they want to see the totals. Do you know what the minimum amount they want to see in the bank? For instance is it £20 per day, £30 per day etc?

    I am currently in South Africa and my visa expires on the 23rd February.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  35. Hi Chris,
    It was a nice and good step-by-step write up. In my previous experience with the VFS (I am also a Canadian), the biggest challenge was making an appointment in time. I was in Pretoria and trying to make an appointment before the visa expire, however they were all full and I was not able to make the appointment to submit the applications before the visa expires. At the end, I have to return back to Canada.

    Wondering if you have any tips about this kind of situation (about fully booked appointment)? Or they have improve the situation better as with guarantee appointment slot?

    Reply
    • Hi Frankie. Sorry to hear you’re having this problem. Our experience in Cape Town was the opposite: tons of appointments. Did you go to the VFS offices or call them to ask what you can do? Having to fly back to Canada seems extreme. Even in the worst case that there’s truly no way to get an appointment, it’d be cheaper to go to a country like Rwanda (which we just did) or even to another city in SA where appointments are available, no?

      Reply
  36. Thank you Kim & Chris! So awesome!! So helpful!! wow what a fantastic, inspirational and truly helpful page you have!! Love it! Next I am checking out your Namibia trip tips!! Great stuff!
    Continue spreading the magic and enjoying this beautiful world.
    Best wishes and loads of thanks!
    Victoria

    Reply
    • Thanks Victoria. Kim and I appreciate the kind words. Seriously. And I’m impressed by your high spirits, especially after scrolling through such a boring post about frustrating visa extensions. Sound like you’d make an excellent travel companion!

      Reply
  37. Hi Chris!

    I am within my first 30 days of arrival in SA and wanted to go to Home Affairs in Cape Town tomorrow to extend my Visitor’s Visa for another 90 days. Now I found your page (great advice btw. 🙂 and read about the online application via VFS. My question is, could I also go to Home Affairs directly or do I need another service like VFS for example. Do they (VFS) charge anything for their service? I was in touch with a company who specialises in Visa inquiries – they do all the work but they are very expensive. I heard that the waiting times at Home Affairs CT are enormous, so any alternative solution makes great sense. Thanks so much, Katrin

    Reply
    • Hi Katrin. As far as I understand, the DHA has hired VFS for all the visa processes apart from the final approval, so there you have to go through them. Whatever VFS earns is part of the R1,775 and I don’t think that’s avoidable.

      Reply
      • Thank you Chris. R 1,775 is totally acceptable. The other company I was in touch with would have charged three times as much.

        Reply
    • How do I get to a payment page? I’ve followed your advise to the letter, but I only get as far as a representation of my application and a clickable number that leads to no more helpful info. I have less than a month now, and it’s really worrying me. I could use a company that does this, but it would cost me another 3,500Rand or so. Help please!

      Reply
      • Hi Ian. It was a while ago that I went through the process and I didn’t have any issues like you, so I’m afraid I might not be able to help you. Do you not see the “Payment” button like under step 7 above? Maybe double check you’ve filled out everything and ask a friend to give it a second look? I hope you manage to sort it out.

        Reply
  38. thank you so much for this brilliant guide! i wish i had found it earlier! could you give me a tip about handling overstay appeals? is it advisable to get an immigration lawyer to do it (and if so, do you have a recommendation for a cpt lawyer=) or do you think one can go the DIY route? (same problem here: have to leave the country and my renewal still in pretoria) overstay would be less than 30 days so i hope i will not be banned for more than a year from this beautiful country

    Reply
    • Hey Cat. Sorry, we can’t help you there as we’ve fortunately avoided that situation. I really hope they’ll be reasonable in your situation. Please let us know if you come across any info we can share with others here.

      Reply
  39. Thank you so much for this – I have been stressing myself out but this has helped me a lot.

    Me and my family are emigrating to SA in December hopefully, my husband is south African so i have applied for my permanent residence permit. This can take up to 18 months, so whilst im in SA i will apply for an extension whilst im waiting for my permit to come through- if it hasn’t already .

    My question is, as im moving there i wont have any return flight info – as i will be living there . will this cause me trouble when applying for extension, as it an temporary solution whilst waiting for my permit. ?

    Thank you,
    Laura

    Reply
    • Hi Laura. How exciting for you to be working towards permanent residency in South Africa. As I’ve never been in your situation before, I can’t say what to do. Try without a return flight and if they stubbornly request it, buy and cancel one. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, though. All the best with getting your residency sorted out soon!

      Reply
      • Hi Chris,
        I am wondering about the return ticket. Do I have to book a new ticket that would be within my new 90 days if I got the extension, or do I use my original ticket that is in the first 90 days that I was given? Thank you so much for all your great tips!

        Reply
        • Hi Frankie. The ticket should be within the new 90 days. If you don’t have one yet, get one that can be refunded within 24 hours.
          I’m going to update the post to make this clearer. Thanks for pointing it out.

          Reply
  40. Hi everybody!

    I just wanted to let you know that it is a bit tricky to do it like this. I read the article and I thought yessss let’s do it! So I applied for my extension quite close to my expiration date. I picked up the result last week and it was rejected.

    They weren’t paying attention apparently and mistook my bankstatements in Euro’s and thought it was Rands. Obviously €5000 is a very different amount than R5000, so it was denied on grounds of ‘insufficient financial means’.

    Since my previous visa expired as I was waiting, I thought I had 10 days to leave the country and it’d be fine. I just want to let everybody know; this is not true! They don’t look at your proof of application, they don’t look at your letter, all they look at when you leave the country is the stamp in your passport that’ll say expired. This means that as I’ll leave the country, I’ll be banned for 5 years no matter what.

    I did a lot of research and even Home Affairs told me I’d have 10 days after my rejection to leave without any problems, so I didn’t expect this at all! Just want to make everyone aware so it won’t happen to anybody else, since being banned for 5 years is not ideal for a lot of people I guess 😉

    Also, if anybody has any advise for me on how to go about this or knows anyone who might be able to help, it’s more than welcome, since I don’t see any solution anymore

    All the best!

    Reply
    • Oh man, I’m so sorry for you, T. What a ridiculous situation. Thanks for sharing.

      Have you left South Africa already and gotten the ban? Or is there still hope for reason?

      Reply
      • T was gracious enough to detail is ordeal with me via email. Here’s his cautionary tale:

        So, before extending I obviously did some research, where pretty much every single person I spoke to told me; if it gets rejected you have 10 days to leave without being banned.

        As I picked up my results at Home Affairs on Longstreet and it was rejected, I went to ask the lady there instantly to see what my options were. She said:

        1. Go into appeal within 10 days, but it might take 2/3 months for them to get back to you in which you can’t leave the country, or
        2. Leave the country within 10 days; go to immigration at the airport, ask for a written statement that you did apply and you’ll be able to leave without being banned.

        So I was like, sure! And the next morning I drove to the airport full of hope that it’d be sorted. As I arrived they led me towards the immigration office, where I spoke to an immigration officer who told me that it wasn’t true, and my only option was to appeal. I couldn’t believe it since I was told otherwise at Home Affairs, so I asked to speak to his supervisor. He led me to his supervisor, who told me exactly the same; you can not leave the country, also not within 10 days. If you leave, you will definitely get banned. They will not look at your proof of application, they will not look at any letters, they’ll see the date on the stamp in your passport which is expired and you’ll be banned 100% guaranteed. There is no other option than the appeal.

        After that I spoke to several lawyers and immigration offices, and they all told me the same; appeal within 10 days or a 5 year ban upon departure. I still didn’t want to give up though. I got a contact number from a guy at home affairs, and he told me to go to the immigration office on 56 barrack street and I could simply ask for a letter called an ‘order to leave’. That way I could leave without getting the ban. Since it was someone working at home affairs I had my hopes up again, yay! So I went there, again, hoping () and after a 3 hour wait they told me that they indeed USED to write these letters, but they no longer do it (since like months). Also, that there was nowhere else I could get such letter and; that the only way really was to appeal.

        Because of the Corona Virus happening right now, I didn’t have the choice of going into appeal since the Dutch government all told us to come home asap. Besides that, my mom is old and I really want to be close to her in case anything was to go wrong. So I went to the airport, within the 10 days, with my proof of application and everything (even though I knew it wouldn’t help) and at passport control they indeed only look at the stamp in your passport, and I was declared undesirable and got a 5 year ban on my name. I explained the whole situation, I explained I had to go home because of the corona virus, I explained it was initially a mistake at home affairs to reject my application and that I applied before it expired, etc etc; none of it mattered.

        So yeah, now I’m in The Netherlands. Very happy to be with my mom, after all; the fact that my family is healthy is obviously way bigger than all of this. I arrived Friday afternoon, and will call lawyers tomorrow to see how to get this ban lifted off of my name. There must be a way! I’m not giving up, I love South Africa way too much. Even though their visa regulations are a nightmare

        I hope you can use this information. I really feel like I tried everything I could, but maybe I was wrong. Rules and regulations change all the time, which makes it very confusing.

        Reply
  41. Just wanting to drop a quick huge thanks to you for this extremely useful and thorough blog post that has helped me massively with my extension applications in this crazy Coronavirus times (and when I did not get any useful info from the named institutions). Thanks and enjoy your well-earned 90 extra days!

    Reply
  42. hey there:) that helped me sooo much – thanks!
    Just submitted my documents and the waiting begins.

    A small information you might want to add to the blog post:
    I (and everyone else I met today at the office) was also asked to show a provement of where I am staying the rest of the time in South Africa (my room mate simply dropped me an e-mail with a confirmation and I was able to print it out at site). I could not find any official information that you have to bring it and it is not on their provided checklist as well but everyone not having the information ready was sent away.

    Reply
    • Hey Lena. Thanks for the heads up! I wonder if this is specifically because of the lockdown? In any case, I’ve updated the checklist accordingly.

      Reply
      • I was asked for this proof as well both in June of 2019 and February of 2020.

        I used a copy of my host’s electric bill but was told that hotel/Airbnb reservations would also suffice.

        Reply
    • Hi Lena!

      I’m going through the process now, and was wondering what the email from your roommate said? I’m subletting a place, and just want to make sure the person I’m subletting from includes the right information in their email!

      Reply
  43. Hi guys, I see you were planning to be in SA until 29 April and I wondered if that is still the case. I am visiting SA from New Zealand and my visitor visa expires on 18 May. I’ve applied for an extension but my first appointment with VFS is 17 April (the day after lockdown is supposed to finish – we’ll see…). I’m worried with all the coronavirus craziness the 17 April appointment might be cancelled (eg if the lockdown gets extended) or that VFS might take longer than normal to process things.

    Currently I can’t fly back to NZ before my visa expires anyway because there are no flights at all before end April, and the only ones in May are through Singapore which doesn’t currently allow any transits. I figure I’m not going to get into trouble with immigration if it isn’t physically possible for me to leave before my visa expires.

    But that may change if some flights to NZ start back up, or if Singapore starts allowing transit passengers again. And my concern is really that it will be possible for me to fly back to NZ but that I wouldn’t have heard back about my visa extension by then.
    So, I thought I would get in touch in case you guys are also waiting for VFS appointments at the moment and have any glimmers of hope or ideas about how the visa extension process might work in the time of coronavirus?!

    Reply
    • Hi Katy, We’re in pretty much the same situation as you and don’t know the answer. All we know is that the Home Affairs Minister has said, “We don’t expect people to apply for extension during the lockdown, we will understand, and we will deal with the matter after 21 days.” Now 35 days, I suppose.

      Until the lockdown’s over, we can’t do anything. We’ll see what happens after. They won’t be able to handle the post-lockdown rush and will have to do something. I imagine (hope) they’ll be reasonable. And I think if we act in good fait—i.e. make attempts to extend our visas when possible, follow whatever guidance they give, and not blatantly use the chaos as an excuse to skate by and stay without extending—we shouldn’t get banned. But you never know…

      Reply
      • This has some useful information. It doesn’t quite apply to me since my visa expires after the lockdown ends, but might cover you guys. At the very least I’m taking it as a positive sign that the govt is inclined to be reasonable towards those whose visas have been affected by Covid-19!

        Reply
        • Hi Katy, hope you’re getting on okay. Did VFS cancel your appointment or have you scheduled it for a future date? My visa expires on 24 May. I have just booked an appointment in Johannesburg to realise that under level 4, the centres are still not open. I am pretty sure that the government will act in good faith towards those affected by Covid-19, even if the visa expires beyond ‘lockdown’ (I think level 4 is surely still some level of lockdown?) Sitting tight here in the meantime!

          Reply
    • Hi there,

      I’m currently stuck in South Africa, and my visa process is stuck at the now locked down DHA.

      Some important information can be found at the DHA website. Here are some highlights:

      “EXPIRY OF VISAS
      Holders of temporary residence visas which expired from mid February 2020, who did not renew their visas before the lockdown, will not be declared illegal or prohibited persons.
      Any person whose visa expired before or during the lockdown will not be arrested or detained for holding an expired visa.
      Those who opt to return to their countries of origin or residence after the lockdown instead of renewing their visas will not be declared undesirable upon departure.”

      “DEPARTURE OF FOREIGN NATIONALS
      During the lockdown, except for cases relating to expatriation initiated by another state, all foreign nationals who are currently in South Africa may not depart.”

      http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/1336-temporary-measures-to-deal-with-immigration-issues-during-the-national-lockdown

      Reply
      • Hey Joe. Big thanks for this and your other two comments! I’ve added this info to the top of this post to make sure worried people in similar situations to ours see it. Cheers!

        Reply
  44. Just a fact for anyone getting married in South Africa.

    You can transition from a tourist visa to a spousal visa without having to leave the country. Maybe this will help someone at some point in the future 🙂

    Also, the 180 day limit renews at the start of a new year. I spent 180 days in South Africa in 2019 and was able to return to South Africa on January 1st of 2020.

    Reply
    • Hi joe, this is what I am actually trying to do , but one of the requirements is to get police clearances from every country you have lived in for 12 months or longer since you were 18 (I have 5) – and not sure how it would be possible to get these documents during this time as governments are in lock-down and have other priorities. I wonder if they would be relaxing this requirement too.

      Reply
      • Oh wow! Fortunately for me, I only have to obtain two countries’ background checks. I was able to apply for one at an embassy in Pretoria. I searched for ‘Criminal background check [country] overseas’ to obtain a form.
        \
        If the background checks are required during my application, I’ll be sure to report back. Best of luck!

        Reply
    • Hey Joe,
      Did you use an attorney to help with the process? Can you lend a recommendation?. This is my next step in visa applications so I can definitely use your help. Thanks!

      Reply
  45. Hi Kim & Chris, thanks for this detailed info. I submitted my application and now am prepping for the appointment right after the end of the lockdown. In the invitation letter, it talks about prohibited items… It looks like nothing except application docs is allowed? No phone? Wallet?? Would be great if you guys have any insights… Thank you!

    (From the invitation letter)
    Due to security reasons, the following items will not be permitted inside the Visa Facilitation Centre, nor stored in the premises:

    – All battery-operated or electronic gadgets such as cameras, audio / video cassettes,
    compact discs, MP3’s, floppies, laptops, or portable music players;
    – All bags such as travel bags, back packs, briefcases, suitcases, leather, jute or cloth bags and zip folders. Only a plastic bag containing your documents necessary for your
    application would be permitted;
    – Sealed envelopes or packages;
    – Any inflammable item such as matchboxes / lighters / fuel, etc.
    – Any sharp objects such as scissors, pen knives…
    – Any weapon or weapon like objects or explosive material of any kind.

    The list provided above is not finite. Other items may be prohibited based on security staff discretion.
    There is no facility at the Visa & Permit Facilitation Centre to store prohibited items.

    Reply
    • Hi Maki, When we last went to VFS, security guards checked our bags, but we were allowed to bring them in along with our phones. So unless they’ve clamped down significantly in recent months, you needn’t worry about going to your appointment with nothing but a folder and I.D.

      Reply
      • Thank you, Chris, for your response. Hope you two are well. I have an appointment this Wednesday, I hope all work well… I am little concerned about what’s written on the top page their website, “Non-South Africans with a legal residency permit in South Africa can apply for a visa or permit at these centres,” but I hope they are also accepting all the applications… Thank you again!! – Maki

        Reply
        • Hi Maki. Are you sure VFS is open? According to their homepage, “VFS does not fall under the current Level 4 restrictions and should continue to consult our website for further updates as to when we will be able to accept applications.”

          Reply
        • Hello everyone,

          I had an appointment scheduled for today, 05/05 at 08.00am at the Durban office, I was there not long ago to find out that the VFS offices are still closed.
          I really have no idea when they are going to reopen and what to do to extend my visa before the expiration.

          Reply
          • Hi Lorenzo,
            I am in a similar position, as I have an appointment booked in the Johannesburg office today.
            So are VFS still allowing you to book appointments through their website even though the actual office isn’t open? What is the point of this? Were you able to re-schedule an appointment or did you have to start the whole process again? I’ve just tried to call the number on their website to confirm if the Johannesburg office was open today but nobody answered the call. Appreciate any guidance anyone can give.
            Thanks!

          • Hi Eric, did you manage to have your visa appointment in Johannesburg yesterday? I have mine booked for next week on the 13th. Jess

  46. Hey! Thanks for such a great read. Really
    helpful-especially with updated information regarding Covid.
    I have a couple questions;
    How much is a safe amount to have in your bank account? I have dollars (coming from the US) and not sure if it will enough. I heard you should have three months worth and if that’s the case I do- but nervous the first month is a couple hundred- and now it’s a couple thousand- will this affect their decision, and do you recommend I write about it in my letter? Also, with the letter what’s the main topic I should speak about? I basically wrote how I am from NY where the state was hit the hardest and it was safer to remain in RSA. However, my long term boyfriend is South African and I heard to not mention a relationship. Is that true? Any suggestions?
    I’m currently on an expired tourist visa extension. Came into the country in Oct and was supposed to leave April 22 (during the lockdown). My meetings may 6th. Assuming they’re back open.
    Any suggestions help! I’m so nervous to get banned.

    Reply
    • Also, in your article it says I need a copy of my application form but I can’t go back and see a copy. There’s tabs that say “particular..”, “visa details”, “overview page”, “print” but they’re grayed out and can’t go back to the application. Any ideas?

      Reply
      • Hey Michelle. I wish I could help you with your questions, but honestly I don’t know. If the site has changed since we last extended our visas so it doesn’t match the screenshots, I won’t be able to find out until we apply again (which will likely be soon). On how much to have in your bank account, all I know from readers’ input is that R5,000 is not enough (poor Tyler). I imagine if you truly have enough cash to cover your next couple months, whatever that is should be enough. All the best!

        Reply
  47. Hey Chris. Thanks so much for all the help here. I reviewed your step-by-step instructions again after submitting payment and documents on the VFS site, only to realize that I only paid the VFS fee of R1350 and not the actual Visa fee. Despite only paying the R1350, the site still allows me to schedule an appointment. I’m concerned that I’ll be turned away, or worse, my application is rejected for this error. However, I can’t find a viable way to pay the remainder of the fee that I owe.

    Do you know if there’s an option to pay the remainder at the Home Affairs office? I’ve realized this is mostly my error, but any helpful advice is appreciated! Thanks!

    Reply
      • Hey Michael. No idea, sorry. But I’m super curious to hear what happens, so please keep us posted. It was an honest mistake on your part, so hopefully they’ll be reasonable about it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it falls through the cracks, too. Hopefully so!

        Reply
        • This is definitely late, but for anyone else that’s looking for information now, like me, the Terms and Conditions state: “However, if you elect to only pay the VFS Global service fee upfront, you may pay the outstanding visa fees by credit / debit card at the VFS Global Centre or pay into the VFS Global bank account with Standard Bank using the banking details provided. Please note that no payments can be made in cash at the VFS Global Centre.”

          Nonetheless, it can be that the actual people working there might be nice about it.

          Reply
  48. Hi Michael, hi everyone, I think it is normal. When we got our visa renewed in 2017 we have paid the VFS fee online to be able to schedule an appointment and then, once there, we have paid the visa fee.
    So I believe you will be able to paid at the VFS office.

    But the question is: on the VFS website is clearly reported that last day for applications submission was 25th March and to consult them again to understand and know when they can work again the applications. For this reason, I have not submitted the application even if my Visa will expire in few days. The note of the minister seems to be quite clear: person which choice to leave the country without renew the visa after the lockdown will not be declared undesirable. I hope to have done the right choice not submitting, Chris, what do you think about?

    Bye
    Paolo

    Reply
    • Paolo,
      Thanks so much for your insight. This is really helpful. Did they accept debit/credit cards at the office when you renewed in 2017?
      -Michael

      Reply
      • Hi Michael, we did the renewal at Durban office and at that time they accepted the credit card to pay the fee.
        So yes, they were accepting and, I suppose, they still accept.

        Bye
        Paolo

        Bye.

        Reply
  49. Hi Chris and everyone!

    Does anyone know whether VFS offices will be open on level 3 of the lockdown? I’ve been trying to make an appointment online for the Cape Town office, and strangely, there are only slots available in May (when the offices are definitely closed!) and none in June. I’d really like to start the extension process before my visa expires in early June, so I’m quite worried! I’ve tried contacting them on twitter and just get redirected to their website, which hasn’t updated since March.

    Also, is it clear what levels of the lockdown the notice from Home Affairs refers to? E.g. if your visa expires during level 3, are you still ok? Or are they referring only to Level 5 (“full” lockdown)?

    Reply
    • Rita, I pretty much have the exact same questions as you do… so hopefully we can all get clarity on this soon! My partner lives here so getting a 5 year ban from SA would be devastating. My tourist visa expires mid-June.

      Reply
      • I am glad to hear I’m not the only one in this position – this is so stressful! I’m hoping to get in touch with VFS on Monday when their office might re-open, but I don’t have high hopes.

        Reply
        • Hello, I think we are all in the same position and the rules are pretty clear here: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/1336-temporary-measures-to-deal-with-immigration-issues-during-the-national-lockdown
          What I got is: borders are closed, offices are not accepting applications (it is clear reported on the site) = you can’t be ban. The rules are valid until 31st July, my visa expires tomorrow and I have not submitted any application (and I owe a property here in South Africa), I will submit immediately when they report that they are accepting once again (maybe from next Monday we 1st June). It is only to be in good faith and only the fact that we are trying to keep ourselves as much informed as we can means that we are totally in good faith. If someone gets banned when borders to exit are closed, it is something that can be adjusted very easily by any lawer here in the country. I hope to have provided a little help.

          Reply
          • Thanks Paolo – this is very helpful! I think I am a little nervous after reading stories like T’s above, but it is good to hear that such a ban could be remedied as well. I do hope that they accept we are all acting in good faith. In any case, there’s nothing we can do differently right now, given that everything is still closed!

          • Hi Paolo, I 100% agree with your understanding. Kim and my visa expired on May 3 and we’re on a repatriation flight on June 6. We’ll see what happens and update everyone here in the comments.

  50. Thank you Paolo,

    That was also how I interpreted the home affairs statement, that until July 31st (unless extended by government), we would either be able to renew expires visas, or leave the country without penalty. But from reading a lot about immigration officers at the airports not being aware or compassionate about the rules coming from hone affairs, this makes me a bit nervous. My other dilemma is that if the borders DO open here, but I cannot get back to my country of residence (qatar, as borders are closed there as well, even for residents), or struggle to find flights to my home country (Canada), that it is unclear if there will be a “grace period” here for foreigners to leave once the border opens in SA. I will also prepare my documents to be ready to submit when TFS/home affairs opens… however I was recently told by multiple immigration specialists that this will NOT be during phase 3. If anyone finds out more information it would be greatly appreciated if you could share it here!

    Reply
  51. FYI – Kim and I just went through immigration at Cape Town airport en route back to Canada. We had zero issues despite our visas having expired over a month ago (on May 3). The lady who checked our stamps told us that for now they are not penalizing anyone who arrived before the lockdown and overstays their visa. This policy will change at some point after VFS offices re-open, but they seem to be very pragmatic about it.

    Reply
  52. “Department of Home Affairs is pleased to announce the opening of the Visa & Permit Facilitation Centres in 9 provinces and 11 cities within South Africa. Visa and Permit applications will be accepted across these 12 centres in South Africa. These applications will be assessed by Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria. Non-South Africans with a legal residency permit in South Africa can apply for a visa or permit at these centres.”

    -https://www.vfsglobal.com/dha/southafrica/index.html
    -A similar announcement was made over the radio on RSG.

    Reply
    • Hi Joe,
      the announced above is there on the website since long time.
      The last information we have for re-opening is this :

      IMPORTANT UPDATE

      VFS remains CLOSED under Level 3 regulations.

      Once we are able to resume operations, all clients with appointments would be given an opportunity to reschedule, in order to have a valid appointment to present at our centres – please continue to monitor our websites for further updates.

      So we have to wait for further updates.
      I feel like that south africa will move to level 2 in July and to level 1 in August. Probably from August we will have the choice to renew our visa or to leave the country without consequences.

      It is just a feeling, we will see in couple of months.

      Bye
      Paolo

      Reply
      • In that case, it would be logical to assume that they will extend the date (July 31st) that was indicated by home affairs, that people will “not be considered undesirable” if they leave on an expired visa? I know logic hasn’t always seemed to come into play in a lot of these decisions…

        Reply
  53. Hi Heather, looking on how cases are increasing in South Africa and considering that peak is expected at the end of August only, it is very probable that date will be extended.
    We can only wait and keep us as much informed as possible.
    Personally I am not worried and I am enjoying this long period here in SA.
    Bye
    Paolo

    Reply
    • I’m definitely enjoying it as well 🙂 I just don’t want to jeopardize my re-entry in the future. Otherwise I’m actually quite happy to be stuck here 🙂

      Reply
    • Hi,

      I too am enjoying a longitutde stay in SA. I’m comfortable and happy living with friends (especially considering I’m from the UK and my government’s handling it…badly to say the least), but I am getting slightly concerned now that we’re into July and there’s been no news from the president.
      With VFS not open and flights still not going, we surely will not have it held against us if we stay even past the 31st of July at the moment?

      Reply
  54. Text message from VFS for those who are looking to collect a visa. Follow the link, create an account (it’s not the same as the account you created for your visa), and book an appointment. You’ll receive an appointment letter and confirmation. You can show up to the selected VFS location to pick up your visa.

    “Owing to the COVID -19 development and directives by the Government of the Republic of South Africa, the Department of Home Affairs Visa Application Centres will now be able to operate for Collections Only as per the level 3 regulations as from the 01 July 2020.

    Please note only collections by appointment will be assisted , no walk-ins or enquiries will be dealt with at the office.

    Please visit the below link to book an appointment for collection:
    https://r3.vfsglobal.com/LithuaniaAppt/Account/RegisteredLogin?q=shSA0YnE4pLF9Xzwon/x/BWlyZol1gRYjMQZM+LqKtMH9lc1bFD2TudZCs0l3NXhEzTNGsHKP2PGBS5lYwyIBv+K0iPPNzpdEUiVrJNQd2o=

    Reply
    • Thanks a lot Joe.
      Not useful to me as I still need to start the entire process of renewal, but it is a good news for many which remained stuck with the renewal process.
      Maybe the idea of VFS is to work all the pending Visa and then open to new submissions requests (maybe in August). Meanwhile for whom wants to leave the country, there are several repatriation flights to Amsterdam (KLM), more informations here https://za.usembassy.gov/health-alert-announcing-upcoming-repatriation-flights-u-s-embassy-pretoria-south-africa/. Those flights are basically three times more expensive than a normal one way flight, so I prefer to wait and remain here.

      Bye
      Paolo

      Reply
      • Hi Paolo, thanks for the link and the tip that the flights are overpriced.
        \n
        I just picked up my renewal tourist visa this morning. It says that it expired on June 1st. I told the employee that I would like to apply for a change of status. She told me that all submissions can be done when VFS opens and that an announcement will be made online.

        Reply
        • Hello Guys,

          If anyone has any Update on the grace period (31st of July) if it will be extended for foreign tourist that has expired visa please update us here. If the Home affairs are already accepting visa extension application? This is my only source of news on updates for Tourist. The Home Affairs is kind of confusing for me if its updated.. I dont want to be banned for 5 years since my soulmate(bf) is living here 🙂

          Reply
          • Hi Jasmin, no updates:borders are closed, no commercial flights, no application accepted for visa renewal. More, looking on how it has been managed the immigrants law update when first lockdown came, probably there will not announcement of extension of grace period before 31st July. Lockdown came at 27th March and law for visa extension came on 14th April. We have just to wait and keep us informed. Definitely, in case some news will come, I will post here.

            Ps: if you don’t want to risk, there are more and more repatriation flights with KLM, Lufthansa, emirates, South Africa airways and air France.

            Have a nice weekend.
            Bye
            Paolo

  55. Hi All-
    Of course my tourist visa has expired. I have a flight scheduled to depart SA September 3rd. I am waiting to see if they are going to extend the July 30th grace period. I have not applied for a visa extension and know the VFS offices are open. I would rather not go through the process if I don’t have to.
    Other people’s thoughts about applying versus waiting….
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hey Tume, the VFS offices are not yet open unless you are collecting a visa that has already been applied for and approved. If the offices open before your flight on Sept 3rd, I’d personally look into applying for an extension to avoid any issues in future. In the meantime, you’ll be covered by the grace period until the VFS offices open (whenever that is), since you cannot apply for a visa until they are open. Take care 🙂

      Reply
  56. Hello Paolo,

    Thanks for replying and updating us, really appreciate it. 🙂
    Uhhmm when it comes to taking risk thats my middle name. Heheh my visa has already expired on 2nd week of june and i am on a multiple entry. When it comes to repatriation flights the ones that are available are super expensive and I have not seen any going to the philippines and there is no direct flights going there too.. I am afraid also to go home since flight protocols are confusing, majority of the time they would cancel flights and i dont want to get stranded in a other countries airport. I am actually enjoying my stay here but also a hint of fear but according to everyone here also as you say, Home affairs are not open yet, No commercial flights, no renewal. So its safe to say that we will just need to sit back and wait for the announcement since its not our fault that there is PANDEMIC and as their home affairs immigration says we that has expired visas are pardoned during the duration of Lockdown. As of now we are on level 3 Lockdown. (Correct me if i am wrong)

    Best Regards,
    Jasmin 🙂

    Reply
  57. Hi guys,

    I am a UK citizen. My 90 day tourist visa expired in mid-June. I am aware the grace period of 31st July is getting closer now, and the government still hasn’t announced whether it will be extending this or not. Do we assume that no announcement means no extension?

    I have looked into the repatriation flights back to the UK detailed on the government website and almost all of them seem to be unavailable/sold out, so even if I wanted to leave before 31st July, it doesn’t seem possible. Surely we can’t be punished for overstaying if there are no available flights to get home?

    Wondering what the best course of action is?

    Current thoughts are to stay beyond the 31st July and hope that the South African government either announces an extension to the grace period or simply chooses not to punish those who have overstayed this date. How likely is this? Are those planning on overstaying, willing to accept the risk of a ban?

    I’m also contemplating overstaying but making sure I leave by at least 30th August and take the 1 year ban from South Africa rather than 5 year ban… (seems like the lesser of two evils)

    Does anyone have a way of chasing up the Department of Home Affairs to find out their position on it? The uncertainty is killing me and I can see that several other people are in a similar situation. Really hope we can get the answers we need to soon!

    Eric

    Reply
  58. Hi all, I’m in a very similar position to Eric above. I’ve been looking at the VFS website and it suggests that visa applications are now being accepted, would it be worth trying to apply for a visitor visa renewal now?

    The lack of an update from Home Affairs on the 31st July deadline is starting to be worrying – only two weeks away now and there are still no flights available.

    Thanks,
    Rob

    Reply
    • Hello Guys,
      I think if anyone already accomplished to submit renewal starting August then it just means that the grace period is over. I don’t think that they can Ban us easily (I hope so..) of overstaying due to this Pandemic since its the first time we are all experiencing this. If no one cant submit anything yet even after grace period (31st July) and without flights available, I guess we have no choice but to wait announcements.
      Please everyone, Update us on the status or any announcements.
      since we are all in this together 😀
      Thank you!
      Jasmin \^_^/

      Reply
      • Hello guys, many people in this situation yes, but let’s be realistic: we are not and we cannot be the priority of the government now. I don’t expect any announcement from government before 31st July, but I expect within half of August (obviously if they don’t open the borders, an extension of grace period). In the meanwhile if the borders will be still closed, if vfs does not accept applications renewals and if no commercial flights: the ban is a far option and, if someone get it, any good layer here in the country can get it canceled. Let’s have faith and trust in people which are trying to manage this difficult situation. Consider even that this week, just to understand better, I have tried to call KLM, Lufthansa and Air France and all their repatriation flight planned within end of July are full, so relax and think positive as we don’t have an other option than stay here and wait. All will be fine with our passports, I can not guarantee but I don’t see any fault on our side so cannot be considered our fault. Enjoy the weekend and enjoy the sun. Cheers
        Paolo

        Reply
        • Hi Guys,

          Of course im in the same situation, my visitor visa expired on June 15th, im legally married in South Africa and i was supposed apply for my spouse visa but due to the regulations i was unable to do so.
          Here below its part of the statment issued by Home Affairs,

          “”Holders of temporary residence visas which expired from mid February 2020, who did not renew their visas before the lockdown, will not be declared illegal or prohibited persons.

          Any person whose visa expired before or during the lockdown will not be arrested or detained for holding an expired visa.

          Those who opt to return to their countries of origin or residence after the lockdown instead of renewing their visas will not be declared undesirable upon departure.””

          It’s true that the measures were made to be in Place till july 31st but its Also true that we are still under an unexpected prolonged lockdown which initially was supposed last few weeks,

          It clearly says, “” Those who opt to return to their countries of origin or residence after the lockdown instead of renewing their visas will not be declared undesirable upon departure.””

          It doesnt say you must repatriate before July 31st, instead, if you Wish to leave After the lockdown you are free to do so.
          I belive we are safe, if anything you can Always take the case to court with the above mentioned statment as prove.

          Regards
          Lorenzo

          Reply
  59. Hi All!

    First off, THANK YOU Kim and Chris for your blog. And thank you google for helping me find this post! I’ve been checking this comment thread since late March. And all of you who’ve contributed, have not only been my best/main source of info, but also been a great source of comfort during these times. Glad to meet everyone else on this boat!

    I’m American, my 90 day visa expired end of May. Just popped back on this thread to see the latest on the July 31 extension. It seems we are all on the same page. I too have very much enjoyed this extended stay in South Africa. And honestly a little afraid to go back to the US Even my parents are saying to JUST STAY here.

    Though I am very much appreciative to Kim and Chris and this blog ❤️ I’m wondering if we should maybe start a group? Facebook? WhatsApp? This is such a unique event in all our lives. We are all experiencing this pandemic in the same subcategory. Also I’m just curious what everyone looks like? Where you are stuck in SA? I am in Kalk Bay Cape Town. Again why I don’t want to leave! Too pretty here

    Any suggestions on what to name the group? …. “Stranded” in South Africa? Emphasis on the quotes

    Much love!
    Miriam from Montana

    Reply
    • Miriam I think that’s a great idea, as it would save me checking His blog every day or two . I’m happy got anyone on here to shoot me a what’s app, I’m from Canada, stuck on Cape Town.

      +01 403 9294009

      Reply
  60. Hi everyone,

    I’ve started a what’s app group… please feel free to contact me directly if you’re not comfortable posting your details here.

    +01 4039294009

    Reply
    • So glad you agree Heather! And thank you for starting the group. Will find you on WhatsApp! Also don’t mind anyone shooting me a message +1 406 334 9226 — I’m curious if there are other Americans?

      Reply
      • Hello Hugo,
        My visitor visa expired on June 15th, im legally married in South Africa and i was supposed apply for my spouse visa but due to the regulations i was unable to do so.
        Yeaterday i sent an email to my Ambassy asking detailed info, i Hope the can help,
        Keep you posted

        Reply
        • Hello guys,

          Grat news, the grace period has been extended. I have been praying.

          http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/1357-debate-on-the-home-affairs-budget-vote-2020

          EXTENSION OF VALIDITY OF LEGAL PERMITS

          At the beginning of the lockdown we announced that all permits and visas that expire intra-lockdown will be deemed to have been extended up to the 31 July 2020.

          I am happy to announce that the Department will review this extension from 31st July 2020 to 31st October 2020. I will be signing a Government Gazette to amend the Regulations to provide for this in a short while but definitely before the 31st July 2020.

          I wish to take this opportunity to thank my colleague, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Njabulo Nzuza for a good working relationship.

          Reply
          • Hello guys,

            Grat news, the grace period has been extended. I have been praying.

            http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/1357-debate-on-the-home-affairs-budget-vote-2020

            EXTENSION OF VALIDITY OF LEGAL PERMITS

            At the beginning of the lockdown we announced that all permits and visas that expire intra-lockdown will be deemed to have been extended up to the 31 July 2020.

            I am happy to announce that the Department will review this extension from 31st July 2020 to 31st October 2020. I will be signing a Government Gazette to amend the Regulations to provide for this in a short while but definitely before the 31st July 2020.

            I wish to take this opportunity to thank my colleague, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Njabulo Nzuza for a good working relationship.

          • Thanks, Lorenzo and…Hell yeah!
            In the WhatsApp group created
            they also shared it.
            It needs to be confirmed but seems it’s just a bureaucratic step. The decision seems taken, right?
            So happy, dude.

  61. Hi everyone. Thanks for the post, thanks for the comments. Is good to know I’m not the only one without having any idea about what to do with the tourist visa extension, haha.
    An employee from Home Affairs told me last week I can already apply for an extension, but I really don’t know what to do: should I start the process? Should I wait expecting they’ll extend the grace period? And if I choose the second option and they will not extend it: will be the same in legal terms to apply for an extension comparing with our rights before July 31?
    Almost a week left…
    I hope you guys could post your updates with any news that may help.
    Again: thanks everyone!

    Reply
  62. Hi all! Due to logistical issues, my SA partner and I decided to return to the Untied States this week. We found that repatriation flights are much cheaper than they were a few months ago, although still more expensive than usual ($800-$1000 for a one-way ticket). My visa expired in early March, and there was absolutely no issue at all with passport control when I exited (not even a comment!). Just wanted to let people here know in case any of this information is useful. Best of luck to you all – it’s been very helpful having these comments & resources available!

    Reply
  63. Hi all such a great blog thank you Chris and Kim!
    My UK visa expired mid June and the new amnesty expire 31st October, does anyone know when VFS will open again? I had submitted an application for my extension and my appointment was May but they were closed by then and the online calendars are still not showing available dates for appointments.
    Thanks

    Simone

    Reply
  64. I just visited VFS this morning to submit a spousal visa application but enquired about tourist visas.
    I was told by two VFS employees that they are not accepting tourist visa extensions right now but that they will begin accepting them in January 2021. That means you can reside in the country until January of 2021, and apply for a three month extension, giving you one very long tourist stay.
    Please feel free to visit VFS to confirm what I mentioned as they are answering questions at the facility. I hope it helps someone.

    Reply
  65. I apologize for the multiple posts. VFS homepage says the following, which contradicts what I just mentioned in my previous comment.
    “Important Notice : Reopening of Visa Services following the announcement of Lockdown Level 1.

    As of Tuesday 22 September 2020 visa services will resume at all Visa Facilitation Centre’s in South Africa.

    All categories of temporary residence visa’s, including applications of waivers of the prescribed requirement will be accepted.

    The resumption of other immigration related applications will be faced in over a period of time.

    Please note that adherence to all COVID -19 health protocols at all VFS centres are mandatory.”

    Reply
  66. Hi guys,

    I hope everyone is keeping well and thanks for the information above. I previously posted about being a UK citizen and my 90 day visa expired in mid June. I was also working under the assumption that I would need to leave South Africa by 31 Oct 2020 as this was the end of the (extended) amnesty period.

    I have recently tried to apply for a visa extension via the VFS website, however, the ‘Visitors Visa Section 11(1)’ is no longer an option in the drop down menu. There are only Visitors Visa Section 11(2) and 11(6) as well as four different types of 11(1)b visas – none of which apply to my situation.

    Does anyone know whether the South African government are not currently accepting application for ‘Visitors Visa Section 11(1)’ extensions? Is this likely to change in the near future?

    Is anyone else in a similar situation and intending on staying beyond 31 October 2020? Do you think the usual penalties will apply? (i.e. 1 year ban for overstaying by up to 30 days, or 5 year ban for overstaying by over 30 days).

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • I’m in a similar situation and expect that the government will have to extend visas beyond the 31 October deadline or give people a grace period to leave the country after that date.

      As Joe stated above, the DHA’s site reads:
      As of Tuesday 22nd September 2020, visa services will resume at all Visa Facilitation Centre’s in South Africa. All categories of temporary residence visa’s, including applications of waivers of the prescribed requirement will only be accepted. The resumption of other immigration related applications will be phased in over a period of time. https://www.vfsglobal.com/dha/southafrica/index.html

      I take this to mean that they are currently only processing temporary residence visas (not tourist visas). I track this page via Visualping, so am immediately updated when this information changes and suggest everyone do the same, as it relieves a lot of anxiety about the situation! 🙂

      Good luck and stay safe!

      Reply
      • Hi Rachel. Thanks for the information, but I want to clarify something here. I might be mistaken, but my understanding is that temporary residence visas include work visas, study visas, relative visas, medical visas, several others AND visitor’s visas (holiday or otherwise). If my understanding is correct, this would mean that those individuals still in the country on a visitor’s visa are required to apply for an extension given the instruction from the DHA update as of 22 September. Now, if the employees at the VFS office are saying something that contradicts what’s posted on the site, then I’m not sure what’s right.

        Reply
    • Or here:
      https://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/lockdown-travel-government-releases-updated-list-high-risk-countries
      [
      Motsoaledi announced that the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will extend the validity period of legally issued visas, which expired during the lockdown period.

      The validity of these visas will be extended to 31 January 2021.

      “When the lockdown started, we announced that all those who are on visas, which will expire intra-lockdown, were extended to 31 July 2020. We then extended it to 31 October. It is clear that by 31 October 2020, things would not have changed.

      “All those with [legally issued visas] will be regarded as valid until 31 January next year. Anyone, who has a visa that has expired, has nothing to fear,” he said.

      However, this only applies to visitors already in South Africa.

      Holders of such visas are permitted to remain in the country under the conditions of their visit.

      Those wishing to be repatriated to their country within this period can depart without being declared undesirable.

      “We want to assure such people that if you arrive with a visa that has expired, because we deem it to be valid until 31 January 2021, you won’t be declared undesirable [when you leave],” said Motsoaledi.
      ]

      Reply
    • And also on the website of the Department of Home Affairs:
      http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/1373-statement-of-the-minister-of-home-affairs-regarding-the-reopening-of-borders-and-services-during-alert-level-1
      [
      The Department of Home Affairs is extending the validity period of legally issued visas which expired during the lockdown period to 31 January 2021.

      Holders of such visas are permitted to remain in the country under the conditions of their visas until 31 January 2021. Those wishing to be repatriated to their countries within this period can depart without being declared undesirable persons.
      ]

      VFS Global might reply as follows to queries about “Visitors Visa Section 11(1)” (see Eric’s comment on 2020-09-23):
      [
      Kindly note ,that section 11(1) visitors visas (between 3 months to less than 6 months) will also not be accepted as they are now valid until January 2021. Appeals & PRP applications remain closed for submission until further notice.
      ]

      Reply
  67. Does anyone know if your extended visa is multiple entry? Meaning you can fly out of south africa and come back in during your visa period?

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
  68. Thank you for this information, it has been very helpful. I to am responsible for assisting with visa extensions for our clients and every day i’m learning something news!

    Reply
  69. Thank you for this information provided. It worth reading over and over. However, my issue is someohow complicated. I have a study visa that will expire 3 months to the expiring of my passport and I wish to renew. What can I do plesse. Also, I plan to travel out of South Africa soon to another country (for about a year) to continue my study but will still need to come back to South Africa to finish my study and by that time my study permit would have expired. I am so confused on what to do at the moment. Please advice. Thank you.

    Reply
  70. Hi! Thank you so much for this post, it was very useful. I have just been down to VFS in Cape Town and submitted my papers. However, I’m now a bit worried about my bank statements which I submitted. I submitted savings account statements showing £1500 in the last statement. However, I have three questions:

    1) Do you have any idea if £1500 is enough for 4 more months staying in SA?

    2) My bank statement doesn’t actually say the currency on – I’m worried they’ll assume it’s R. -did your’s have Canadian currency marked on it somewhere? Do you think I should go into the VFS office to clarify?

    3) I just printed mine out from my online bank accounts – they didn’t have a certifcation stamp on – do you think this will be okay? Were your Canadian statements certified in any way?

    Sorry for all the questions!

    Reply
    • Hi Ruby. I can help you on your 3rd question: printed, uncertified statements were fine. On the other two, I don’t know. One commenter had the bad luck of the agent reading his $5,000 balance as R5,000, so he was denied. Hopefully £1500 gets read correctly and is deemed sufficient. It’s too late to do anything about now, I suppose (unless you race back to VFS). Let us know how it goes. Fingers crossed.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your help! That’s a relief re. uncertified docs! Thankfully I will probably hopefully have plenty of time to appeal as I submitted in the first 20 days of being here – I actually will have more money in my bank account by the time I would need to appeal – I didn’t realise that you can actually submit wage advance slips, invoices you’ve sent for work, proof of credit card limits and letters from hosts in SA/family members who are willing to financially support you! This could possibly be a helpful addition to your blog.

        Thank you again – I would have been totally lost without this page!

        Reply
  71. Hi Kim & Chris,

    Thanks so much for putting this together, immensely useful!

    Quick question for you: does the return flight have to be within the original 90 days, or does it have to be in the next 90 days (when we’re actually hoping to leave)? Or does it not matter?

    Thanks!
    Phil

    Reply
    • Hi Phil. Within the next 90 days. I’ve heard anecdotes that sometimes people get extended up to the date of that flight, so you’re safest to show flights for the date you intend to leave, or get refundable flights for the latest date possible.

      Reply
  72. Hey, quick question.
    At VFS, did they return the passport to you after you submitted the docs??
    I found that odd, but not completely crazy since the visa is basically a sticker and (I guess) they don’t want you to move around without your main ID.
    Still… I thought it was odd.

    Reply
    • Hey Malola. Yes they did. And, yeah, in other countries they hold onto it while they submit the application. I guess maybe because they don’t want to screw you over even more by taking so long that you need to leave already but can’t because you don’t have your passport?

      Reply
  73. thanks so much guys this is very helpful. My question (if you don’t mind) is whether the TRV- Revewal Section 11(1) is the right route to take on the application (though I cannot see a better alternative) where (like me) you are exempt from needing a s.11(1) visa. I have an Irish passport and the stamp on my passport giving me 90 days does not look like yours. It doesn’t say ‘visitors permit’ or ‘Section 11(1)’. It just says name of airport and date of entry and date it expires (90 days). If you are visa exempt how can you extend the visa that you don’t have?
    I need to apply by Tuesday to be within the 30 days and then won’t be around for an appointment until late December as we are going to Kruger so hoping that leaves enough time. But mostly I don’t want to pay fees x 5 of us (family) if this is the wrong route. All ideas Welcome! thanks so much, Ruth

    Reply
    • Hi Ruth. Maybe I’m wrong or missing something, but I don’t believe your Irish citizenship entitles you to a different visa (or visitors permit) than the ones I’ve gotten in the past using my Canadian passport once and Swiss one the other time. I believe you and your family will have to go through the whole process. If so, and if you have over a month left in your passport by late December, you should be fine for timing. Sounds like your family’s having quite the epic trip. Enjoy!

      Reply
  74. So in theory tourist visa renewal is open again, in practice when you go to pay it previews the “Earliest appointment dates” on the right. The earliest available date is Jan 25th (currently Dec 13th).

    Obviously between the 1.5 months there and actual visa processing time this is useless for doing a renewal inside the original visa window. Any idea if the “Earliest appointment dates” preview is accurate, or do they actually have availability right now (Cape town office)?

    Reached out via phone and email to the office, no response aside from they are not accepting walk ins due to covid.

    Reply
    • Hi Hank. Thanks for the info and question. I don’t know about the windows. Yikes. We’re also going to need to extend in CT around the same dates as you, so if they’re that backed up, it could be a bit of an issue for us, too. As long as you’re planning to leave later than late Feb, an appointment the end of Jan shouldn’t be an issue. You can stay in the country while you await your extension and if you apply on, say Jan 25, you should get your extension before you need it.

      Reply
      • Based on what Annika said below I went ahead and tried to pay to get access to the full calendar, but had 3 cards from 3 different banks fail to go through (2 credit, 1 debit, all visa/mastercard that otherwise work fine down here).

        For extra fun the VFS office just got evacuated due to a confirmed covid case, so they cancelled all visa appointments for at least the rest of the week.

        Can’t do the stay in country while awaiting extension trick due to potentially having to leave abruptly (family members with health conditions). Also the fun horror stories about not hearing back for 9 months!

        Reply
        • Got a payment through on a different browser (firefox worked, chrome didn’t). No appointments available in Cape Town through Mar 2021 (there was availability in other cities)

          Reply
          • Thanks for the update, Hank. That’s bad news. What’s your plan? Kim’s going to beg for an extension when we go to Namibia over New Year’s. I’m gonna swap passports to get a new stamp. But if Kim doesn’t succeed and there are zero appointments, we’re in the same boat as you. Maybe have to fly somewhere before the 90 days expire?

  75. First of all, thanks for writing all this down, it helps tremendously! Just wanting to share my experience. I thought I’d apply within the first 30 days of my arrival (I arrived 2 weeks ago). I just went for my appointment at vfs in CT and the officer told me that I should come back in 2 months, because if she submitted my application now, I would only get an extension from the submission date. So it seems like this is still a thing. She also said that I could overstay as long as my visa process is still ongoing, only if I were to leave after my first 90 days without waiting for the outcome of my extension would I be banned.
    She also said that proof of accommodation is needed, apparently best to have a letter from a local including a utility bill or something to prove their identity.

    Reply
    • Thanks Annika! Disheartening but helpful to hear that getting 90 days from extension date is still a thing. Kim and I returned in early Dec to stay 4 months, so we’ll apply late Jan / early Feb to play safe.
      I’ll add the detail you shared on the proof of accommodation, now. Thanks again!

      Reply
  76. Hi,
    I applied for extension of 6 days ( I thought I will leave that day) but I couldn’t get an appointment because of Christmas time, so I had to say to have my appointment.
    If I applied for 6 days am I getting 6 days or 30 days visa extension???
    Should I make another application for more days ( I paid arleady – do I pay again?)

    Reply
  77. Cape Town update: they released some appointments for Jan 5 – 15th (booked one for early Jan 5)

    Visa runs to another country got harder as multiple CT labs are denying PCRs for travel purposes due to shortages

    Reply
  78. Hi there,

    Thank you for helping out people with this so valuable information. My question is that, if someone is a positive of Covid-19 and confined to the place of residence, how can he\she approach the VFS Global to extend the visit visa which is due to expire in short while.

    Are there any government approved agent help in this regard, if so, could you please provide with there contact number.

    Thank you & best regards

    Reply
  79. Hi!

    I cannot believe there is so much uncertainty around something so important!

    My boyfriend is in a similar situation, been here since March 2020 and the visitor visa expires 30th Jan 2021. I am luckily a South African Citizen.

    VFS told me this morning to apply for an extension and he will not be required to leave if he has submitted the extension. We are applying with only 19 days to spare.

    It’s unclear tho, will we be allowed to leave the country while we await the verdict of the extension?
    After reading the horror story of it being rejected and having to appeal and while waiting for the appeal you cannot leave the country, we are nervous of going the extension route! That could mean that we cannot leave the country for months without consequences. Have I understood that correctly?

    We am considering just travelling to Zanzibar for a while and then pleading with border control officer to renew the 90 days. Do you know a lot of success stories or any more advice for travelling to a non-neighbouring country for Visa renewal?

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hello Cassidy,

      I have the same dilemma as your boyfriend. I came here in March 2020 and grace period will expire on Jan 31st 2021. I also have the same questions as you do and now, my country has banned travelers from South Africa and even if I’m allowed to go home, I cannot get any flights right now.
      I already ask people and neither they don’t know the answer as it is unsure. Just hoping that the grace period will be extended. I’m applying for the extension no matter what, so that I can at least have proof that I tried to submit it even if there are no appointments available or whatsoever.
      The things is.. everything now is uncertain. There is a Pandemic going on and it is the first time in our generation that we are experiencing this, that even the Governments from all over the world are having difficulties to subdue it, and now new strains are popping. As I see it, we are not the priority right now and I am just hoping they will not be that strict with us.

      Reply
  80. Hi Jasmin,

    It seems that Cyril will be speaking tonight at 8pm.

    I am so sorry to hear about your situation! I had no idea that some people were unable to get flights home. My boyfriend is from the UK and so there are flights available.

    I am just nervous about him not being allowed to leave SA once applying for an extension and afterwards, during the appeal, if rejected.

    I think we will just go to Zanzibar and hope for the best when coming back into SA.

    Good Luck!

    Reply
    • This is good news. Thank you for sharing this. I arrived in SA end of November and my visa expires end of February. So hopefully the March extenstion applies to me as well.

      Reply
  81. This is good news. Thank you for sharing this. I arrived in SA end of November and my visa expires end of February. So hopefully the March extenstion applies to me as well.

    Reply
  82. This is a very useful article! I applied for an extension yesterday and I sailed through the process. I’;m sure I wouldn’t have done so had I not found this article.

    Lets just hope I’m accepted now!

    Thanks for all your efforts!

    Reply
    • As per the government notice commenced in 11 Jan 2021 “A foreign tourist who arrived in the Republic prior to the
      commencement of this regulation. will have his or her visa automatically extended to 31 March 2021.”
      That means: The extension also applies to any foreigner who has travelled to South Africa in the last ten months and is still unable to return to their country of origin.

      Reply
        • Hi,
          Thanks for the useful update re extended grace period to 31 March. I’m hoping to stay longer than that so I applied for the renewal and attended my VFS appointment yesterday (although with just under a month to spare). I had a letter from my partner (an SA citizen) stating that I’d be staying with him for the duration of my stay, as well as support me financially if necessary. Although I’d brought proof of his accommodation and bank statements as suggested here, they insisted on seeing his ID book and taking a copy of it. Luckily, he was waiting for me and had his ID with him and they were willing to let me return a few minutes later to complete the application. I thought it might be useful for others to know that VFS may also need to see the ID book of any relatives/friends who have written letters as your proof of accommodation or financial means. This was at the VFS in Durban. Hopefully they’ll now grant me the visa extension!

          Reply
  83. Hi Guys. I’m in Cape Town on a 3 month tourist visa. I’ve a quick question (that I need a reply to ASAP please if possible) re : document requirements prior to going through the application online for a tourist visa extension.

    Do you need a medical and radiology report if applying under V11(1)? I rang VSF and asked but they could not say and kept telling me to check on a computer with internet explorer to check the requirements! I’m on a mac with no access to explorer. Also the supporting documents you mentioned in your article, do you need to attach those online or just take them to the appointment (giving more time to collate them 🙂 I’ve 55 days left on my visa and ready to get an appointment to extend. Many thanks. Jo

    Reply
  84. Hi all,
    Firstly this thread has been so helpful, however I want to gain further clarity – I arrived in SA in November 2020 on a 3 month tourist visa from the UK which expires 10th Feb.
    The UK has currently banned all flights from the SA so its impossible to get a flight out before my 3month visa ends.
    Am I right in thinking from the announcement made by the President on the 11th of Jan that the visa will be extended until 31st March? Its not just relevant to visas that have expired already?
    Do I need to visit VFS to get this approved or have this in writing in order to stay past my current visa date or is just now an automatic status.
    All advice welcome I really do not want to be in a position where I overstay wrongly and not able to visit again in the future.
    Natasha

    Reply
    • Hi, I’m in the exact same situation as you Natasha. Hoping someone will be able to clarify if those of us that have arrived since the initial lockdown will be included in the recent tourist extension. It would also be really helpful to know what documentation or anything we might need to be sure we don’t have trouble with immigration when we are able to leave. Please share any insights if you get them. Thanks!

      Reply
  85. Hello! First I’d like to say that this article was extremely insightful and helpful. I am an American that arrived to South Africa Nov 30th and my visitors visa will expire Feb 28th. I’m wondering if anybody out there has tried the visa run method recently and what success they’ve had with it. With how terrible the VFS and application process seems I’m wondering if I should visa run to Rwanda (as I was there for 10 days prior to arriving to South Africa) on the day my visitor’s visa expires and return 7 days later to joburg and cross my fingers for 90 days more. Any anecdotes shared with the visa run method would be most appreciated. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Matthew, I would also welcome hearing about the visa run too.
      Although with the presidents announcement on the 11th Jan I’m led to believe (from this thread mostly but it does state on the government website also) your visitors visa will automatically be extended until 31st March. So there an additional month for you!!

      Reply
    • Hi Matthew. Like Nathasha said, visitor’s visas have been extended to Mar 31. To extend further, I’ve written above that we had success doing a visa run to Rwanda last year. And this year upon return from a 4-day trip in Namibia we asked for an extra 31 days and the agent was kind enough to oblige.

      Reply
  86. Thanks for sharing here’s my story.
    I arrived to SA 30 October 2020 did my visa extension application 8 days later – meeting at Vfs and got sms confirmation 27 November application was forwarded to DHA – everything looked perfect.
    1 February 2021 94 days after my arrival to SA the application is still not processed at DHA.
    According to border control at Cape Town airport they don’t have any instructions saying the 31 March rule applies to everyone only those who have been stucked since March 2020.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing, too, Peter. I’m sorry to hear you haven’t heard back from the DHA still. Hopefully whoever you heard from at CT border control is mistaken so the March 31 rule applies to you, too. Let us know how it works out for you.

      Reply
  87. Hi all,

    First of all, thank you for the page.

    My situation is I arrived from UK in Cape town 5th Dec on a 3-month, so this would otherwise expire on 5th March. My return flight was cancelled on 9th Jan.

    It seems there is slight uncertainty over whether the announcement on 11th Jan would mean my Visa is extended to 31st March. According to BusinessInsider: “the extension also applies to any foreigner who has travelled to South Africa in the last ten months and is still unable to return to their country of origin before April”. What does it mean exactly to be unable to return? I can no longer fly direct, but (I think) I probably could manage to return to the UK via other countries – although I shouldn’t really and don’t want to. Am I worrying about nothing or is there potential for quibbling?

    If the Visa extension does apply to me, then do I need to do anything – or will border control just accept that the extension applied to me? I’d feel far more comfortable with a new stamp or some sort of letter.

    One more thing – when attempting to sign up with VFS per the instructions, it tells me my password doesn’t meet the correct format (it does), so I cannot progress this.

    Thanks for any help

    Reply
    • Hi Edwin. Unfortunately, I’m not 100% sure about the Mar 31 extension. Maybe 95%. Based on what I’ve heard from people who’ve left recently and the most common interpretation of the Jan 11 announcement, nobody who leaves by Mar 31 should be concerned about being banned, but Peter’s previous comment makes me slightly uncertain.
      And sorry, but I don’t have any ideas for you on your password issue. All the best with sorting it out.

      Reply
    • The password format error message “Minimum 8 characters atleast 1 Alphabet, 1 Number and 1 Special Character (except ? symbol)” that I saw and copied sometime last year seemed to be wrong. I had more luck on a second attempt with both lower- and uppercase letters, and using only ‘@’ as the special character, so you could try that, but I did not want to spend time to figure out the exact rules, and maybe things have even changed since then.

      Reply
  88. Thank you for the great detailed article! Went to VFS yesterday in Cape Town and just wanted to add a few things specific to enquiries by families:
    – I had to provide a copy of my child’s birth certificate
    – I had to write a letter to explain that I am financially responsible for my son
    – I had to make 3 copies of each document (e.g. accomodation reservation, flight confirmation, etc.), one per applicant, as they are processed independently

    Hope that helps anyone!

    Reply
  89. Hello there,
    First of all, thank you so much for this information! It has been such a great help. I do have one question and forgive me if it has already been answered.
    I have filled out my application, paid, scheduled an appointment and now just printed my documents. During the the visa application part, it asks for your Residential Address, now I assumed that meant for Canada, so I proceeded to fill out my families details with this Canadian address. Now, I realized after printing the forms, it now says “Residential Address in the Republic”. Question is, do I have to start all over again with the application? Cancel my appointment, ask for a refund etc…?

    Reply
    • Hi David. Sorry, I don’t know. Ryan, in the comment below, says he made the same mistake and didn’t have an issue (though he hasn’t gotten approval yet). Probably best to ask VFS.

      Reply
  90. I did this exact same thing and just submitted my application anyways with my United States address. I made it all the way through the process with no issues so I think it is okay. I applied on January 13th and still haven’t received a single email or notification a month later though so I don’t have high hopes of my application being processed before March 31st. Am I correct in thinking that I need to leave before March 31st if I don’t want to risk being banned for 5 years while waiting for my visa extension?

    Reply
    • Hi Ryan. Thanks for your insight on David’s question. On your question, if you stay beyond Mar 31 you’ll be ok so long as you get your approval back from the DHA before your extension’s over and have to leave. If you don’t ever hear back, you’re probably going to get banned. And if they reject your application you’ll be given a few days (not sure on the exact number) to leave the country.

      Reply
  91. Hi, I am very late to renew my visa (appointment for the 1st of March).

    Now I wonder: can I still apply but leave the country on the 31st if I don’t hear from them (to avoid a possible rejection past my visa dates and exclusion)? Will I be banned if I leave with a pending application?

    OR Should I just cancel, go home and come back later? Is that a safer option at this point?

    Thanks!

    Reply
      • Hi Chris,

        Thanks SO much for such an informative blog… I’ve read many of the comments in a bid to gain clarity but can’t quite find the answer I’m looking for, so hoping you could confirm!

        Planning on coming to SA in October on a 90 day visa… as I understand, should we want to extend this beyond 90 days, we’re best doing this within the first month? However, if we do this in the first month, there is risk that the visa extension of 90 days, will be from that date as opposed to the end of the original 90 days? I’m also confused because if the extension approval process exceeds the end date on the visa (i.e. takes over 2 months), we’d have to leave the country not knowing if we’d been granted an extension or not?

        My second query is around leaving SA to another non-bordering country, and returning in a bid to renew the 90 days. It sounds like you’ve heard success stories of this? But also sounds like this is best done on say day 85, and returning no sooner than 6 days later? I guess you have to assume you may not be granted back, and therefore pack up everything with you / end any rental contract etc?

        Hope that all makes sense!! Thanks so much!

        Reply
        • Hi Nicola. Your understanding of the risk of applying early. If the extension process goes beyond the date your initial 90 days expires, you can stay in the country until you hear back, but if you leave, you’ll be leaving on an expired permit and be punished accordingly.
          Flying to a non-bordering country does seem to work. There’s no risk, that I’m aware of, that you won’t be allowed back in, so no need to pack everything. If it doesn’t work, for whatever reason, you could go to VFS and apply for an extension as your back-up plan.
          I’m no expert, so don’t take my word for anything. Just my understanding. Hope it helps.

          Reply
  92. HI This is so useful but I have not looked at all the comments so hope you haven’t answered this question already. Last year I extended my 90 day visa by saying I needed to be here to continue building my house. I want to renew my 90 day visa this year but don’t know what reasons they will accept. Last year a friend said she was working as a volunteer with animals, they did not accept this as she had to be working with people to get the extension. She reapplied saying she wanted to travel more round SA and was given it. What reasons are acceptable? Thanks Jayne

    Reply
  93. Hi Chris. This has been an informative site. I made a renewal to VFS in January 2021 and I was successful. Looking back, I realized I put a different Visa number (the number that appears on my actual permit) and that my letter was addressed to home affairs, but to the cape town branch. Do you think this would be an issue in getting acceptance?

    Reply
    • Hi Wilson. I can’t say for sure, but I presume the agent at VFS reviewed your docs before sending them, so hopefully that means it’s good enough. Neither minor mistake should affect the sticker you’ll get from the DHA to put on your passport, with the extended date, assuming you’re approved. Let us know how it goes.

      Reply
      • Thanks Chris. I also believe that the documents would have to be checked quite thoroughly before going through. It eases my mind a little more to hear someone else agree too. I truly want to believe that the DHA aren’t unreasonable people and that they won’t such minor mistakes against me. It’s been just over a month since I applied so I’m hoping to get some response back soon.

        Reply
  94. Chris, praise be to you my friend for all the people you’ve helped.

    A quick summary of my situation in case I can provide assistance:

    Arrived March 2020
    Applied for a 90 day extension on January 12th, outcome delivered to VFS on February 23rd. I can only see the result when I pick it up on March 12th (I’ve tried).

    Regardless of the outcome I will have to do a visa run at some point. It seems flying to a non-bordering country is the best option.

    Does anyone have recent experience doing this?
    Is there a certain amount of time I should stay out of SA before returning? Lastly, does anyone have experience flying (not overland) to a bordering country and back?

    Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions of your own. Thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • Visa extension was approved, so to summarize the timeline:
      Booked appointment on December 10th
      Appointment on January 12th
      Outcome delivered to VFS on February 23rd
      Collection by appointment on March 12th

      I’ve done a significant amount of research on a visa run, and Rwanda seems to be the best option. However I haven’t found anything on how long one should remain out of the country.

      Reply
      • Hi Tomas,
        This is great news for you. Can I please ask did you use the same reason in this post as to why you wanted the 90 day extension or did you use Covid?
        Natasha

        Reply
        • Hi Natasha,

          Here’s what I wrote:
          I wish to extend my Visitors Permit in order to remain in South Africa until April 30, 2021, as I wait for my job aboard cruise ships to recommence. I have attached a copy of my letter of employment and seaman’s visa.
          I am a UK citizen, but have not lived there for over 20 years. My family resides in Honduras, and due to the pandemic it is extremely difficult and risky for me to return, as flights are very limited and would involve traversing multiple countries severely affected by the virus.
          Thank you for welcoming me into your amazing country, and for your time and consideration.
          I feel you could use both reasons—they want tourism, and Covid is still incredibly relevant in terms of travel/flights/etc.

          Reply
  95. Hi Chris,

    Thanks a lot for this article, it helped me a lot finding answers I couldn’t get anywhere else!

    I just have a few questions:

    – I am supposed to go to SA the 10th of May and want to stay there for 6 months to do a field guide formation, so I’ll need to ask for a visa extention. If I apply for my extension at the beginning of June and they grant it to me, does it mean I can stay 90 days more starting at the end of the date of my previous visa which will be the 8th of August or 90 days more starting the day of my application? Will I be able to do 180 days straight in SA then or not?

    – If they don’t grant me my extension visa, is it still possible to fly out to non neighboring countries at the end of my 90 days and then come back to SA and have a new 90 days visa? If it is the case, how long do I have to stay in that non neighboring country before I can come back? Or can I fly back to SA right after? I am from France originally and was wondering if it is better to go back to France or just fly to a close non neighboring country and then come right back to SA the next day or so? As I wanna be back to SA as quickly as possible for my formation 🙂

    Thank you again for your help!

    Alexis

    Reply
    • Hi Alexis. If you apply in the beginning of June, they should extend you to give you a full 180 days, but some people report DHA agents only extending 90 days from the date of extension. That’s why some advise to wait later into your initial 90 days before applying for an extension.
      Yes, if you fly out within your first 90 days, it doesn’t matter whether or not you applied for an extension or not. You’ll get an exit stamp, then a new entrance stamp, and 90 days, upon your return. I don’t know how long you need to leave the country for. Technically, you need to return home, but as I’ve reported above and many others have reported, too, the agents don’t seem to care where you’re flying in from. They’ll just give you your stamp.

      Reply
  96. I applied for a renewal of my current 3 year visa in October 2020 and still haven’t heard anything. I’m curious if they get processed separately, given that you (Tomas) asked for a 90 day extension and your decision has been received by VFS already.

    I’m finding the waiting game very stressful.

    Reply
      • Hi Tomas,

        It was a renewal for my current 3 year visitor visa to conduct volunteering. I received confirmation that my application had been received by home affairs and then again when it went for adjudication.

        Reply
        • Hey Katharine,
          Did you receive both the Inscanned and Outscanned Adjudication emails? I got them on the same day, and the final outcome 4 days later, though I figure yours would probably take longer. What do they say when you call/email?

          Reply
        • And when you track it online? From what I’m seeing on the VFS site the max processing time for a temporary visitors visa renewal is 60 days :/

          Reply
          • When I track online it just says it’s with home affairs. I’ve contacted vfs and they’ve also confirmed it’s still being processed. I just got one text message about adjudication so I’m guessing only inscanned? I’ve not been getting email info, just texts. I also saw 60 day processing time, but I do know others who have waited a long time. Also, I’ve heard that the court orders that applications should be seen to within 30 days so I really have been waiting a long time!

  97. Hi all,

    I know there hasn’t been anything official announced just yet – but do people think the visitors visa will be extended again past 31st March 2021?
    There are still no direct flights back to the UK and not to mention the very expensive quarantine hotels that’s expected if there was.
    Should I apply for the extension tourist visa – do I have enough time still?
    Am I likely to even get an appointment now before 31st March.
    Many thanks,

    Reply
    • Hey Natasha,

      I just called VFS. They have no information on whether there will be another extension past March 31st at this time.

      The only way to see if there are appointments available is to fill out the application. There is an option to refund, but I don’t know what the stipulations are. I was also told that if the appointment were to be after March 31st, it would be considered as overstaying. I would give them a call (012 425 3000).

      Reply
  98. I would also like to know any thoughts on whether there is likely to be another extension past 31st March? It would be incredibly difficult and expensive for me to travel back to my home country. I applied for an extension in mid-January anyway, but have heard nothing back from DHA. It seems very few people are getting responses – or am I wrong in thinking this? My other question is whether anyone has done a visa run to a non-neighbouring country in the last couple of months? I don’t want to get trapped somewhere! As to your question Natasha, I was able to book an appointment for a few days after filling in the forms and paying online, and there seemed to be plenty of options. I think you should get an appointment before 31st March, although how long the reply will take is another matter!

    Reply
  99. Hi

    I entered on a UK passport and my visa is up in 10 days, can I leave on my UK passport go to Namibia and come back on a Irish passport ? Has anyone any experience with this. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Shane. I tried this with my Canadian and Swiss passports. The Namibian agent on the way into Namibia wouldn’t stamp me in with a different passport than I used in SA. She gave me a bunch of shit for trying. So then when I returned to Namibia from South Africa, I didn’t have Namibian stamps on my second passport, so I didn’t bother trying to give that unstamped passport to the SA agents. Didn’t seem like it had a chance. They’d see there was no Namibia stamp and ask questions, too. The SA agent gave me the extension on my first passport anyway, when I asked.

      Reply
  100. First of all THANK YOU for this article and the information in it.
    I too am in the same situation as Natasha and Myf, I haven’t submitted the application for renewal yet but I will probably do it tomorrow, and cross my fingers I get an appointed before the end of March.
    Do you think flying to Zanzibar would work, otherwise?
    Although borders are open here in SA, it doesn’t mean they are where we came from, for me going back to Italy would be very complicated, they’re back to complete lockdown again. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Hey Luna. I have friends that have extended their visas going to Zanzibar in the past so it should work. That was pre-COVID. Not sure if they’re clamping down now, but I highly doubt it.

      Reply
      • Thank you Chris for your answer. When it rains it pours, they say, and I had a medical emergency for which I will need surgery, on Wednesday, making it impossible for me to travel for at least 10 days after that, not to mention check ups etc. So, I will apply for a renewal, do you think it would be useful to mention this in the letter for the renewal? Thanks again for taking the time to answer to our comments!

        Reply
  101. Hi there, this is incredibly helpful. Thank you, thank you. I note that you caution against overland visa runs to neighboring countries. Do you know anything about flying to/from neighboring countries for getting a new visa for SA? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Kelsey. I’ve heard anecdotally that it works. The immigration agents at the airport don’t ask you where you’re coming from. They just stamp. But, as you probably know, the policy says that shouldn’t happen, so you’re taking a bit of a risk of not getting your extension if you try.

      Reply
  102. So, you can apply for two extensions.
    When I picked up my outcome a few days ago, one of the agents mentioned something about applying for a second one. I just called VFS—twice—and they told me it is indeed possible.
    I asked what would happen if while waiting for the outcome of the second extension I overstayed, and the agent said that the receipt allows one to remain in the country until the outcome. If the request were denied, it would include a letter with instructions on what to do—leave promptly, I assume.

    Reply
    • As per VFS, if the application is denied you are given 10 days to leave the country. Currently there are appointments available from March 23rd until the end of the month.

      Reply
    • PLEASE NOTE: I just called DHA and they told me it is not possible to get a second extension. They’re closed now, so I’ll call again tomorrow to verify.

      Reply
          • Update: there is nowhere in writing that officially states you cannot apply for more than one extension—just that per extension you can get a max of 90 days. I have spoken to several people who have done it, including a highly recommended immigration lawyer.

  103. Hi Chris
    Thank you so much for your article.
    It has been so super helpful for my German Boyfriend.
    So kind of you to take the time and research all of this.

    Reply
  104. Hello.
    First of all, I would like to say thank you so very much guys for such a great blog and help.

    I think I made a mistake with my resident address in my form.
    I put my Chilean address instead my South african one.

    And I’ve got already my appointment.
    Can you give me any advice regarding this?

    Thanks so very much once again.

    Reply
    • Hey Fernanda, I put also my address from home in the UK as residence but still didn’t submit my application… is this a problem? Were you able to find out or sort it out?

      Thank you
      Mario

      Reply
      • I also put an overseas address – for some reason, the form just asks for your ‘residential address’ when you complete the application, but when you’ve completed it and print out the documents, this question suddenly appears as ‘residential address in RSA’. It must be a mistake in the system. The VFS agent accepted my application and didn’t mention the address, so I think it shouldn’t be an issue. I’m still waiting for the outcome though.

        Reply
  105. For those who have made it through the process, I’m currently tracking my application with the VFS online tracking. Since January 14th it has just said it has arrived at DHA, but today it finally updated and says that it was forwarded to VFC. What step of the process is this? Do you know how long it will likely be until I can collect a decision? I really hope I can collect before March 31st so if the decision is yes then I can stay further.

    Reply
    • You should get an email tomorrow with the link to make a collection appointment. I had to wait 2 weeks to actually collect it, but there seem to be more appointments available now, so fingers crossed.

      Reply
  106. Hi Chris and all,

    I still haven’t applied for the extension for different reasons and see there are few spots before 31/03/2021 to get an appointment. I would only need to stay 30 days more to return back to UK.

    If let’s say I submit my application now before 31/03 and the response doesn’t come in time when I have to leave (30 days), from what I’ve seen very likely given the current delays…

    Can I leave without that response and without being declared undesirable? If so, how? Showing the application extension at the airport, does it work?

    Thanks in advance for your all your help, I truly appreciate the time and effort put here to help others…
    Best

    Reply
  107. Hi All – something to add to my previous question if you wait for the response and let’s say you’re rejected, can you leave the country during those days without being declared undesirable? I read the previous comment from somebody who was banned but VFS and DHA both say this shouldn’t be the case… has anybody else has experienced this banned or can explain further if I am missing something?

    Thank you very much in advance to all,
    Cheers

    Stephen

    Reply
  108. Thank you for that info – I’ve joined the group and have already found it really useful and would also recommend it. Someone on the SA Visa Forum claimed that a further extension would be announced soon. They seem to have spoken to an official. Although I can’t be certain that this is the case, it appears likely that some announcement will be made this week that will give us all some clarity. I know many people have been waiting a long time for the outcome of a renewal!

    Reply
  109. Yes – finally – there will be an extension! Only announced an hour or so ago. Government has extended the visas to 30th June in another government gazette, so this appears to be legitimate. I’m not able to attach files here, but here is the relevant wording:

    Reply
    • Amendment of paragraphs 12.3, 19, 20 and 21.1 of the Directions
      2.1 Paragraphs 12.3, 19, 20 and 21.1 of the Directions are hereby amended by the substitution for
      the date 31 March 2021 referred to in these paragraphs, of the date 30 June 2021, as the date until
      which the validity of visas and permits is extended and the date until which a person holding such
      visa or permit may leave the Republic without being declared as undesirable, respectively.
      2.2 The extension of the validity of visas or permits referred to in paragraph 2.1 above –
      (a) applies to visas issued for a period of less than 90 days which expired during the national
      state of disaster; and
      (b) does not apply to-
      (i) visas issued for more than 90 days up to 3 years, study visas, treaty visas,
      business visas, medical treatment visas, general work visas, critical skills work
      visas, retired person visa and exchange visas which expired during the national
      state of disaster, whose holders must apply for visas at
      on or before 31 July 2021; and
      (ii) any visa or permit obtained on or after, or to persons who entered the Republic on
      or after, 15 March 2021.
      If you google ’26 March 2021 government gazette’ you should also be able to find it there.

      Reply
  110. This automatic extension until 30th June is indeed great news. It’s just annoying how they leave it to the last minute.
    Like so many others I’m sure, I had an appointment scheduled to submit my extension request next week so I paid the R1,775 fee and now by cancelling and requesting a refund a R850 cancellaton fee will be deducted and I’ll eventually get back R925. VFS must be making some good free money with these last minute extensions.

    Reply
    • The same happened to me. I ended up hiring an immigration lawyer and the plan is to reschedule the appointment for June. I asked about having to amend my forms, but she told me it’s not necessary. You can specify the dates in your letter, and apparently most of the time they just go three months from the time they adjudicate the application.

      Reply
  111. Hi there! Thank you for the post. I’m looking to get visa renewals for my family and have 2 questions: 1: on the payment page there is an option for ‘Premium Lounge’ for an additional 500 Rand – do you think the would make much of a difference. 2: Is there a way to get a child’s appointment at the same time as yours? Thank you!

    Reply
  112. I just caught up on the thread – and I may not need it now with this extension…Do you know if you have to go anywhere to get this approved/verified in your passport? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Rumana. You don’t have to do anything. Until June 30, the immigration agents will let everyone leave no questions asked (or visa extension needed).

      Reply
  113. Hello everyone! I’m a UK citizen and in waiting for the visa extension in March, I applied for a visitor visa extension on 24th March just before the announcement was made. My application is still being processed which means I can’t leave the country in the meantime. However with my visa having been extended to 30th June anyway, should I still be waiting for my application to be approved?
    I’m looking to leave the country within the next month.
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • I’m facing the same issue. I applied for an extension on March 8th 2021. I still haven’t heard anything, but I must go home soon due to personal circumstances. My flight is on June 12th. As visas are extended till June 30th, can I just leave? Or do I have to wait and pick up the decision (god knows when). Does anyone know what could happen if I leave before I get the verdict from VFS?

      Reply
  114. Hi! Thank you so much for the step by step.
    Im just reall struggling with the uncertainty surrounding these informations…
    Ive called the Department of Home Affairs (April/2021) to ask if I could go to my birth country (Brazil) and come back 1 week later for another 90 days and they told me I am only allowed to stay in South Africa 90 DAYS PER YEAR.

    Im so confused… I went to Zambia and Namibia for 8 days and I got the same deadline when I came back to SA. Now Im willing to go to France or even Brazil in order to be able to stay more three months and, according to DHA, I cant.

    But Ive read your comments here and it seems to be pretty common… Should I take the risk?

    Reply
    • Hi Gabriela. Technically that may be the case, but the DHA doesn’t keep track. Tons of people do it.
      As for Zambia and Namibia, yeah, if you go overland they are unlikely to extend you. If you fly, they are unlikely not to.

      Reply
  115. Quick version:

    I’m British and I arrived in South Africa 17th Nov 2020. I submitted my application to extend my tourist visa with VFS on 8th Feb 2021, and I received the approval on 12th April. My extended tourist visa is valid until 24th June 2021 (which is kind of irrelevant as all tourist visa are extended to 30th June anyway).

    I need to stay in South a little longer, as I can’t go ahead with my original plans to travel through Asia, due to Covid. I don’t know how long I will need to stay for, but another 90 days would be ideal to give me a bit of time to wait and see which other countries open up to tourism.

    What are my options? Can I apply for a 2nd extension through VFS, and how likely is it to be approved? Can I fly to any other country (ideally somewhere in Africa or Mauritius) and expect receive a new 90 days when I return, or does it have to be my home country (UK)? If it has to be a flight to the UK, would an immediate turnaround (i.e. flying to and from the UK within 24 hours, to avoid leaving the UK airport and having to quarantine) work? I have a second passport (USA) – can I use that somehow?

    Reply
    • Sorry – this was supposed to go up top! 🙂

      Hi Chris & Kim. Thanks for putting together such a useful set of instructions! I followed them and I have just received my 90 day tourist visa extension. My girlfriend and I also used your ‘The Hectic Route’ guide to plan a Joburg to Cape Town road trip we did in November last year, so we’re both really grateful for your awesome blog!

      I have some questions about my options for staying in SA for more than 180 days, and I’m hoping you, or any of your readers, may be able to help. I’ve included a quick version, and a slightly longer more detailed version below for anybody who has the time 🙂

      Reply
      • Long/detailed version:

        Background: My girlfriend is South African and I’m British. We met in Dubai in 2015 and lived together there for 5 years. In March 2020, we left Dubai permanently, and our plan was to travel Asia for a year (we weren’t sure where we’d go after that). Our first stop after Dubai was the UK, where we planned to stay for 3 weeks, but we ended up getting stuck in lockdown for 8 months, living with my parents. In November, we came to South Africa, as we felt it was the best place for us to “wait out the pandemic”, before we could start our travels.

        We arrived in South Africa 17th Nov 2020. I submitted my application to extend my tourist visa with VFS on 8th Feb 2021, and I received the approval on 12th April. My extended tourist visa is valid until 24th June 2021 (which is kind of irrelevant as all tourist visa are extended to 30th June anyway).

        We would like to stay in SA a little longer, as any other travel options are still very limited. Also, it’s likely my girlfriend will need surgery in June, with a six-week recovery period, so we’d like to stay put while she gets through that. Of course, as a South African citizen, she can stay as long as she likes, but I will need to extend my visa somehow.

        Reply
        • Cont….

          I’m wondering what my options are…

          VFS have told me I can go ahead and apply for a 2nd extension, but they can’t tell me whether or not it will be approved, and from what I’m reading online, 2nd extensions generally aren’t approved (I’m not sure if any special allowances will be made because of Covid-19).

          I assumed the alternative would be to take an international flight somewhere, and get another 90 days on my return, but the manager at VFS told me I would only get another 90 days if I flew to my home country (UK). He said if I flew anywhere else, I would be given a lesser number of days on my return (anything from 1 to 15 days most probably).

          Flying to the UK is difficult as I would need to do a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine, and I’d have to pay the government over £1,000 for the privilege. I’m wondering if an immediate turnaround flight to the UK (i.e. I don’t leave the airport, therefore avoiding having to quarantine) would result in a new 90 day tourist visa when I return?

          Reply
          • Alternatively, the manager at VFS advised me I should simply submit a 2nd extension application mid-June (a couple weeks before my current extension expires). He said I could stay in the country while the application is processed (last time it took 8 weeks). He said if it isn’t approved then I just need to leave within the 10 days (or whatever they tell me), and he didn’t seem to think I’d get a ban. He said, even if I did, I could simply go to the SA consulate in my home country, explain the circumstances, and they would lift the ban. However, from what I’ve read on this blog and comments, if my extension is rejected, I will receive a ban.

            Also, I do have a second passport (USA). I’m wondering if I can use this to my advantage somehow?

            It seems quite difficult to get a definite answer on anything. I’m considering driving to the airport to see if I can speak to anybody at the immigration office there. I’ve also just requested to join the ‘South Africa Visa Forum’ group on Facebook so I will ask these questions there as well.

            I’m hoping another blanket extension of all tourist visas will be announced, but there’s no way of knowing if that will happen until it does.
            Does anybody else have any other advice? Are there any other types of longer terms visas I might be able to apply for?

            Thanks a lot!

            Jay

          • Hey Jay. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed SA as much as Kim and I have and found our Hectic Route guide to be useful. Too bad we missed you there over the summer.

            On visa stuff, I have no more expertise than you do, so I can only speak from experience, anecdotal evidence, and the little I’ve gathered from reading DHA gobbledegook. From experience and evidence, flying anywhere and back will get you an extra 90 days. They don’t check if you went back to the UK or not. For instance, Kim and I did that flying to Rwanda in Feb 2020. Lots of people report it works flying to Mauritius, as you mention, too. Technically, you shouldn’t be allowed to stay more than 180 days in the country, so I don’t understand how they’d approve a second extension. But if VFS says it’s worth a go and you’ll have some days to leave without penalty if you’re rejected (which I’ve read should be the case) it only hurts to try in as much as it’s a pain in the butt and costs money. If I were you, I’d do the flight option. Go somewhere cool. But again, I’m no expert. Best of luck. Let us know how it works out. And, all the best with your gf’s surgery and speedy recovery.

  116. I see that there are those who say that after spending your tourist entry stamp as a tourist, then leaving the country, one can return. We left SA in April, came back to the US and would like to come back in July. We are putting materials together for a temporary resident visa as a volunteer. Here in the states we have to have a face to face appointment and the earliest we can get in in September.

    So my questions are, will we be allowed back in in July with a new 90 day tourist stamp? Can we apply for the volunteer visa while in SA and do we still need a face to face visit in the US? We have our paperwork ready but can’t submit anything till September in the USA, we are told. Is this doable?

    I have been getting so many conflicting answers that it is frustrating.

    Reply
    • Hi Delores. You’ll be allowed back into SA as a tourist for sure. I have no idea whether you can apply for your volunteer visit while in SA. Maybe someone else can chime in? All I know is for the retirement visa we’re looking into, we have to do the face-to-face meeting in Canada, too. No way to do it in SA.

      Reply
  117. Thank you so much for writing all of this up it’s so, so helpful!!
    I was wondering with the copies of the passport and bank statements do they need to be stamped/certified or can you print off the statements and passport copy and hand that in?

    Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  118. I was wondering that too. Can the printed copies of our financial statements be notarized by the back or financial institution? Can we print the primary page with dollar amounts, not the full statement?

    Reply
  119. Hi everyone,

    I was just wondering whether the people who applied for an extension in March has heard anything back? I too applied for an extension for my temporary visa, but have not heard anything since. When I track my application only, it just says ‘application received on March 5th’.
    I have to go home on June 30th, and I’m worried that I may not have a response before that time. Can anyone else share their experiences?

    Reply
    • Hi Nick, the visa grace period has been extended until 30 June anyway, so you shouldn’t have an issue leaving on 30 June.

      Reply
      • Hi Rob, that’s my concern. As far as I know, you are not allowed to leave the country while you’re awaiting the decision of the extension. But I don’t know if that still applies now that all temporary visas have been extended. I submitted my application before the government announced that.

        Reply
  120. Hi Nick. Same thing here. Applied on the 8th of March. Still nothing. Only that it has been received by DHA on the 9th of March. Will call VFS and DHA today again…

    Reply
    • Thanks Andy, much appreciated! I’ve sent an email to VFS SA today, so hopefully I’ll get a response soon. To be continued…

      Reply
      • They told me I have to stay in South Africa until I receive the outcome of my request, despite all visas being extended till June 30th. And if I do not have an outcome before June 30th, I still have to wait.
        I might call the presidential hotline today. Cause so far I also haven’t heard anything back from DHA. Sent a couple of e-mails, but nothing…

        Reply
        • I applied for an extension at the start of May and of course haven’t heard anything back yet. My main worry is that by the time I receive the extension, it will have already expired. VFS have told me that as long as I’m waiting for the outcome, it’s fine to stay in country and there shouldn’t be any penalty with leaving. No sure how much I trust that though…

          Reply
          • Hi Rob. I feel your concerns and I’m also worried that I’ll be banned even if it’s fine to stay in South Africa. Also, it’s will be much more stressful to leave the country on such short notice with limited flights, getting covid tests, etc. Fingers crossed we will receive an outcome soon. Let’s stay in contact with all the others here that are still waiting.

          • They just said that I can’t leave if there’s no outcome before June 30. You have to wait for the decision. And it just doesn’t make any sense. I mean… all visas have been extended. So even if I would’ve receive a negative outcome, I can still leave before June 30 without issues (I hope). So what’s the point of the whole extension?! Yes I paid. But basically they could’ve just cancelled it… Now I’m stuck because of it and it’s really frustrating. Also, don’t know who to believe anymore. Even from VFS I’ve heard different things…

  121. Damn…I think I’m just gonna try my luck and just try to leave on the 30th. One of my friends left in May and just got back this week. He told me that as long as you can prove that you have worked/volunteered somewhere, then it should be all right. Not sure if you would be able to get such a document somewhere. According to my friend, the border officer was just concerned you haven’t overstayed because of partying. But then again, you can’t overstay if you leave before June 30th…it’s all very confusing indeed….

    Reply
  122. Hi Chris & Kim,

    Thank you very much for providing this platform and the detail about how to extend the tourist visa in SA. This has been extremely helpful.

    1. I want to share a few updates based on my experience in Cape Town

    – I only got the first two emails from the VFS Mailer
    – After not hearing anything for 2.5 months, I received 4 SMSs between the time when my outcome left DHA (I paid for the SMS notification option) and arrived at the VFS for collection (in the period of 3 days)
    – The last SMS before collection has the link which directs you to book an appointment (time slot) to collect the outcome

    2. Below, I will share a bit of what I have gone through in case any info would be helpful to others.

    – Initially submitted my application right before the first lockdown last year. I could no longer make a new appointment when the VFS reopened so I had to book an appointment with and pay for the Premium Lounge in CPT by emailing cptpl-appointments@vfshelpline.com

    – My lounge appointment was on 1st of March 2021, and collected my outcome on 28th of May 2021
    – My visa was approved, but unfortunately it expires on 30th June, the same as everyone else who’s got the automatic extension :’-(
    – I will probably go to Nairobi for a few weeks for visa-run, and get my fresh 90 days upon re-entry (fingers-xed)

    Reply

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