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Many tourists have been thrown into the deep end as Home Affairs implement South African visa changes overnight.

I’m sure by now many of you have read or heard about the recent rules that have come into effect for the SA Visa. After doing some research I decided to gather some information together to try and put your minds at ease and make sure you are aware of how to avoid being declared an “undesirable” person.

First… The changes.

90 Day Tourist Visa & Extensions

As before, upon arrival into South Africa you will receive a 90 day Tourist Visa (exemptions apply, please check the DHA website). This Visa has the option of a further 90 day extension (total 180 days), however at present these are not guaranteed and are quite difficult to get approved in time.

Extensions can be done via VFS Global, a visa facilitation company. Applications must be done online through the VFS website, by filling in an application form, scheduling an appointment and paying the relevant fee via EFT.

On the day of your appointment at VFS you will need to submit all documentation and have your biometric data recorded. You will be given a receipt that must be kept to collect your passport and documents IF your extension is granted.

Travelling With Children

Parents travelling with children under the age of 18 MUST carry an Unabridged Birth Certificate in addition to the child’s passport.

This applies to ALL travel… Inbound, Outbound and In Transit.

When a child is travelling with one parent, that parent in addition to the above must also have consent from the other parent in the form of an Affidavit or Court Order or in the case of the other parent being deceased, a Death Certificate.

If the child is travelling unaccompanied, proof of consent from both parents or if one parent, an Affidavit/Court Order/Death Certificate as stated above.

A letter from the person who will be receiving the child containing the residential address and contact details where the child will be residing, a copy of the Passport/Identity Document for the receiving person and lastly the contact details of the parents.

UPDATE (6 January 2015):  The rules for travelling with Children will only come into effect 1 July 2015

passport visa stamps

Second… The Problems

90 Day Tourist Visa & Extensions

Clients who wish to apply for the extension of a further 90 days must make application as soon as possible once arriving in South Africa. Processing time is currently taking approximately 60 days and longer.

If your application is not granted before your 90 days is up, you MUST leave South Africa within those 90 days. Persons who stay beyond that period will be declared “undesirable” and prohibited from re-entry into South Africa for:

  • 1 year, if you overstay 30 days or less;
  • 2 years, if you overstay for a second time within 24 months;
  • 5 years, if you overstay more than 30 days.

Persons will also be fined at the airport on departure.

These bans and fines can be appealed but can take months, be expensive and have no guarantee of a positive outcome.

“Border Hopping” (travelling into neighbouring countries for short periods and re-entering South Africa) is no longer allowed.

Persons who come in for 6 months every year, “Swallows” are advised to apply for the 4 Year Tourist Visa, in their home country.

Please note: There is NO GUARANTEE that your application for a Visa Extension will be granted and no refund is applicable if the application is denied.

Travelling With Children

Travel will not be permitted at all if the documentation needed is not provided. This stands when leaving your home country or South Africa when travelling with children under the age of 18.

Should you have any queries or further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 021 785 2983 or info@nonres-sa.com