Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has extended the validity of visas which expired during the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
The Minister gazetted an amendment to the lockdown regulations last week.
According to the department, the short-term visas issued for a period no longer than 90 days, such as a tourist visa will now be deemed to be valid until 30 June 2021.
“The validity of longer-term temporary visas, issued for three months to three years, is until 31 July 2021,” the department said.
Initially, the grace period had been extended to 31 March 2021.
“This means that visas that were lawfully issued and expired during the period of the lockdown are deemed to be valid until the end of June 2021 and 31 July 2021,” the department explained.
Also, holders of these visas are permitted to remain in the country until the expiry of their applicable extension.
“Those wishing to be repatriated to their countries within this period can depart without being declared undesirable persons.”
However, the extension does not apply to people who entered the country from 15 March 2021.
“The normal validity period of visas of people admitted into the country from 15 March 2021 applies,” the department added.
Holders of the longer-term temporary visas including study, treaty, business, medical treatment, relatives, general work, critical skills work, retired person’s and exchange, which expired during the State of National Disaster are invited to renew their visas at www.vfsglobal.com/dha/southafrica before 31 July 2021.
Meanwhile, the department said the Refugee Reception Centres remain closed.
“The validity of asylum and refugee permits has been extended until 30 June 2021. In due course, the department will communicate details of an online service to renew these permits.”
The new directions can be accessed via https://www.greengazette.co.za/notices/disaster-management-act-57-2002-amendment-of-directions-issued-in-terms-of-regulation-4-8-and-1-of-the-regulations-made-under-section-27-2-of-the-act-measures-to-prevent-and-combat_20210326-GGN-44335-00271.