If you are a foreign national stranded in South Africa by lockdown regulations you should read this.
After South Africa moved into the first phase of lockdown level 3 expats and tourists still stuck in the Republic might find it somewhat easier to travel home.
The Department of Home Affairs has published a new directive focusing on travel restrictions in level 3 of lockdown. The risk adjusted strategy to the easing of lockdown regulations will now allow for international travel in specific circumstances. This will only apply to the return of a South African national or permanent resident to his or her place of employment, place of study or residence, if they are outside of the country. The regulations now also allows for the repatriation of foreign nationals to their country of residence.
Those intending on crossing South African boarders will have to furnish Home Affairs with:
- a copy of their passport
- a letter of confirmation of admissibility or the validity of the visa or permit, issued by the relevant diplomatic or consular mission or authority of the receiving country
- where transiting through another country, proof of permission to transit through that country
- your ticket or proof of the existence of your ticker along with the date on which you plan to leave the country.
When travelling with minors check with your immigration agent or travel consultant about the newest regulations in this regard.
South African’s returning to South Africa will, as is the case in every other world country, be quarantined for a period of 14 days and examined for signs of the novel corona virus.
Level 3 rules also make provision for people in South Africa on an expired visa.
Provision for persons in the republic on an expired visa
Visa centers are expected to open in lower lockdown levels
“All [visa] submission centres for South African Immigration are closed at this stage.” This is the case in most world countries stated Mark Wilkinson of New World Immigration in Cape Town. Wilkinson said that according to level 3 regulations while no one is able to collect or submit visa/Permanent Residency applications right now the immigration industry anticipate centres opening once lockdown levels are adjusted to a lower level. “We are awaiting official confirmation of exact dates,” he said.
Visas issued after 15 February are valid until the end of July
“Visa holders who entered SA lawfully from 15 February and received only a short term visa remain valid until 31 July 2020, unless extended officially by the department,” stated Wilkinson adding that statement in this regard is expected if the South African government extends this date beyond 31 July.
Long term visa holders will not be penalized
Government gazette regulations states that existing long term visa holders in South Africa will not be penalized for overstaying the conditions of their visa if they were unable to submit renewals or extensions due to the nationwide lockdown.
“Any foreign national wishing to exit the country after lockdown will be able to do so with an expired visa,” confirm Wilkinson.
Sources: New World Immigration, www.gov.va,