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Home Affairs Outlines Temporary Measures During COVID-19 Lockdown

April 15, 2020

Department of Home Affairs

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

The home affairs department announced this in a statement on temporary measures to deal with immigration issues during the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown.

According to the department, the visa concessions outlined in the statement “apply to those with visas which expired from 15 February 2020, unless a person has proof that he/she had already submitted an application for a visa extension prior to 15 February 2020 and the outcome is pending”.

The temporary measures will remain in force until 31 July 2020 unless extended by the department.

Other measures include that 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; foreign nationals whose visas expired after 15 February 2020 can reapply for their respective visas or relevant visa exemptions in South Africa immediately after the lockdown has been lifted and holders of work, study and business visas that expired during the lockdown will be allowed to stay in South Africa after the lockdown pending the outcome of the applications.

The department also reiterated that, during the lockdown, all foreign nationals who are currently in South Africa may not depart except for cases relating to expatriation initiated by another state.

Asylum seekers whose visa expired from 16 March 2020 to the end of the lockdown period also have 30 days after the end of the lockdown to legalise their visa.