Are you in South Africa on an expired tourist visa or unable to leave the country before its expiry? Take a deep breath. As per Directive of 26 March, all short-term visas that have expired since 15 March 2020 are automatically extended to 30 June.

Their holders can leave the country by that date without being penalised for not holding a valid visa by being declared illegal, undesirable or having to be legalized first. This exemption  excludes visas issued on or after 15 March 2021, so if you receive an extension of your visitor’s visa or arrive in the country after 15 March, you will have to leave the country by the expiry date reflected on your visa. Holders of asylum seeker permits or refugee status that have expired since 15 March 2020 are similarly exempted and can remain in the country, apply for extensions (electronic services are apparently envisaged) or for waivers to change their status to a temporary visa, by 30 June 2021.

Those holding long-term visas  (valid for more than 90 days) that have expired since 15 March 2020 or are about to expire, may apply for an extension or change by 31 July. NOTE: Holders of expired long-term visas do not appear to enjoy the benefit of penalty-free exit by 30 June. They have to apply for an extension of their stay or be declared undesirable for up to five years when leaving the country.

Any questions? Need to extend your long-term visa? We are happy to help as always.