Making an Application Within South Africa? On 26 August 2015, the Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) centres changed the online application process. This was done to prevent fake appointments being made (and then sold to desperate applicants), which have been clogging up the system and leading to long waiting times (in some regions, several months) to be able to submit an application.

The new process requires applicants to pay the VFS fee during the online logging of the application (and not, as before, on the day of the appointment only). Appointments can be re-scheduled only twice, and no-shows or cancellations will incur a fine of R 850. Arriving late, but on the day of the appointment, will be accommodated at no extra cost if possible.

These stricter rules will require greater discipline by applicants, and they may inconvenience some. However, they are essentially what IMCOSA and others have been calling for, and after an initial adjustment phase, the changes should lead to an improvement of service.