Most Read Contributor in South Africa, September 2016
Immigration directive 43 of 2010 was withdrawn by the Department
of Home Affairs on 24 February 2014. The withdrawal of this
directive means that even where a foreign national
has an application for residence pending in South
Africa, such a foreigner would be fined for an
overstay if he attempts to depart from South
Africa in the absence of a valid
visa. This is the case even where the
foreigner's application for status was submitted well before
the expiry of the existing permit.
The directive previously allowed foreigners awaiting the outcome
of applications for temporary residence permits to leave and to
re-enter South Africa on the basis that they had an application
pending within the country, by presenting their
acknowledgement of receipt from the Department of Home
Affairs as proof of the pending application. Upon
presentation of such proof, a foreigner was allowed to depart and
re-enter the country even if their permit had expired. It
allowed individuals from non-visa exempt countries to travel and to
re-enter South Africa without obtaining a visa. Such individuals
were granted a thirty day visitor's visa upon
re-entry. Although the directive was
partially reinstated on 28 February 2014, this
partial reinstatement only benefits foreigners who were out of
South Africa at the date of its withdrawal by allowing them to
re-enter the country.
Although a visa exempt national is still authorised to re-enter
the country provided he/she holds a return ticket and is entering
for the purpose of visiting / to await the outcome of the
application, such an individual is still precluded from
working. Under the partially reinstated directive, a
non-visa exempt national will now be
denied re-entry into South Africa in the
absence of a visa.
New immigration regulations were proposed to
come into effect on 1 April 2014. The
changes have, however, not yet come into operation
and there is no certainty of when they will.
Amongst other proposed changes, the new regulations
propose that any foreigner who
overstayed their visa for even one day will
automatically be declared an undesirable
person. The period for which such a foreigner will be
prohibited re-entry into South Africa ranges from
two to ten years, depending on the length of the
In light of the dire penalty associated with being regarded as
having overstayed one's visa, no person should travel
after their existing visa has expired and every individual
should ensure that he/she holds a valid visa when exiting
and re-entering the country.
A visa exempt national may return after
the expiry of a permit, but would need to hold a
return ticket in order to be landed on a
visitor's visa. A non-visa exempt
national who attempts to return after their existing permit
has expired will be denied re-entry into
It has become imperative to allow sufficient
time not only for the processing of one's
application for renewal of your temporary residence
application, but also for any delays that
may be associated with the granting of such
Individuals dealing with such matters must seek advice
well in advance of any travel needs which may overlap with
residence application processes and / or
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