Visitor Visa

Visitor Visa for Tourists

For tourists from visa-exempt countries such as the European member states, a Visitor Visa, also known as Tourist Visa, will be issued upon arrival in South Africa at the border against the presentation of a return flight ticket for a maximum period of 90 days.

Tourists from other countries need to apply at the South African mission (embassy, high commission or consulate) in or closest to their residence in their home country, which will issue a visitor visa valid also for a maximum of 90 days only. They may only arrive in South Africa with the visa already in their passport.

Visitor Visa for Workers

The short-term Visitor Visa with the Allowance to Work, also known as “Section 11(2) Visa”, is used for temporary work without receiving salaries locally. This visa can easily to be obtained but now requires submission of a full application which is to be done in person to the nearest South African Embassy, High Commission or Consulate abroad. The applicant will in turn be issued with a letter from DHA. This visa cannot be obtained anymore at entry of South Africa by merely producing the confirmation letter.

The processing times for Section 11(2) Visa across all missions abroad is rather short in comparison to other temporary visa and should be completed under one week. The Section 11(2) Visa is usually granted for up to 90 days and – special circumstances permitting – may be extended only once for another 90 days without leaving the country as the extension is applied for at VfS.

Expired Visitor Visa

Any foreigner, who attempts to depart the country after his or her Visitor Visa has expired will no longer be fined, but declared “undesirable” in terms of section 27(3) for a period of between twelve months and five years depending on the time passed since visa expiry and the number of previous transgressions in this regard.

A submitted extension application and receipt thereof are not sufficient to prevent this measure, although the Cape Town High Court has ruled and declared this provision illegal as far as life partners of South African Citizens or Permanent Residents are concerned. 

Expiry while Extension is processed

As the DHA is still busy clearing its backlog of approximately 70 000 applications, most visa expire before any extension application is processed. During this time the visitor is still protected through the current blanket concession, issued by the Director General of DHA on 29  March 2023, and which will run out on 31 December 2023.

If a visitor is leaving the country after his visa has expired but witghouit his visa extension been processed, he or she may leave the country by showing the VfS Submission Slip at the border andwill NOT be declared undesirable.

As the backlog is still not cleared, it is to be expected that the waiver will be extended for another 3 to 6 months before the end of the year.

Visitor Visa Extensions

Both Visitor Visa can be extended, provided the extension application is submitted already 60 days prior to expiry.

Visitors, who receive their visitor visa at the border or port of entry, section 10, and who leave South Africa for a neighbouring country will only get the remainder of their original visa, but not less than 7 days upon re-entry.

If – in the meantime – the visa has expired,  recent practice at the borders has shown to be issued with another 90-day visa, although s11(5) of the Regulations limit this case to a seven-day visa being issued. 

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