Passports of South Africa
  • Some foreigners stuck in South Africa were about to risk acquiring "undesirable" status from 1 August.
  • But just hours before, on Friday afternoon, home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi updated coronavirus-related immigration rules to extend the validity of permits and visas for refugees, asylum seekers, and some other visitors.
  • Those foreigners are now welcome in SA until at least the end of October.
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On Saturday, 1 August, a range of foreign visitors in South Africa would have faced being declared undesirable after having overstayed their visas.

But just hours before that, on Friday afternoon, home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi gazetted a new set of directions to extend the validity of already-extended permits and visas.

The effect is that some visitors to SA who entered the country after 15 March now automatically have permission to remain until at least 31 October, regardless of the date on their paperwork. They will face no penalty on exiting SA before that date.

For refugees, asylum seekers, and holders of special Lesotho permits, the extension if automatic, with no application required.

Conditions attached to visas and permits also remain unaltered, so those who were not allowed to seek employment still may not do so.

Concessions for foreigners who found themselves stuck in SA as borders closed were first introduced in late March. In June extensions were also granted on asylum-seeker permits, refugee status, and users of a special permit for Lesotho citizens who were in SA before September 2015.

Somewhat optimistically in retrospect, the extensions were all granted until 31 July.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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