Now is the time to renew your children’s South African study visas!

south african study visasThe end of the year is rapidly approaching. This means one thing for expats in South Africa with children – it’s time to start the renewals of their South African study visas.

Seriously – start now!

South African visa renewals have to be submitted at least 60 days before the expiry date of the valid visa.

Our advice to clients is always to start the process even sooner, as early as 6 to 9 months in advance. And to then submit as soon as possible. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) allows renewals to be submitted as early as six months prior to the valid visas’s expiry date.

Keep in mind also that processing times in South Africa remain highly inconsistent and thus it could take months to reach an outcome. Unfortunately this means that even when you do the right thing – submitting in time, it’s not a guarantee that new visas will be received in time.

What if my children’s new visas are not issued by the time the current visas expire?

Here’s how it works:

Once a visa application is submitted, an applicant is permitted to stay in South Africa and wait on the outcome – even beyond the expiry of the current visa.

However, if the applicant leaves South Africa after the current visa has expired, but before the new visa is issued, the applicant will be deemed undesirable and banned from reentering South Africa.

The applicant would need to appeal this status and have the ban lifted before they can reenter South Africa to collect the new visa.

Now you might ask yourself, “Even children are declared undesirable and banned?” The answer is ‘yes’, even minor children are declared undesirable and banned.

And, trust us, this is the last thing you’d want over South Africa’s peak tourist season! It’s a busy time, meaning it may take months to appeal an undesirable status and get a ban lifted.

Keep passport dates in mind too

A South African visa is only valid for as long as the passport it is stamped in. In the past visas were often issued for longer periods of time, but the DHA has decided to eliminate these instances in future.

How does this affect your child’s status?

Going forward you must ensure that the validity of your children’s South African study visas do not exceed the validity period of their passports.

At the same time, always ensure that passports are up to date. Again, start renewals well in time when it becomes necessary. This will ensure that your children have valid passports for future student visas.

Don’t forget to also keep your visas up to date!

Your children are here as accompanying family members. That means their stay in South Africa is dependent on yours.

It is thus essential for the main applicant, whether it’s you or your partner, to have a valid visa. Don’t let that visa expire or the entire family might need to leave South Africa!

Renewals for South African study visas in a nutshell

You must submit renewals at least 60 days before the expiry date of the current visa. However, the sooner you submit the better!

Also important is to ensure that your children’s passports are valid.

Equally important, if not more, is ensuring that your visa is up to date. If you let it lapse, your entire family’s stay in South Africa might come to an abrupt end.

Don’t let this happen to you – always start all visa renewals well in time.