South African visa renewals: Here’s what you ought to know

Imagine this – you’re having a good day. Everything is going your way. But suddenly you get this nagging feeling that you should check your visa. Just to make sure that it’s not time yet to renew it.

You go to your study, pick up your passport, open it… and see that your visa expired a week ago.

Suddenly a million thoughts are running through your head. Your heart is racing.

Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

The good news is that this hasn’t happened. And it doesn’t have to! Not if you keep these 5 things in mind:

1. You must submit your application at least 60 days before the expiry date of your visa

South Africa’s Immigration Act stipulates that you have to submit any visa renewal at least 60 days before the expiry date of your visa. That means you must have all you paperwork ready to go when this date is reached.

You may also apply for a visa renewal earlier than the 60 days but no sooner than 6 months prior to your visa’s expiry date.

Our advice? Don’t wait for the 60 days’ deadline! Submit as early as possible to allow for unforeseen hiccups.

2. Start the groundwork early

How long did you take to get your original visa application together? However long it was, leave as much time for your renewal.

Trust us on this one! It won’t be easier to renew your visa than it was to apply for it.

Unfortunately, renewing a visa in South Africa in most cases means meeting the same requirements and submitting the same paperwork as you did the first time round.

3. You must meet all the requirements again

As we mentioned above, you must meet all of your visa’s requirements again to renew it. That means also meeting any new or updated criteria.

Let’s say for instance that you’re the parent of a South African. You hold a relatives visa. At the moment, the relatives visa requires a financial assurance of R8,500 per person, per month. Now imagine the Department of Home Affairs changed that to R10,000. That means you and your South African family member would have to prove that you have R10,000 available to support you while you stay in South Africa instead of R8,500.

But what happens if you can’t meet all the requirements of your visa again? We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but the Department of Home Affairs will most likely not renew your visa application.

In such a case, you might choose to leave South Africa or you could investigate to see if you qualify for another South African visa that allows you to stay in SA.

4. Keep documents with expiry dates up to date

Remember we said that you’ll have to submit the same paperwork again with your renewal? That includes documents with expiry dates. Documents like your police clearance certificates and your passport, for instance. To save yourself a heap of trouble (and time!), continue to keep these types of documents up to date. That way, you won’t have to scramble to get new documents when it’s time to renew your visa.

5. You must submit your extension application in South Africa

The South African Immigration Act stipulates that all visa extensions are submitted in South Africa at a VFS application centre. You cannot submit extensions outside of South Africa.

Need help with South African visa renewals?

Our team can assist you with all types of South African visa renewals, and they’ll guide you through the requirements and work with you to submit a complete application.

To get in touch with one of our clients managers, simply give us a call on +27 (0) 21 424 2460 or request a call back. Our team will be more than happy to answer any questions and to help you to start preparing for you visa renewal.