South Africa Alert – The Department of Home Affairs Will No Longer Honor or Transfer Valid Temporary Residence Visas Endorsed in Expired Passports

South Africa – The Department of Home Affairs Will No Longer Honor or Transfer Valid Temporary Residence Visas Endorsed in Expired Passports

Effective January 2017, the Department of Home Affairs (DHS) of South Africa will no longer honor Temporary Residence Visas (TRVs) issued with a validity period exceeding the foreign national’s passport expiry date, beyond the expiry date of the passport.

In all instances, where the DHA or a South African Mission abroad has issued any TRV with a validity date which exceeds the validity date of the passport, regardless of the period, the DHA will deem the visa to have expired upon the expiry date of the passport. The DHA will also not transfer a valid visa from an expired passport into a new passport.

Action Items

  • All new, first-time TRV applicants must ensure that their passports are valid for at least 30 days beyond the maximum duration of the TRV for which they are applying. Spouses and dependent children applying for visas must ensure that their passports are valid for an equivalent or longer period as well.
    • For example, Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa applicants must ensure that their passports are valid for at least 49 months (4 years being the maximum validity period + 1 extra month) and;
    • General Work Visa and Critical Skills Work Visa applicants must ensure that their passports are valid for at least 61 months (5 years being the maximum validity period + 1 month).
  • The holder of a TRV with an expiry date exceeding the validity of their passport must deem the passport expiry date to be the expiry date of their visa as opposed to the expiry date of the visa. If the DHS confirms it is possible, the visa should be renewed no less than 60 days prior to the expiry date of the passport and all relevant application requirements will have to be provided.
  • Foreign nationals who have valid visas in expired passports and who have obtained new passports, but have not applied to transfer their visas into their new passports and who are travelling with the old and new passports together, must be strongly warned that their visas (as endorsed in their expired passports) may now be deemed to have expired.
  • Upon the foreign national’s departure from South Africa, the visa endorsed in the old passport might be cancelled or withdrawn by the Immigration Officer and the foreign national will then have to apply for a new visa abroad.
  • A foreign national abroad, returning to South Africa, might have their visa cancelled or withdrawn by the Immigration Officer upon arrival back in South Africa. In the case of a non-visa waiver/exempt passport holder, they might then be refused entry to South Africa, as they will not be deemed to be in possession of a valid visa. It is unclear whether the Immigration Service at the various Ports of Entry have received instructions to enforce the provisions of the notice.

Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert was prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.