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JLIA Blog

Latest updates and interesting news from us

Entering South Africa during lock-down due to 'exceptional circumstances'

A foreigner that is a spouse of a South African citizen or permanent resident, a foreigner who is a parent of a South African citizen or permanent resident or those with work and potentially financial interests in South Africa may qualify to enter South Africa under an 'exceptional circumstance' - and should apply to the Minister of Home Affairs for permission to enter South Africa.

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Level 3 Lockdown and what it means for immigrants in South Africa

Level 3 lockdown in South Africa has not brought any respite for foreigners in South Africa or those who are abroad and wish to re-enter. At the moment, only South African citizens and permanent residents are entitled to come to South Africa. All visa processes, including submission of applications or collection of applications is suspended until further notice. 

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Rights and Responsibilities of Foreigners in South Africa during National Lockdown

It is essential to know your rights and responsibilities as a foreigner in South Africa during this time. We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions by our clients during the period of lockdown in South Africa to assist.

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South African visas to be denied or cancelled if you're from a 'High Risk Country'

HIGH RISK COUNTRIES (Uk, Spain, Germany, USA, China, Iran, South Korea and Italy) will NOT be allowed to enter South Africa from 18 March – President Ramaphosa says that visas are to be "cancelled with immediate effect and previous visas hereby revoked". What this means for temporary and permanent residents of the country is yet to be determined. If you are a foreign national from a different country but have been in a high risk country in the past 20 days, you will also be denied a visa to enter South Africa.

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The Impact of Coronavirus on Immigration to South Africa

COVID-19 highlights the importance of the immigration requirement of a medical report, which is meant to check for contagious diseases of applicants who are entering the Republic and wish to stay for a period of six months or longer. The report, however, can be done up to six months prior to submitting an application for residency - and so it has no value in detecting the Coronavirus and preventing its spread in South Africa.

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Retirement in South Africa

Retirement is best for an individual who wishes to reside in South Africa but has no intention or need to work whilst here. Even though labelled 'retirement', this category is available to any age person, if they have the finances (and comply with all other requirements). 

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Volunteering in South Africa

Legally a person cannot volunteer in South Africa on a tourist visa and they need to make an application in person at their local South African embassy prior to arriving in country. A volunteer visa is needed for any person wishing to come to South Africa to volunteer - whether it is for 3 days, three years or anything in between.

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Coming to South Africa on Holiday

As of 30 October 2019, the list of visa exempt countries has been updated by the Department of Home Affairs. If your country of citizenship is not on that list, you must apply for a visitor visa from your local South African embassy or submission center. Once you are in South Africa, your period of stay can be extended.

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Entry requirements for tourists relaxed

Each year hundreds of foreigners coming to South Africa have been turned away from flights with their minor children as it comes to their attention that they do not have the proper paperwork to enter South Africa. Approaching the holidays this year, the Department of Home Affairs has relaxed its Immigration Regulations, in hopes of increasing tourism.

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Short-Term Work Assignments in South Africa

Unlike other work visas, a short-term work visa will allow an applicant to apply and arrive in South Africa on a much quicker basis. The applicant must have a South African employer who is willing to sponsor them and can justify hiring a foreigner for the 90 day period. As this is a short-term visa under the tourism category of visas, no change of status or condition from a short-term work visa to a more long-term visa can be done within the country.

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Navigating an Application for a Critical Skills Visa

A critical skills visa is ideal for an individual who has both academic and work experience which fall under a set list of critical skills issued by the Department of Home Affairs. If you are a first time applicant and currently do not hold a long term visa for South Africa, you must make your critical skills application abroad in your country or citizenship and/or residency. From start to finish an application for critical skills can be as short as three months and take up to six months to finalize. This is an important timeline to keep in mind, especially if you have a job waiting for you in South Africa. 

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Obtaining temporary or permanent residency based on a relative

A foreigner who has a relative in South Africa that is either South African or a South African permanent resident, may be eligible for temporary and/or permanent residency. But there can be long turn-around times to receive an outcome, especially for permanent residency permits. 

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Submitting a visa application from abroad

Any first time applicant who wishes to have a long term visa in South Africa must first apply from their country of citizenship or residency.

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How can I get Home Affairs to finalize my application?

With the number of visas that are applied for and issued each year, it is no surprise that there is a backlog with processing of applications. Even though the VFS Global website  (who accepts applications on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs) states that a temporary residency application can take between 8 and 10 weeks, appeals 8-10 months and permanent residency 8-10 months, these timelines are often not adhered to.

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Medical Treatment in South Africa

South Africa has some of the best medical practitioners in the world, so it is no wonder that many foreigners choose to have treatment with the backdrop of beautiful South Africa for their physical or mental ailments. 

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Travelling with a Minor into or out of South Africa

With an increased number of kidnappings taking place in South Africa, it is no surprise that the Department of Home Affairs has increased security and immigration matters when travelling with a minor to or from South Africa.

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Marrying as a Foreigner in South Africa

There is hardly a more picturesque place in the world to marry than South Africa. Before tying the knot with a local, there are certain formalities that need to take place before you're able to officially marry.

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Spouses & Children of Work and Business Visa Holders

In nearly all circumstances, a visa which is valid for a period longer than three months must be applied for in person at the South African Embassy/Consulate of the applicant's country of residency. There are, however, certain circumstances where this is not the case. 

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Is permanent residency based on financial independence right for me?

An applicant can apply for permanent residence on the basis of their financial situation if they can show a minimum amount of assets to the Department and are willing to pay a once-off lump sum for their residency.

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Resignation of Director General - Mkuseli Apleni

In the news today, it was announced that Mkuseli Apleni has resigned from his position as the Director General of Home Affairs. What does this mean for the day-to-day administration of the Department of Home Affairs?

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My child was born in South Africa - are they South African?

Despite what one may be told or believe, if your child is born in South Africa they are not immediately South African citizens, unless of course, you are. In fact, any child born in South Africa begins their journey into this world as an illegal person – as they do not have a visa to reside in South Africa.

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Rights and Obligations as a South African Permanent Resident

You've finally received your permanent residency - after months or possibly years of waiting for an outcome. What does this mean for you now?

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Travelling as a South African Permanent Resident

An unspoken discretion has been given to immigration officials at the ports of entry and exit in South Africa to ask a permanent residency holder to 'prove' their status in whichever way they see fit, if at all. Find out how to avoid hassle whilst travelling in and out of South Africa as a permanent residency holder.

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Getting down to the 'nitty-gritty' of applying for a business visa

In 2016, no new applications for start-ups were approved for South Africa (48 total applications were submitted) and only 25 of 148 applications for business visa renewals were approved. In our latest blog, we discuss what can be done to avoid the rejection of a business visa application.

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Study Visas for South Africa

South Africa has some of the top institutions on the African continent. Add in gorgeous weather and opportunity for travel, it has become a leading destination for continuing studies. So, what do you need to know when considering studying here, from an immigration perspective?

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Permanent Residency on the basis of 'Exceptional Skills'

If you fall within the critical skills list and have five years work experience, you may be eligible for permanent residency in South Africa, even if you don't have an offer of permanent employment.

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How to protect yourself from being detained as an illegal foreigner

The 'crack-down' on illegal immigrants continues, with a new operation which has taken place in Cape Town this past week. Read more about what you should do to protect yourself from being detained if you are questioned by Home Affairs or the police.

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How do most people get permanent residency in South Africa?

Statistics released by StatsSA give us insight into how many permanent residency applications are being approved annually - and according to which category of submission.

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Can I change from a visitors visa to spousal visa?

spouses or children of South African citizens or permanent residents do not have to depart from South Africa when applying for a change in visa status.

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Police Clearances

For either temporary or permanent residency (eg; a stay longer than three months) it is essential to provide a police clearance, if not multiple police clearances. However, when and what is needed can be confusing, so it is often best to seek professional advice. 

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Verifying your qualifications from abroad through SAQA

If you intend on applying for a critical skills or general work visa, it is highly advisable to immediately begin the SAQA process. In our years of experience applying for visas, it has been seen time and time again that one of the longest processes in compiling essential paperwork is obtaining a SAQA certificate.

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E-Visas seek to increase tourism, but fails to address quality in the adjudication process itself.

South Africa seeks to enter the modern age of technology with E-Visas in a hope to increase tourism in South Africa. But, the issue of quality of adjudication of applications still remains.

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Open letter to Malusi Gigabi hits home with locals and foreigners alike

With a minister who is more interested in Candy Crush than parliamentary debates, it comes as no surprise that Home Affairs continues to fall behind with basic services.

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