Rights and Responsibilities of Foreigners in South Africa during National Lockdown

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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. For any questions not addressed, you can contact us for further advice.
 

FAQS
 
I am still in South Africa and my visa has expired. Am I illegal?
 
An foreigner currently in South Africa, who has a visa that has expired from ‘mid-February’ who did not renew their visa before lockdown, will not be declared an illegal person and will not be arrested or detained for holding an expired visa.
 
An option to renew the visa will be given once VFS opens (TBD) – alternatively, the foreigner will be able to exit South Africa without being declared an undesirable person upon departure. This caveat will apply until 31 July 2020, but may be extended.
 
Can I go to my country of citizenship during lockdown?
 
The only way to return to country of citizenship during lockdown is to contact your local embassy in South Africa, who may be organizing repatriation flights back to countries of citizenship.
 
Until level one of lockdown, there will be no international travel permitted into or out-of South Africa.
 
Will the Department of Home Affairs continue to process my application for temporary residency during lockdown?
 
As of stage 4 of lockdown, the Department of Home Affairs head office will be working with skeleton staff for permitting purposes (1/3 of staff on a rotational basis). Therefore, your application will continue to be processed, but timelines for adjudication will be longer and the ability to collect the outcome will be hindered whilst VFS remains closed.
 
What will happen to the permanent residency application that I submitted prior to lockdown?
 
As of stage 4 of lockdown, the Department of Home Affairs head office will be working with skeleton staff for permitting purposes (1/3 of staff on a rotational basis). Therefore, your application will continue to be processed, but timelines for adjudication will be longer and the ability to collect the outcome will be hindered whilst VFS remains closed.
 
Can I submit a new application for temporary residency through VFS Global?
 
Once VFS opens, you will be able to submit a new application for temporary residency. As of stage 4 of lockdown, VFS remains closed. You can continue to check here
 
Can I apply for an ID book while under lockdown?
 
Applications for ID books will be accepted if an applicant has all of the correct documentation available to them. For more information on what documentation is needed, contact our offices.
 
What happens if I get stopped by a police officer at a roadblock and I do not have a valid visa?
 
If you are stopped by a police officer at a roadblock, make sure you have your passport with you along with your international drivers license documentation and permission to travel under the lockdown restrictions. You will not be arrested or detained if you have a receipt of application or if your visa expired from Mid-February. If you do encounter problems, call our offices ASAP for assistance.
 
As a foreign national, do I qualify for financial relief from the government?
 
At present, foreign nationals do not qualify for financial relief from the South African government, but may qualify for loans or reduced repayments from their banking institution.
 
I am a temporary residency holder currently not in South Africa. Am I allowed to come into the country?
 
No. International travel is not permitted until lockdown level 1. Furthermore, if you are on the list of ‘banned’ countries, you will not be permitted to enter even if flight restrictions have been uplifted. To see whether or not you will be permitted to enter the country from lockdown level 1, you can check the Department of Home Affairs website here:
 
I am a permanent residency holder currently not in South Africa. Am I allowed to come into the country?
 
Yes, as a permanent resident of South Africa you are entitled to re-enter South Africa. You will need to contact the South African embassy where you currently reside to organize a repatriation flight back to South Africa and will be required to undergo mandatory quarantine.
 
I am a citizen of a country who is on the ‘banned’ list. What does this mean?
 
This means that you cannot enter South Africa until further notice, even if you have had a visa for South Africa or are visa-exempt.