An overstay is when you have outstayed the duration of your visa – whether intentional, or not. When you leave South Africa through a port of entry/exit, you will be given a ‘declaration of undesirability’ by the immigration officer, which will set out:

  • Your personal details;
  • How many days you have overstayed by;
  • That you have been declared an undesirable person;
  • The duration of your undesirable person status (either 1 or 5 years); and
  • Details on how to appeal this undesirability

From the date you receive your undesirability notice, you will have ten working days to submit an appeal, electronically, to the immigration department. This should set out the reasons for your overstay. For example, the reason for an overstay could be a pending application, medical reason or change by an airline.

Your letter needs to be accompanied by various supporting documents, including your passport identity page, undesirability letter and documents supporting why you overstayed.

If your application is approved, you will receive an electronic letter confirming that this is the case. Once the overstay is lifted, you can come back into the country.

Ideally, you should get an outcome to your application within ten days, but this rarely the case as there is a severe backlog at the department. It is important to keep following up.

If you need help preparing an application or haven’t heard back regarding an application you submitted, you can contact us for further assistance.

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