South Africa: New biometrics requirement causes delays

Foreign nationals entering South Africa through any port of entry should expect delays up to four hours due to a new enhanced security measure that requires the capture of fingerprints and a photograph.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Travellers should account for the additional time they will have to spend at immigration control following arrival.

South Africa/India: Additional documentation required for visa applications submitted to VFS in India

Following the announcement that foreign nationals in India must file South African visa applications at a VFS centre, VFS is now requiring additional supporting documents for Intra-company Transfer Work Visa Permit applications.

South Africa: South African visa applications in India must be submitted to VFS

Effective immediately, South African visa applicants in India must submit their applications to a VFS office in India instead of to an Indian consular post.  VFS assists consular posts in high-volume cities to process visa applications.

South Africa: Visa processing centres partially closed December 21 – January 3

Department of Home Affairs VFS processing centers will be partially closed from December 21, 2015 until January 3, 2016. During this period, foreign nationals will not be able to schedule visa appointments online, however the centres will be open for the collection of approved visas.

The processing centresVFS are expected to still accept appeal applications during the closure period.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

During the closure period, foreign nationals should call their VFS center to check on available services and should expect a shortage of available visa appointment dates before and after the closure period.

Those filing appeals should still do so within ten business days of receipt of the letter of outcome during the closure period.

South Africa: Work permit applications delayed at South African Mission in India

Foreign nationals submitting work permit applications in India during the past two months have experienced significant processing delays due to the absence of the adjudicator of the Mumbai South African Mission in India. Additionally, because the South African Mission in New Delhi has been assisting with work permit processing, services at the New Delhi Mission are also delayed. 

South Africa: Amendment brings eased visa application methods and clearer child travel rules

The Department of Home Affairs has approved the Cabinet’s decision regarding suggestions to improve and clarify the immigration regulations implemented in May 2014, and has in turn amended the law to make compliance easier. The amendment brings eased application methods for foreign nationals required to apply in person for South African visas and clearer entry and exit rules for those travelling with minors. Additionally, the DHA is considering implementing various streamlined visa programs and a visa-on-arrival program.

South African online visa portal unavailability likely to cause delays

The Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) online portal’s current unavailability due to system maintenance is impacting visa appointment scheduling capabilities and the ability to complete online application forms.  This is also likely to delay existing appointments since appointment confirmation forms need to be accessed and printed.

The online visa status tracking function is also currently unavailable, making the status of pending applications inaccessible at this time.

Additionally, visa application centers are currently unable to process submissions as their internal system is also offline. As such, existing appointments may need to be rescheduled.

VFS has not yet advised when the online portal will be accessible nor has it provided an update on the steps that will be taken to mitigate missed appointments.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

Visa applicants using the VFS system or seeking services at visa application centers should account for likely travel and start date delays.