A directive has been issued by the Department of Home Affairs to penalise foreigners who are planning on travelling out of South africa and whos visas have expired whilst waiting for the finalisation of applications submitted with the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa.
Prior to this directive, foreigners who had submitted applications to extend or change the conditions of their current permits and who wished to travel out of the country, could provide the port of departure with a submission receipt which would "validate" their legal status in South Africa. The immigration officer would allow the traveller in and out of the country with this receipt without the traveller incurring a fine.
This has now changed and fines are being issued. The fines range from R2000 - R3000 and are payable on departure or on re-entry back into South Africa. Obviously, foreign nationals from countries that are visa exempt will not have this issue.
The only way to avoid this is to make sure the extension or change of conditions application that is submitted is, according to Home Affairs systems, "FINALISED". This means that the permit is ready for collection. If the permit is "STILL PENDING" the foreign traveller WILL incur a fine on departure or on re-entry back into South Africa.
This of course is another rash move by the Department and one that hasnt been thought through. One of the main reasons why we think this is ridiculous is becuase Home Affairs is not complying with Immigration Act to issue results within 30 days of submission which is the ultimate cause of these issues in the first place.
by Robbie Ragless