The Department of Home Affairs has announced the extension of the validity period of visas, due to expire on Wednesday, 31 March.

In a statement on Tuesday, the department confirmed the validity of visasthat expired during lockdown would be extended to 30 June 2021 for short-term and 31 July 2021 for long-term visas.

“Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has issued directions in line with the National State of Disaster regulations extending the validity period of legally issued visas which expired during the lockdown period to 30 June 2021 for short-term visas, issued for a period not longer than 90 days, such as a tourist visa,” the statement reads.

“The validity of longer-term temporary visas (issued for three months to three years), is until 31 July 2021. The directions extend the initial validity period extension of 31 March 2021.”

The department said holders of both visas will be allowed to remain in South Africa until the expiry of their applicable extension.

“Those wishing to be repatriated to their countries in this period can depart without being declared undesirable persons.”

The department, however, said the extension excludes those who entered South Africa on or after 15 March 2021.

“The normal validity period of visas of people admitted into the country from 15 March 2021 applies.”

READ MORE: Motsoaledi to review permanent residence visas after Mkhwebane’s Gigaba finding

Holders of longer-term temporary visas including study visas, treaty visas, business visas, medical treatment visas, relatives’ visas, general work visas, critical skills work visas, retired person’s visas and exchange visas are invited to renew their visas at before 31 July 2021.

The department noted that while refugee reception centres remain closed, the validity ofasylum and refugee permits has also been extended to 30 June 2021.

“In due course, the department will communicate details of an online service to renew these permits.”

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