Late yesterday, we received this letter from our attorney handling the visa extensions. It reads as follows:
We hope this finds you well.
- “This email is to inform you of the attached Circular, which was published today.
- The Circular as published does not appear to uniformly apply to all categories of applicants, nor is it clear with respect to the abandonment of applications on departure.
- Since the declaration of a national State of Disaster in 2020, various Directions, Directives, and Circulars have been published, often requiring careful interpretation of their language as applicable to individual circumstances. In some instances, as in the current case, interpretation must be deferred until after we obtain specific clarifications from the DHA.
- While we always invite all our clients to communicate with us directly should any query arise in terms of delays, their status and/or ability to travel out of SA rather than relying on hearsay and information distributed on social media and/or unverified sources we anticipate and acknowledge in advance that some questions will not be answerable by 31 March 2023.”
From there, the entire attached document from Home Affairs was included, which may be viewed by clicking the link below:
What we are supposed to do from here is vague. The question we have now is: Do we have to leave by April 30? Or can we stay until the day our extension may have been approved or longer? The answers are totally unclear. I copied and pasted the sections in question directly from the documents as follows:
“b) Applicants whose visa applications are still pending: Long–term visa holders (Work, Business, Study, Relative, and Accompany spouse) who form part of the 62692 visa backlog applications be granted a temporary extension until 31 December 2023 of the current visa status. Applicants are not allowed to engage in any activity other than what the visa conditions provide for. For those who wish to abandon their visa applications and depart from South Africa when able to do so, they should be allowed to exit at a port of entry before or on 31 December 2023 without being declared undesirable in terms of section 30(1)(h) the Immigration Act, read with regulation 27(3) of the Immigration Regulations. Non–Visa exempted applicants who traveled out of the country with a receipt are required to apply for a visitor’s visa, which will allow them entry into the country to await the outcome of their visa extension.
c) Short-term visa holders whose visa validity was issued for less than 90 days and who have not received their visa extension outcome by 31 March 2023 must please make the necessary arrangements to depart on or before 30 April 2023 to avoid being declared undesirable.”
Leaving by April 30 creates unplanned added travel expenses along with any other issues relative to leaving early. Our rent and rental car are paid until June 8. It’s good that we haven’t prepaid any bookings yet and have been dragging our feet to see what happens before committing to anything.
So, all we do from here is wait to hear back from the law firm as to how this confusing situation applies to us and proceed from there. Whatever the outcome, we will figure out a plan that works for us. Sure, were could go to Scotland and wait it out until the cruise in August.
But, we’ve found it to be so expensive there, we’d definitely be stretching our budget. Most tourists who go to the UK and Europe stay for short periods, not months. All we can do from here is “play it by ear” until we hear back from the law firm on their interpretation of these vague and uncertain requirements.
By no means are we stressed about this, but we would like to be able to know where we may be going 30 days from today if that’s the case. If we can stay until December, most likely, we’ll stay until July if Louise has a house for us. We won’t bother her with questions until we know exactly what we must do.
Today, I’m busy with laundry and prepping tonight’s dinner, along with both of us reviewing potential options once we know more about our timetable.
Tomorrow, we’re off to Komatipoort to Doc Theo for our cardiac stress tests. I’ll be glad when this is over, and hopefully, we both get good results, along with Tom’s test results.
Photo from one year ago today, March 30, 2022: