DHA’S Visa Centralisation Means Even Longer Processing Times

IBN Immigration Solutions has received an internal notice from South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) that advises of changes on the adjudication of visa applications at the South Africa Missions/Embassies. Please refer to the full notice here: Internal Communique no. 3 

In summary, the notice issued by the DHA states that, while short-term visas and Study Visas will still be adjudicated at missions, long-term visas will be sent to Pretoria Head Office for adjudication, further exacerbating the current backlog and leading to longer processing durations overall. 

The notice confirms that centralising the adjudication process has not been finalised internally and thus processes have yet to be fully implemented. Our immigration consultants have been working tirelessly to find out more about the recent decision to centralise the adjudication of visas at Pretoria’s Head office.  

Our team has received the following feedback from the embassies so far and we will update this list as we receive formal confirmation from Embassies.  

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*Please refer to the Embassy website for the current processing times for short-term and Study Visas 

Applications for Tourist, Business 11.2 or Study Visas will still be adjudicated by the Embassy. Processing times for these can be accessed at the relevant Embassy website. 

Effects on Foreign Nationals Entering SA:

Visa applicants looking to enter South Africa on long-term visas could be affected by this backlog in many ways, including: 

  • Delays in attending school for minor applicants if parents’ visas have not been issued and therefore, they cannot travel to SA 
  • Arranging shipment of household items – applicants may have to pay higher import duties if they do not have long-term visa status in SA when shipment arrives 
  • Potentially not being able to travel to other countries, as the passport will be retained by the Embassies 
  • Delays in starting their employment, if applying for a Work Visa 
  • Delays in starting up/running a business in SA, if applying for Business Visas

Effects on corporates and Global Mobility Managers:  

  • Projects are being delayed 
  • Urgent, high-level expertise cannot be sourced and alternatives must be considered, such as 11(2) as an interim measure, where feasible 

Effects on local South Africans: 

Local South Africans are not safe from the effects of the DHA backlog, with passport processing, birth and death certificate processing and SmartCard ID applications slowing to a crawl in the past months.  

To travel as South African citizens and allow the rest of the world to benefit from our expertise, knowledge and culture, it is imperative that identity documents and passports are processed swiftly and efficiently. 

Considering these updates, planning your immigration journey early and in compliance with these changes is more important than ever. We encourage you to contact an immigration expert at IBN Immigration Solutions to assist as soon as possible. 

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