The Department of Home Affairs has a huge backlog with regards to most temporary residence visa applications submitted in South Africa and many applications have been pending for more than six months. The Department of Home Affairs has not provided any reasons for the backlog, but we can only assume that it is a result of staff shortages, staff shuffling, new adjudication procedures, etc.
The Department of Home Affairs has issued a Circular with concessions, described as follows.
All long term temporary residence visa holders, have an automatic extension until 30 June 2022, provided that they have a long term temporary residence visa application pending and their existing visa has subsequently expired. They are also allowed to travel out of South Africa with the visa application receipt, until 30 June 2022, without being penalized. However, in instances where one is not visa exempt, one would require a visa in order to return to South Africa.
At this point in time, there is no indication as to whether or not the above-mentioned concessions will be extended.
In recent months, The Department has implemented a new adjudication procedure relating to all long term temporary residence visa applications submitted at South African missions throughout the world, which is that all such applications must now be forwarded to The Head Office of The Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria, to be adjudicated. The result of this new adjudication procedure is that applications which usually took 6 to 10 weeks to be processed, appear to be takings 6 months and longer to be processed. This new adjudication process has increased the backlog in respect of visa applications submitted inside and outside South Africa.
The backlog continues to increase and no information is being offered, with regards to what measures will be implemented to alleviate same.