SOUTH AFRICA | Change in Visa Validity Date Benefits Holders

Per Immigration Directive No. 19 of 2016, the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has effectively lengthened the usable time of all visas for foreign nationals traveling to South Africa. Beginning August 1, all printed visas issued through the DHA’s Visa Adjudication System (VAS) will now bear a “Valid From” date rather than an “Issue Date,” as was the previous practice. While this a small change in form, it will produce significant benefits for travelers to South Africa.

Under the old form bearing the “Issue Date,” the validity period of the visa began running immediately upon issue. This meant that if there was any delay in travel upon obtaining the visa, some portion of the validity period had already been used prior to arrival in South Africa. With the new “Valid From” date, visa recipients may now plan their arrival in South Africa to fall on or soon after the validity date, so that they receive the full benefit of the validity period.