Extending your South African visa

Many cruisers wish to extend their 90-day stay in South Africa. Unfortunately, the visa extension process is often long-winded and unsatisfactory in terms of the time taken for approval.

 

The visa extension process is handled by an agency VFS and the process is as follows:

  1. Visit the VFS website

  2. Identify the visa type, start the application, pay the fees and then book an appointment at an application centre to personally submit the application.

Note that the most convenient coastal application centres are in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town and that once the extension is approved you have to visit the same application centre to receive your visa.

This may present the typical cruiser/visitor with a dilemma when cruising from east to west. Whether to submit in Durban or PE, not knowing how long it will take for approval, and then having to return later to Durban or PE to receive the visa, OR wait until you reach the Cape and then apply in Cape Town? There is no easy answer to this.

An alternative to applying for a visa extension is to leave the country a few days before your visa expires and to return well AFTER ITS EXPIRY. A further 90 day visa should then be given on re-entry. This is normally the case but is not guaranteed. There do not seem to be any hard-and-fast rules on this and it is up to the individual immigration officer at the port of entry with sometimes random decisions.

 

If you make a road trip to Botswana or Namibia there shouldn’t be a problem on re-entry. If you return by air to your home country there is not normally a problem.

 

 

OSASA/31 October 2022