The Department of Home Affairs has tightened the grip on people staying illegal in South Africa. The officials at the border posts are showing a now mercy attitude, even if one has overstayed for one day only.
The consequences of an overstay are as follows:
The Director-General may declare a foreigner undesirable who overstays after the expiry of his or her visa, and may
(a) in the case of a person who overstays for a period not exceeding 30 days, be declared undesirable for a period of 12 months;
(b) in the case of a person who overstays for the second time within a period of 24 months, be declared undesirable for a period of two years; and
(c) in the case of a person who overstays for more than 30 days, be declared undesirable for a period of five years.
The Department has further communicated in December 2015, that an undesirable person does not qualify for an entry into the country, a visa or a permanent residence during the restriction period. Over and above, an administrative cash penalty is imposed.
The new ruling has also caused hardship on those that overstayed due to unforeseen reasons (sickness, accident etc.). Even in these cases will the Department impose an undesirable status and the person has to lodge an appeal to have the ban lifted.
We recommend to all our clients to avoid overstaying, as the appeal process is extremely slow and in many cases not very successful.