South Africa under a Presidential ordered “lockdown”, which has been defined into different levels. South Africa is currently under level 4 lockdown since 1 May from a level 5 lockdown in force during mid-February and April.
You may view the latest Directive published on 29 April 2020, most notably Annexure D on page 35 headed “Essential Services” pertaining to Level 4 lockdown - https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/202004/43258rg11098gon480.pdf
We have the following updates on the services we offer:-
DIRCO – CLOSED until further notice, no communication received.
Courts – PARTIALLY OPENED - with skeleton staff working on a rotational basis for Apostilles, not authentications.
SAQA – CLOSED until further notice, no communication received.
The SAPS police clearance department – OPEN - with skeleton staff working on a rotational basis.
VFS – CLOSED the latest information received: VFS will open under level 2 lockdown and start with collections only (dates unconfirmed). VFS will then open for new applications at a later unconfirmed date.
The Department of Home Affairs have advised, by published Directive, that foreign nationals will not be penalised on their visa conditions as long as the expiry of the visa is a result of the lockdown. All COVID affected visas are deemed to be valid if expired during lockdown. More information on the DHA website (please note that the info has not been updated and may not apply under level 4 lockdown): http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/1336-temporary-measures-to-deal-with-immigration-issues-during-the-national-lockdown
The Department of Home Affairs: Immigration matters – PARTIALLY OPENED but they are clearing backlogs of visa and permanent residence applications. No new applications in RSA or at the Embassy. Visa exempted countries have been suspended, foreign nationals must travel with a newly authorised visa and may be subject to forced quarantine for 14 days on arrival. (Some Embassies are accepting visitors visa applications for urgent matters, i.e. death in the family. The application must contain a detailed motivation to consider the visa application).
The Department of Home Affairs: Civic Affairs – PARTIALLY OPENED only processing certain new applications like birth/death certificates relating to the last few months & COVID. Rotational staff are also clearing backlogs of existing applications. Reissuing of certificates is closed until further notice.
SA EMBASSIES – Some are open, some closed; with no consistency or notice of opening/closing. The Embassies are acting autonomously. We advise that you contact your nearest Embassy should you need any Embassy services.
FOREIGN EMBASSIES IN SA – Majority are closed, most notably the Chinese Embassy in SA is closed which will affect TEFL applications for teaching in China which require the Embassy Stamp on the documentation.
SENDING/RECEIVING DOCUMENTS – documents can only be sent to us by courier and we can only return documents by courier door to door (we use DHL). For new and upcoming applications we advise that you send the documents to us in the interim so when Departments open we can submit immediately. Currently we cannot meet face to face, but happy to discuss by telephone call, skype, whatsapp call or video conference.
Please feel free to call or email us with regards to the services and support we can provide for you during the lockdown period. Our Sandton office premises remains closed, but we are still open and fully operational with staff working remotely respecting and adhering to Government directives.
Please note that all of the above is subject to change without notice. We will post updates as and when we receive clarification.
Keep safe and Godspeed during these difficult times.