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Getting a South Africa Visa Extension for tourists is not hard, but it is a complicated and time consuming process. I spent hours researching, printed up dozens of documents and still had problems the first time I went for my visa extension. Hopefully, my lessons learned and hindsight will save you some time and get you the 90 day extension if you have fallen in love with Cape Town as I have.

VFS South Africa

The South Africa Department of Home Affairs outsources their visa processing to VFS Global. VFS Global handles the entire application and interview process, although I believe once the application has been submitted, the actual offsite review is by the Department of Home Affairs. You only need to worry about VFS and you will start here: https://www.vfsglobal.com/dha/southafrica/visitor-visa-section-holiday.html

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Following are the correct choices used for my tourist visa extension:

1) Application Type – Temporary Residence Visa

2) Application Sub Type – TRV-Renewal Visa

3) Application Sub Type Category – Visitors Visa Section 11(1)

According to VFS, "A Visitor Visa is a document that gives travellers permission to enter South Africa on a temporary basis for Visit to family or friends and Tourism purposes." The official recommendation is to apply for your extension 60 days before your visa expires. So, if you entered on a 90-day visa, start the application process within your first 30 days.

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Cost of South Africa Visa Extension Tourist (2019)

  • Application and Service Fee (mandatory) – 1775R
  • SMS Notification Service (Optional) – 20R. After you submit your application, you can choose to receive text updates, like for when your visa is ready to be picked up. Without these, you’ll have to login in to the site regularly to check the status as you will not receive any proactive notification.
  • Premium Lounge (Optional Service) – 500R. I HIGHLY regret not choosing this option and if I had a do-over, I would definitely pay for the premium lounge which includes complimentary photocopies and prints, a dedicated lounge, priority service and more.
  • All VFS additional services can be found at: https://www.vfsglobal.com/dha/southafrica/additional-service.html#2

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South Africa Visa Extension Requirements

Following is exactly what was in my information packet that was accepted by VFS Global for processing. It is a lot of information and you will need a photocopier and printer. If you need an internet cafe near the VFS Office in Cape Town (2 Long Street), I HIGHLY recommend the Cell World and Net Cafe @ 22 Long Street. You can use their facilities on your own for a very reasonable price, or you can hire Oscar of Billion House Consulting, who is always on site at the cafe (I think he owns it), and who specializes in Visa Extensions. He has successfully helped thousands of people through the process and really knows what he is doing. Oscar is definitely the reason my extension was granted.

As you complete the Visa Application online, it is best to be connected to a printer, although you can save the documents for later. You also need to have access to your email account while connected to a printer. After you fill out the forms, you will be required to pay. It is not until after you pay that you will be able to schedule your appointment with VFS. VFS does provide a document checklist, but they leave off half of what you actually need. After you schedule your appointment, print the following:

  1. Appointment Letter
  2. Proof of Payment
  3. Print out of entire application
  4. Copy of Passport (photo page)
  5. Copy of Passport (South African entry stamp)
  6. Motivation Letter (see sample below)
  7. Bank Statement (proof of financial means)
  8. Onward Ticket (I used bestonwardticket.com and scheduled my ticket for the end of my 90 day extension)
  9. Proof of accommodation (hotel or airbnb confirmation)

When you login to the VFS website, you’ll see several choices, including Print and Payment Detail. You will need to print both of these to have numbers 1, 2 and 3 above. When you click Print, the screen will open for you to both Print and also Download Form and Checklist. You need both of these. And it is totally unclear on the site. Print will print your confirmation letter (#1) and the download Zip file will provide you the application printout (#3). You also want to print from Payment Detail or the payment confirmation email you receive (#2). You must bring your physical passport as well as have photocopies.

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How Long Does it Take to Get a South Africa Visa Extension?

The official recommendation is to apply for your extension 60 days before your visa expires. So, if you entered on a 90-day visa, start the application process within your first 30 days. My Visa took a little longer than normal because I applied on the very last day before they were scheduled to take an official two week holiday. I applied on December 19 and picked up my Visa Extension on Janurary 28. Another friend applied on January 29th and picked up her extension on February 27th.

Here are the dates of the process and the messges I received.

  • Applied December 19th (followed by official 2 week holiday)
  • Application for Melissa has been received at DHA on 02 Jan 2019
  • Application for Melissa has been forwarded to Pretoria OC on 24 Jan 2019
  • Application for Melissa has been forwarded to VFC on 25 Jan 2019
  • Application for Melissa is ready for collection at VFS on 28 Jan 2019

There are no appointments required to pick up your Visa when you received the message it is ready for collection. Bring your receipt and passport with you and plan to spend 1-2 hours in the office. If you want to be first in line, arrive by 9:30am, as my friend arrived at 9:45am and there were already 30 people ahead of her in line. I arrived at 11:00 am and waited one hour to receive my visa.

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Visitors Visa South Africa

As you arrive for your scheduled Visa appointment, expect to spend about 4-6 hours at the office. The first thing you will need is your appointment letter, which is like your confirmation, to be allowed into the visa office. Then you wait an hour or so to be called up for application processing. If all goes well, you’ll receive an official envelope with all your documentation and you’ll wait for your fingerprints and biometrics. While the actual time with the specialists takes about 30 minutes, the waiting to see the specialists will take up most of your day.

Visitors Visa South Africa

Once you are done, you will not know if/how long your visa extension will be and that is why you check online. Usually, if you’ve made it this far, your application will be approved once it goes to the Department of Home Affairs, but you will not know for how long the extension is approved until your application is processed. The general rule is that extensions are good for the addition of the original amount of time your visa allowed into the country. So, if you originally had a 90 day visa, your extension will also be for 90 days. However, there are exceptions to this general rule all the time.

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South Africa Visa Extension Motivation Letter Sample

Department of Home Affairs
Head Office
Pretoria

Dear Sir/Madam:

Letter of Extension
Name: YOUR NAME
Passport No: YOUR PASSPORT NUMBER

I, the above mentioned, am requesting an extension of my visiting visa. I came to South Africa from the United States on holiday to Cape Town with a visiting visa (reference no: 687) (THREE DIGIT CODE ON YOUR PASSPORT STAMP) on 2018/10/21 and my visa will expire on 2019/01/19.

As this is a wonderful country and city, I would very much like to stay in Cape Town through 2019/04/19.

While in the republic, I will be staying at 10 STREET NAME, CITY. I have included the necessary documentation to prove I have the resources required to sustain myself and would never depend on the government for support.

Thank you in advance for your time.

Warmest Regards,

NAME

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South Africa Visa Extension Companies

There are plenty of companies you may hire to help you through this process as easily and quickly as possible. Their fees are in addition to the 1775R VFS Application and Service Fee and average between 4,000-5,000R. Some South Africa Visa Extension Companies include:

  • Billion House Consulting (Oscar) – Cell World and Net Cafe @ 22 Long Street. I highly recommend Oscar. His email is cellworld584 @ gmail.com
  • nwivisas.com
  • immigrationsouthafrica.com

South Africa Visa Extension Companies

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