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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

I need advice from people who recently were involved in the extension of a tourist's visa in South Africa.

I'm from Portugal and am now on a 3 month visa, which expires in mid December, and want to have it extended until March.

I've read old threads here - from 2015/6 - where people are saying now the VFS is issuing extensions based on the day of application and not from the day the visa expires. That is pretty redundant since it ruins the whole purpose of getting a 3-month extension and getting only 1 extra in practice. (I'm well aware of the prerequisite of having to apply for it 60 days before the original visa expires).

I've also read that it is possible to ask for a rectification but that can also get rejected and you end up not getting anything helpful.

Also, if anyone ever used an agency and reckoned it may be a safer bet? (Considering the fact they don't interfer with the process)

All of this to ask anyone out there who might have gone through this process recently and might have sound advice to share with me as I'm about to go mad with all the conflicting stories and alternatives.

Thanks a lot!

Sofia
 

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Greetings, Sofia:

I have RECENTLY received my EXTENSION for a tourist visa (September 2017) and will share my experience.

Correct! They begin the EXTENSION from the time your application was approved. This is horrible for us, as we need an extension through end of January (not the beginning of December). :( So, here we are, going to DHA directly, to try to "rectify" this issue this week.....

Timeframe: While they tell us to apply 60 days in advance, it only took 1-2 weeks to process and be approved. I had to keep checking online because I did not pay for the SMS notification for some of our applications. They say it could take a long time to process, but that was NOT our case. Very quick.

Here is our experience:

Our tourist visa expires end of October, therefore we started our extension as early as possible (once we recognised we would need one).

Beginning of Sept :
Began our Extension Application ONLINE, Paid the Fees, Scheduled Appointment for the next day, and submitted our documents at VFS Pretoria. (There was a problem with one of our family member's name not having a space between it as the passport has a space, therefore we had to do his application SEPARATELY, request refund and etc....)

Middle of Sept:
Never even knew our application was completed so fast. We did not understand that when the STATUS was updated online and said " Application Sent to VFS", this meant a decision was reached and ready for pick up. It took about 1.5 week (a week and a half) to complete. We received an EXTENSION, but it was from the start of the application and not from the expiration date stamped inside our passport. This is pointless and feels like a way to take more money later or not allow you to stay as long. Very unfair.

At this point, we are simply going to try to "Rectify" this with DHA to get the actual timeframe we asked for (end of January). SIDE NOTE (Personal Thoughts on the Matter): I feel as if they did not read our intent letter, nor review our application details fully. They even listed our EXTENSION as "Holiday" incorrectly. All four of us have different extension dates, even though the application for our family was together, in the same file, at the same time! It is rather ridiculous, to say the least.

Best wishes on your Tourist Extension! I pray it works out for you. I am confident it will. Just take note of all experiences you are reading and move accordingly. Please keep us informed on your progress. I cannot recommend waiting until the last minute, however the 60 days in advance really messed us up and will never do it so early again.

ALSO: My other son's application (which was done separately due to the name-space issue ) was processed very quickly as well. We had SMS notification on his particular separate application and received real-time notifications quite nicely. Everything went very quickly. You wont know the "decision" until you go and pick up the results when it is time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for sharing your story.

It is indeed a joke that they make us go through all of this only to get an extra month and not the 90 full days!

I will wait to see what others might have to say about this, but next week I have to start the process as it is the deadline for doing so.

Let me know how the rectification process goes. I hope you can change the dates and sort everything out.

I will equally let you know how my little adventure goes!

All the best!
 

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Just an Update: I have a "rectification appointment" scheduled end of this week.

Earlier this week, I took the advice of the VFS Manager and made an attempt to contact DHA Managers. That was unsuccessful, with only one response telling me to go to the Head Office of DHA. There was no parking available for a long time. The parking garage attendant said that I needed an appointment in order to park in the garage. Better off taking a taxi and being dropped off. What a nightmare...lol So, I went back to emailing the VFS manager, who has been very kind and extremely helpful. She even called me back within an hour of receiving my email. Noone explained that I can simply request an appointment through the VFS Online Portal (same portal where I scheduled the Extension Appointment). That is something I had to discover on my own.

Will keep you posted on my success or lack thereof.... Hoping and trusting for the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
LOL! This is like a Monty Phyton sketch, everything just non-sense....

Thanks for the update. I'm having my first meeting at the VFS tomorrow and, unless I'm very lucky, I will also have to go through the rectification process afterwards (I'm being positive on a good outcome in the first place, fingers crossed)

Good luck! We'll keep in touch.
 

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Lol, exactly. Nonsense indeed. Waste of time...rectifications for Visitor Visa Extensions only apply to certain issues (no our issue at all). Arrived to my appointment, sat for 2 hours, just to be told that my application cannot be accepted (at all) as the "date issue" does not qualify. When you walk into any VFS office, they generally have the rules posted on a wall near the Collection and Submission area). It is clearly outlined. This is ridiculous, to say the least.

On a lighter note, I was able to walk into the HEAD OFFICE for DHA right after that appointment and speak with the receptionist. She directly contacted one of the managers over visa processing that I had emailed. Supposedly, I am to return next week, first thing in the morning, to speak with her directly. :) We shall see....

These laws are horrendous. You are to apply for an extension 60 days before the visitor visa expires, then receive a 90 day extension that begins from your application date....extremely hard time contacting anyone and the run-around. Part of the EXTENSION APPLICATION PROCESS requires you to provide RETURN FLIGHT TICKETS....they care less about you having to modify your flight tickets to your returning country, yet you cannot visit a neighbouring country and return? My reason for being here was to finalise a Business Permit....just to find out that it has to be finalised in my home country?

I am done..... lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi again,

What happened in the end? Could you get the extension for the initially planned days?

I just got notified that my visa is ready for collection today... Will tell you the outcome later today.
 

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Hello! No. Nothing. Not a thing. No help at all from these people. The only thing I have received was an email response from HACC, whereas they keep forwarding our URGENT EMAIL to someone else and I happen to get cc: (copied) on it a week back. I sent a follow up email last Friday and again today, ironically. I will continue to email them over and over again until its time for us to leave. On a lighter, more positive note....I guess I can say that "Someone" is being proactive. Otherwise, time is running out, waiting for them to correct the visa dates. This is a true sign that I will NOT invest our business here, nor go further with our Business Visa. Very unfortunate.

I have emailed EVERYONE and EVERY SINGLE MANAGER at DHA that handles this situation. I may be forced to simply ask a friend that works there to help. This place is extremely corrupt and I do not want to get involved with that end of "favors" and such. We are just forced to leave . Its very unfortunate. If this is the case, I will NOT recommend anyone from to invest their money into this system. This VFS contracting system just takes your money and DHA processes paperwork without even reading it fully. We paid for a 90 day extension, not a 58 day extension.

I wish you the best with your extension dates! Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That is indeed frustrating and exhausting. I completely understand that you do not want to pursue business here. This is also very damaging to South Africa's economy at large, they should really reform this immigration policy they have now, for their benefit as well.

On a happier note, I guess I was one of the lucky ones. My visa was approved and extended for a period of 90 days, as it should be... At least now I can breathe at easy for another 5 months.

Thank you very much for your feedback. And wish you can resolve it, even if that means resorting to "someone"... We all know that in many places that's how things work, for better or worse.

xx
Sofia
 

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Congrats!!! That is GREAT news for you. I am happy to hear you had favor with your extension dates. (Someone paying attention at DHA processing your application) :) Thank you for the update. Best wishes in your endeavours.
 

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Just an Update: DHA FINALLY responded, after one last effort of contact on my end. NEW CORRECTED VISA LABELS. (Yadah Yah, as we say in my language). I believe the key = Prayer, "Social Media" contacts and Never giving Up. I picked up two stickers a few days ago...and two more when they call to tell us they are ready. VFS Collections was nicer than I have ever experienced, ad the particular DHA manager was beyond helpful and sympathetic (He is not the one listed on the website that they tell you to go to). THEY REALLY need to update their website. Nonetheless, I am grateful to have this resolved a mere 2 weeks before the incorrect expiry dates.
 
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