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My boyfriend and I are in SA on a holiday, and only after arriving realised we made an error in judgement on the visa front.

Turns out Poland (his passport) only get 30 instead of 90 days when they enter SA. Also turns out that this covers any travel to either any neighbouring country, or any country until he goes back home.

Our itinerary means we are flying to Zanzibar for 8 nights and returning the day before his visa expires, and due to leave again the day after it expires to fly to Zimbabwe/Vic Falls, before taking an overland trip through Botswana & Namibia and entering SA again through a land border post. We'd be gone for 3 weeks during this time, and visiting 3 other countries, albeit neighbouring countries of SA. If it makes things better we can cross over into Zambia for the day while we're in Vic Falls, to get a stamp from a country that's once removed from SA.

Our main question is, if anyone can say for sure or close enough to, is it likely that he will get a new 30 day stamp upon return from Zanzibar (he would have just 1 day left on his visa at that point, and a ticket to leave the country the day after expiry)? Is it likely he would get 30 days upon entry from Namibia into SA by land? Would it be more likely if his visa had already expired vs. if he had a few days left (if he gets 30 days after Zanzibar, he'd still have about 5 days left when we get back to SA). Also, does anyone know more about the 7 day transit visa? It seems like a last resort option for him if all else fails, to be able to get back in to catch our return flight from Joburg.

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An unsourced, anecdotal answer on our other similar question says that you get a full reset by going to Zanzibar (i.e., Tanzania), but not if going to one of the countries sharing a border with South Africa. The other answer, which does have sourcing, says the opposite: only a return to home country (here, Poland) resets the clock. Another site says that you can get a visa extension inside South Africa, and at the cost of killing several hours dealing with bureaucrats, that would solve your problem.

I didn't vote this as a duplicate because of the conflict in answers on the previous question.

  • Thanks Andrew. I read through all the comments on the other post and didn't come to any conclusive answer, so hoped there might be some more recent anecdotes on offer! Unfortunately the visa extension isn't an option as we're constantly on the move, so cannot surrender his passport for any amount of time. I also read that it takes an age, if ever received back, and he only has the 30 days to start with. Really hoping he gets lucky on this one. Do you think he may still get the 30 days returning from Zanzibar if he still has 1 day left on his previous visa? – Amy Jan 29 at 19:53
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    I don't have a good answer, and I wouldn't rely on anecdotes that can be consequences of lazy or lax border guards. Showing the ticket of your final departure to Europe may help in case of ambiguity. You might also contact the SA High Commission in Dar-es-Salaam or Windhoek, to see if they have advice, or would even be willing to issue a visa. – Andrew Lazarus Jan 29 at 20:12

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