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I arrived in South Africa from Australia at the end of october, so I have 3 months in the country, but in december I left the country for a month and recently re-entered thinking I would get another 3 months. But they didn't give me the extra 3 months because they said I had to return to South Africa, so they only gave me the stamp for 3 more weeks, counting the 3 months from when I first entered.

Does anyone know if this is a new rule that you have to go back to where you came from? Because I thought I would get another 3 months as that is what happened with most people I know that didn't get a visa, and now it is too late to get a visa or an extension, does anyone know what will happen to me if I don't leave in 3 weeks and keep my original ticket which was 3 months?

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Places like Europe have a rule like "maximum 90 days in any 180-day period", so taking a day trip to the next country will not produce another 90 days. Other places (Japan, for example) will provide another 90 days after a weekend trip elsewhere.

However, few countries appreciate people staying too long. You do not have to return to your country of origin, you just need to leave.

Looks like your choices are:

  • Pay the airline change fees and go home in 3 weeks.

  • Spend some time in Namibia / Botswana / Zimbabwe. Check with SA immigration to see if Swaziland qualifies as "leaving". You shouldn't have any problems on the way to your return flight as long as your total days in-country do not exceed the original allowance.

  • Spend some money and go to Europe for a while.

  • Hide in SA, hope no one notices when you leave. If they have outbound passport control they very likely will notice. Penalties can range from "Don't do it again!" to a return ban of several years to significant jail time.

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    Please don't spend any time in Zimbabwe – MikeM Jan 9 '15 at 18:08
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    I doubt Swaziland can count as leaving. Last time I went to Swaziland from SA, there was no border check and passport stamp ... so ... how would you prove, officially, that you left SA? – MikeM Jan 9 '15 at 18:10
  • South Africa does have outbound passport control. – alanh Jan 9 '15 at 20:39
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    @Michael.M: Have you been to Zimbabwe? I have. It's nice, lovely people there, eager to please tourists. – John Zwinck Jan 12 '15 at 4:25
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    @JohnZwinck I lived in SA and visited various countries around SA. Personally I prefer countries with less crazy dictators. I really like Namibia. – MikeM Jan 12 '15 at 18:47
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A follow up to my prior note as requested.

I emailed Home Affairs every week between March & May 2015 requesting that my overstay be waived due to valid medical reasons. I included all the required documentation from doctors & hospitals. I also included a cover letter to make it as clear as possible that my absence from my post as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho was placing a hardship on the organization that I had been assigned to serve. I also included photos of me with the kids in the orphanage where I worked. Happy to say that after 8 weeks RSA Home Affairs responded with a letter approving the waiver & allowing me to return to RSA without issue. I was able to return to Lesotho via RSA in June 2015. I have been working at the orphanage ever since. Best wishes.

4

It maybe part of the tightening of immigration rules that went into effect last summer, as on my recent trip to the southern part of the African continent, they did the same for us. Each time we came back to SA they entered the same "until" date based on the first entry stamp.

Your choices are limited to spending the next few months in neighboring countries, then flying back to connect with your flight home. This way you only transit, don't officially re-enter SA.

Pay the airline change fee and go home before your three weeks are up.

Or overstay and be listed as an "Undesirable Person". Aside from having an undesirable stamp in your passport listing you as an undesirable person in SA, you will be banned from traveling there for anywhere from 1 to 5 years.

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My experience with overstay undesirable status:I am a USA citizen & Peace Corps Volunteer and I was serving in Lesotho when I had an accident & broke several bones. I was transported to Bloemfontein where I was hospitalized for 5 weeks before returning to the USA to complete my recovery. When I initially crossed the Lesotho-South Africa land border, my passport was stamped & apparently only received a 7-day stay. Peace Corps did not know that I would be classified as undesirable for one year when I left SA via the Johnnesburg International Airport for the USA. I submitted a waiver request to Home Affairs on March 10 and still have not had a response from SA Home Affairs though I write to them frequently asking for a status. PP

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    Any update on your request? – Andrew Lazarus Nov 8 '15 at 19:33

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