I received an undesirable status for overstaying a SA visa while hospitalized for injuries sustained in Lesotho. I had to cross into SA from Lesotho. Now I am banned entry into SA until Feb 2016 and though I have submitted a waiver request to remove the undesirable status, I hear from some the waiver request may take 4-5 months or even take longer than the time of banishment.

I have a pre-paid safari planned in October in which I need to fly through Johannesburg to get to Botswana. The Jburg border control requires tourists to pass through SA immigration even when simply changing planes. 1) Will SA grant me "transit" access if I don't leave the airport? 2) Will SA allow me to spend a night in the airport as the layover is 12 hours>

Thanks for passing on any info.

  • 1
    Can you please give an update on your situation? Were you successful with your trip to Botswana?
    – smmarten45
    Nov 22, 2017 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


The South Africa High Commission website states that you only need a transit visa through SA if you do not go through a port of entry (such as a land border). An airport is a port of entry. Thus, you should not need a transit visa to transfer in the airport, and you should not have to go through immigration.

Passport holders who want to transit a South African port of entry enroute to any other country, may do so without the need to apply for a transit visa.

Transit Visas are NOT issued at South African ports of entry.

I couldn't find anything official regarding sleeping in the airport, however, this blog post makes it seem fairly reasonable for you to stay there for 12 hours.

  • There is transit immigration, and they do stamp passports, but a transit visa is not needed
    – Crazydre
    Nov 23, 2017 at 1:30
  • Will the gate agents at the previous stop allow you to board the plane to SA?
    – smmarten45
    Nov 24, 2017 at 21:27
  • Since they will see that your final destination is not SA, they should allow you to board to SA, yes. Dec 5, 2017 at 1:28

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