I was recently deemed an undesirable person by South African home affairs as I left the country a day after my visa had expired. They told me I am banned for 12 months. I plan on appealing this decision as I could not travel out of the country on the 18th when my visa expired due to transport issues. I am just wondering if anyone else has appealed this sort of decision and how long it took to hear feedback.

  • 3
    Not directly answering your question ('how long will it take to get feedback?'), but 'transport issues' are not a valid reason for overstaying a visa. If you had no means to exit South Africa on the last day of your visa, you should have left one day earlier. Jun 20, 2016 at 12:13
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    I don't know for South Africa. For the UK such a process would usually take somewhere between 8 - 36 months, depending upon how far into the process you wanted to take it. Right now the Upper Tribunal is hearing appeals lodged in 2012 - 2013.
    – Gayot Fow
    Jun 20, 2016 at 16:44
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo "Transport issues" might include a delayed flight/bus. Not that I disagree with leaving a day of leeway, but "no means" could be off if he were already en route. Jun 20, 2016 at 16:49
  • @AndrewLazarus What kind of 'transport issue' is probably irrelevant. Even if you are stranded because of a delay or a cancellation, it is usually still your problem if you are overstaying a visa. Jun 20, 2016 at 17:00
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo So you should basically never enter, because you cannot be sure you will be able to leave? Is the world really this far down the drain already? Sep 5, 2016 at 14:18

3 Answers 3


The decision in the Johnson & Others v Minister of Home Affairs & Others cases was given on 30 June 2014 in respect of alleged immigration infringements from 28 May 2014. This may sound promising but the hearing was to determine urgency and the results, though generally favourable to the applicants, were interim. The decision (of urgency) was challenged but failed on 24 March 2015. My guess is that there is as yet no final resolution.

Note that the urgency arose from, for example, the age of a child involved (2-1/2 years). You do not indicate a similar consideration applies for you.

The decision handed down on 7 June 2000 of the Constitutional Court in Dawood, Shalabi, & Thomas v Minister of Home Affairs, heard 23 March 2000,was also favourable to the appellants though in respect of alleged infringements from 1998. The signs are that riding out a one year ban will be quicker than waiting for the final outcome of an appeal, if the appeals process has to be pursued to exhaustion (rather than terminated earlier due to a conclusion satisfactory to you).

Now, maybe you feel a 'point of principle' or require a ban to be removed, however long it takes, for other reasons (eg possibly in connection with visa applications to other countries interested in such matters). However, if just trying to get back into SA sooner than in a year your prospects do not look good. OK, I clearly have no hard facts about how soon any administrative (as opposed to judicial) process may take or what proportion of appeals, if any, are accepted through such a process but I consider it ominous that Le Roux Attorneys Inc.(even though a firm for whom appeals provide work) mention delays and backlogs encountered through the Department of Home Affairs.

Anyway, there is a 10 working day limit from receipt of Form 19 to submit an appeal and for you I'm afraid that has long passed, so if not already in the system you have no chance.


I only have one datapoint, but might be helpful nonetheless. From an answer here:

  • 8 weeks following a medical problem.


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. [...]

Besides that you should already know that you should direct your appeal to the Home Affairs Department.

Persons who are declared undesirable persons in terms of Section 30(1)(h) read with 50(1) of the Immigration Act, no 13 of 2002 as amended (no. 13 of 2011) must submit the written representative as indicated below:

The following documents must be submitted:

  1. Written representation
  2. A copy of the declaration of undesirability (form 19) that was issued at the Port of Entry
  3. Copy of the relevant pages of the passport, including bio page Acknowledgment of receipt( in cases where the applicant has applied for a permit and the status is still pending)
  4. If the applicant overstayed due to medical reasons a medical certificated must be submitted. The appeal must be e-mailed to: [email protected]

For confirmation that the appeal has been received applicants may contact IMS Deportations at 012 406 4985

On the same page you find the department even has a FB and Twitter presence and while I found them responsive, they quickly direct you to get in touch with them via phone or other more traditional channels. There are other accounts that seem to confirm the answer of @pnuts that they are much less responsive.

Googling also reveals a number of lawyers that claim to be helpful in lodging such an appeal.

I have no personal experience with the appeal process.

  • 1
    @pnuts I see much truth and good advice in your answer (and +1 already) but at least the first case you cite (and many other cases that google turned up for me) is for resident type visa, whereas the Q (and this A) seems (is) about tourist visa, so I thought it worth mentioning. It seems the OP has abandoned TSE since, so this is more for the record and to clear the unanswered Qs list (as well as hoping for a bounty :)
    – mts
    Sep 9, 2016 at 14:58

if declared undesirable for a year, ensure that you check with the Immigration division (airport entry) before booking flights, because the 'undesirable' status will not have been automatically removed. Therefore, it's very likely that your return may be a nightmare. Immigration Head Office need to process some paperwork before system removes undesirable status. I contacted the Overstay Appeals office daily for two weeks and focused on one individual to help me. He did eventually - never lose patience ! :)

  • As a South African, I find that last point quite on point. That's how we get stuff done in SA - get a contact in the government office and then phone them everyday to check the progress. Eventually they will get sick and tired of hearing your voice and fix the problem. Haha Aug 27, 2017 at 9:55

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