I'm a UK citizen visiting South Africa on a 90-day visa-free visit.

I understand that due to rule changes you must now leave the African continent before returning (don't necessarily need to return to your home country) in order to receive another 90-day stay before the current period expires.

My admission period is due to expire on 3rd April. If I leave SA on 2nd April for a neighbouring country or another African country (e.g. Mozambique or Zambia) and then allow the original admission period to expire whilst I am out of the country, will I receive a new 90-day stay if I return on say 4/5/6th April?

Or do the same rules apply as when you leave the country during your 90 days and you must leave the continent?

2 Answers 2


I just called immigration at OR Tambo airport, and they said that normally you should only be given the remainder of your original 90-day visa-free visit unless having left Africa altogether - this is in order to prevent people from doing visa runs (living in the country without a visa).

However, I've heard anecdotes about land border agents often being very lax and esy to bribe into giving you a few more days if necessary because of your return date.

How long are you actually planning to stay in South Africa? The best way to get a longer stay is not to border hop, but to apply for an extension ASAP through the Department of Home affairs

  • I was hoping to stay until 31st May. I already went to Namibia and upon return was told that i only have to 3rd April and i'll need to leave the continent in order to renew my 90 days. I'll never get the extension in time as it seems you have to apply within the first 30 days of your original visa...I have 2 weeks left. The thing i'm still not clear on is what happens when the original 90-day visa-free visit has expired? I'm then no longer extending the original visa but seeking a new one. Does this make a difference?
    – David
    Mar 22, 2017 at 12:58
  • @David Yes, you'd be applying for another visa-free entry, and whether it'd be granted is up to the border official. They have to assess whether you're a genuine visitor or are doing visa runs
    – Crazydre
    Mar 22, 2017 at 13:52
  • THANKS! Will go to Home Affairs tomorrow to try and find out more about the chances of getting that visa
    – David
    Mar 22, 2017 at 14:08
  • @David Let us know how it went.
    – Crazydre
    Mar 24, 2017 at 21:48

I successfully traveled to Mauritius and back, I stayed for 5 days and they gave me a new 90 days, but your first 90 days needs to expire while you're gone, if you return before they expire they will give you the remaining and if you leave after they expire you will be deemed "undesirable" and banned from the country for 1-5 years.

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