5 challenges SA Visa or Permit applicants can face if they don’t seek professional advice.

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Nora Dawud, CEO of Black Pen immigration explains the 5 challenges you can come across when submitting your SA Visa or Permits.

Nora is a leading figure in South African immigration and International Trade Law and has been in the Immigration Law industry since 2010. She’s going to shed some light on the advantages of taking up the services of an immigration agency and the kind of problems applicants can face if they don’t seek professional advice.

Watch the video below for more information on how Nora elaborated on the topic:

Challenge 1: Submitting incorrect information

Let's start with the basic issue where things typically can go wrong. From my experience, Immigration problems can arise even before the Department of Home Affairs has received an application. The standard procedure requires applicants to go through the VFS ‘Visa Facilitation Service’ which is the office that handles the immigration paperwork prior to submission. The completed documents are then sent to Home Affairs to be assessed. In some cases people may be drawn to taking incorrect visa advice from VFS officials. The VFS checklist and website info is also often incomplete. For example the check list for Permanent Residence based on Critical skills still shows the check list of Exceptional skills which can mislead people to apply for the incorrect Visa/Permit.

Challenge 2: Rejection or being declared ‘Undesirable’

If an application is submitted incorrectly it’s not as easy as submitting another set of forms. If you, for instance fail to  submit your police clearances correctly Home Affairs can reject your application. If it's a Spousal Visa application an entire family may become separated. Once one receives a rejection letter they can even be declared ‘undesirable’. Being declared undesirable means that if you leave the country or when your passport expires, you can be banned from re-entering South Africa for up to 5 years. You might even lose your job, if the company is no longer willing to wait for your visa to be approved.

We also quite recently dealt with a case where a woman married to a South African man got declared undesirable and was therefore separated from her spouse for more than one year. She made several attempts to resolve the ban on her own, without any success. Only after one year she contacted us at Black Pen Immigration and we managed to get the issue resolved in just 3 weeks.

Challenge 3: Constant release of new directives

It can become very cumbersome for one to stay up to date with the current legal requirements of Home Affairs as they change quite regularly. Home Affairs constantly releases new directives and if you are not aware of them, you might end up with a rejected application.

Examples of new regulations since the last immigration law change made in May 2014

  • Being declared undesirable at the airport when your visa is expired. Under the old law you were allowed to fly out with the acknowledgment of receipt stating you had a pending application. This directive was withdrawn. Now you will be declared undesirable for up to 5 years.
  • The Act “27g” Permanent Residence; relative of a South African or Permanent Residence minor child in the first kinship will no longer be issued.  Reason: A minor child can not support the parents. In such cases we as an immigration lawyer it's not very difficult to challenge the decision.

Challenge 4: Intervention

Apart from obviously staying up to date with the exact requirements for applications, as a legal immigration company we can contact the Department of Home Affairs to intervene in certain cases. We sometimes seek assistance from the DHA in Pretoria, if it so happens that the South African Embassy abroad has interpreted the Law differently. In such cases, we usually contact the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria and they, in turn instruct the S.A Embassy abroad to accept the application - which of course an individual cannot do very easily.

For example: If an accompanying minor needs to attend school in South Africa, they require a letter from the school, however the schools firstly need to assess the children before they can issue such letters. Some Embassies will not issue an Accompanying Child Visa as they may state that the child is supposed to apply for a Study Visa. This is not possible in South Africa, as a study visa would require a school letter or invitation. But, before issuing a letter or invitation as I have already mentioned, all schools are required to see and meet the minor to make the necessary assessments before making any decisions-which is a lengthy process. 

We as immigration lawyers usually contact the DHA in Pretoria directly, who can instruct the Embassy to accept the application and once the child is in the country and has passed the required assessments, we can change it to a study visa. Obviously if you are not aware of these steps before hand, you may end up not receiving a visa at all.

Challenge 5: Timelines

We have a team of experts who engage in rigorous checks to ensure that your application is ‘fool proof’. The Department of Home Affairs is currently quite efficient and if you have a good and strong application, they usually send your outcome in just 3-4 weeks. If for any reason there is no outcome in 12 weeks we as an immigration consultancy can contact the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria to finalize the visa which an individual usually cannot do.

There you have it! it’s very important to seek the services of an immigration professional to avoid all the potential challenges that you may come across during the application process.

Black Pen immigration provides free assessments for all visa seekers from around the globe. Let the Black Pen immigration experts assist you to find the right Visa for yourself or your company without any unnecessary hassles or expenses.