Home Affairs implements online renewal for asylum seekers

The aim is to provide an extension of visa service without risking exposure to Covid-19

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Photo of a building

The Durban Refugee Reception Centre which closed with the March 2020 lockdown. Archive photo: Nokulunga Majola

On Thursday, the Department of Home Affairs called on all qualifying asylum seekers and refugees to renew their visas and statuses online before 30 June 2021.

In March, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi had extended the validity of asylum seeker visas and refugee statuses that expired during the lockdown to 30 June 2021.

In a statement, the department said that the online extension is aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19.

The department started to offer the online extension service on 15 April.

“With the online extension, a holder of an asylum seeker visa (section 22) or a refugee status (section 24), is able to request an extension of visa validity through email, without having to physically go to a refugee reception office.

“When making a request for online extension, a client sends an email message to a dedicated email address. A client will then receive a response outlining the process to follow, a template and list of required documents. Once all documents are sent and received at Home Affairs the department will consider the request and communicate its decision by email.”

It said in cases where a request cannot be processed online and the applicant must appear in person at a Refugee Reception Office, a letter will be sent with a scheduled appointment.

“In cases of families, each member must submit a request for an extension individually. Multiple clients are allowed to use one email address. The principal applicant must sign extension requests of minors. The signature on those requests must be the same as the ones on the existing or expired permits,” the statement said.

Requests for permit extension should be sent to the refugee reception office where the last extension was made.

TOPICS:  Home Affairs Immigration

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