Answer to a question from a reader

When my asylum permit was terminated Home Affairs marked my passport as "v list" . What does this mean?

The whole question

Home Affairs stamped my passport "v list code j" after I was deported when they terminated my asylum permit in 2016. What does this mean?

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking about “V list code j” that was stamped in your passport after they terminated your asylum permit in 2016.

As far as we can establish, the “V-list” means a “No Entry” list, which seems to mean that you are a “prohibited person” who is indefinitely banned from entering South Africa. We have not been able to find out what the “code j” means.

The most common reasons for prohibiting a person are for fraudulent passports, permits or ID documents, or because the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has deported them before. DHA is supposed to inform you of the reasons for its decision – not just to stamp your passport with "V list code j".

DHA can reject your application for asylum on the grounds of it being “manifestly unfounded” which usually means that DHA thinks you are not fleeing from persecution but have come to find work. For whatever the reason, DHA must give you written reasons within five days of the rejection. Their failure to do so means that you have grounds to appeal, as it is procedurally unfair.

The Norton Rose Fulbright Handbook on Refugee Law says:

“Asylum seekers are accorded the same Constitutional rights in terms of the Bill of Rights, save for those constitutional rights specifically accorded to citizens.

(2) Included in their rights is the right to administrative justice in terms of section 33 of the Constitution which prescribes that everyone has the right to just administrative action. To protect a right to fair administrative justice means to ensure that any administrative action of an organ of state when exercising its public power or performing a public function is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair. “

A prohibited person can appeal to the Director-General (DG) of DHA to overturn this decision, if there is good cause. The DG must take into account the reasons for the prohibition, the seriousness of the offence and your personal circumstances. You would need to appeal in writing, giving the reasons why you think the decision was wrong, and I think you need to get legal advice on your situation.

You could ask the following organisations for advice and assistance:

  • Lawyers for Human Rights (Refugee and Migrant rights Programme) at Johannesburg: 011 339 1960


  • Legal Resources Centre:


  • PASSOP: Cape Town 021 762 0322

Answered on June 12, 2019, 10:24 a.m.

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