Answer to a question from a reader

I lost my V-list stamped passport. What happens if I get a new one?

The short answer

You will still be V-listed. These bans are not taken off until they have been successfully appealed.

The long answer

I think they will put the ban in your new passport, because it will still be on the DHA system. These bans are not taken off until they have been successfully appealed.

Being on the V-list (the visa-restricted list) means DHA considers you to be either a prohibited or an undesirable person: 

To be an undesirable person usually means a person has overstayed their visa. The Immigration Act says that an immigration official must give a written “declaration of undesirability” to the person. The declaration must say how many days the person has overstayed. Any overstay of up to 30 days means the person will be banned from returning to South Africa for one year, and any overstay of 30 days or more means the person will be banned from returning to South Africa for five years.

You can appeal a ban. It must be appealed within ten days of the person receiving the ban. To submit an appeal, you must email a request to the DHA at this address:, and you must send the following documents with your appeal:

  • A letter giving clear reasons for the overstay

  • A copy of the document declaring you “undesirable”

  • A copy of your passport: the information page and other relevant pages, such as pages with your South African visa(s), stickers or stamps

  • If you had applied for a visa extension, you need to include the acknowledgement of receipt of that application

  • A medical certificate if you overstayed due to medical reasons 

  • Any other relevant documents that support your letter including documentary evidence proving your reasons for overstaying.

Even if your ban is over, it will not be automatically removed from the DHA system. You must apply for it to be lifted (at, or you will be refused entry into South Africa. 

DHA say that you can confirm that your appeal has been received by contacting IMS Deportations at 012 406 4985.

To be a prohibited person means you are not allowed to enter South Africa. Very often a person is not informed that they are a prohibited person until they are refused entry at the border post. Section 29 of the Immigration Act 13 (2002) sets out the grounds for someone to be declared a prohibited person, but usually you get put on the V-list for two things:  

  • Being found with a fraudulent visa, permit, passport or identity document;

  • Having been previously deported from South Africa.

The only way you can overturn the decision by DHA is to appeal to the Director-General (DG) of DHA to overturn it. 

The DG has to take into account the reasons for making you a prohibited person, the seriousness of the offence and your personal circumstances. You would have to appeal in writing, giving the reasons why you think the DHA V listing was wrong. 

If you were not given written reasons for making you a prohibited immigrant, that is procedurally unfair, and this should be mentioned in your appeal. 

Appeals must be sent to

You could ask the following organisations for advice and assistance:

  • Lawyers for Human Rights (Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme) in Johannesburg:

Phone: 011 339 1960


  • Legal Resources Centre:

Phone: 011 038 9709


Wishing you the best,

Answered on Feb. 29, 2024, 9:03 p.m.

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.