Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does VFS Global do?

    VFS Global manages Visa Facilitation Centres for Department of Home Affairs in South Africa, where you should submit your completed application form, supporting documents and biometric data. VFS Global will only accept “COMPLETE” applications for temporary residence visas, permanent residence permits, waivers, exemptions, proof and verification of permanent residence permits and proof and verification of exemptions. Please be advised that the decision is in line with regulation 9(1) of the Immigration Regulations, which provides, amongst other requirements, that visas to temporarily sojourn in the Republic in terms of section 11 up to and including sections 20 and 22 of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No 13 of 2002), as amended shall be submitted with ALL supporting documents.

  • Who decides if I will get a visa or permit?

    Your visa application will be processed and decided by Department of Home Affairs, Head Office in Pretoria. VFS Global does not, play any part in or influence the outcome of your application process.

  • What is the definition of a valid passport?

    A passport shall be machine readable and contain all the information relating to the holder as defined in the Immigration Act 2002 (Act No.13 of 2002). For the full list of requirements, please click here.

  • Letters of Good Cause in support of an application for a Temporary Residence Visa or Permanent Residence Permit?

    All applicants are hereby advised that VFS is not obligated to accept letters of good cause from applicants. Applicants are advised to follow the proper procedure as per the attached Immigration Directive 26 of 2014 for obtaining a Form 20 (Authorization for illegal foreigner to remain in the Republic pending an application for status) before submitting such to VFS. Applicants will need to visit the DHA regional offices to be interviewed by an official inspectorate to obtain a form 20. Please visit for more information.

  • Payment procedure

    All applicants are required to follow the online payment procedure.

    Once all supporting documentation is available as per the documentary checklist kindly proceed to complete the online application form .You will be required to pre-pay a minimum amount of R1350 in order to secure and schedule your appointment online.

    Payment to secure your online appointment can be made in three methods:

    • Online payment via Debit/Credit card through the secure online portal
    • Pre-payment at Standard Bank by downloading and completing the online generated bank receipt and depositing the cash into the nearest Standard Bank
    • EFT payment through secure online portal

    Note- When selecting the pre-payment option, after payment has been done you are required to visit your online application form after 3 working days to proceed to schedule your appointment.

  • Do I enroll Biometrics in a VFS Global Visa Facilitation Centre?

    When you attend the Visa Facilitation Centre, you will need to provide your biometric information, which includes a photograph and a digital scan of your fingerprints. If you have temporary injuries on your fingers, please wait until the injuries heal before your appointment date. You should also remove any henna on your fingertips, or allow it to fade, as this may prevent us from getting a clear scan. Children and Infants also need to provide their biometric data as a mandate by Department of Home Affairs.

  • Should children come to the VFS Global Visa Facilitation Centre for applying for a visa?

    All applicants submitting a visa or permit application must attend the Visa Facilitation Centre in person. Children also need to attend in person and provide their biometric data. Children need to be accompanied by an adult and this cannot be a member of VFS staff.

  • When can I make my application?

    Application should be made 60 calendar days prior to expiry date of your machine readable passport and visa / permit.

  • Can I follow up with an application made before the 2 June 2014 at VFS?

    Visa Facilitation Service Centres (“VFS”) only accepts NEW applications for temporary residence visa, permanent residence permits, waivers, exemption, proof and verification of permanent residence and proof and verification of exemptions. This process was implemented on 2 June 2014. Clients who submitted these applications before 2 June 2014 are advised NOT to contact “VFS” to follow up on their applications. Clients are also advised that outcomes for old applications must be collected from the relevant Regional Office. Clients who want to enquire about outstanding outcomes relating to applications that were submitted to Regional Offices are advised to contact the relevant Regional Office or send such enquiries for DHA track and trace to

  • Where do I send documents to comply with a condition set on my permit?

    Applicants may use the e-mail address to send their documents for compliance with conditions on their permits/visas.

  • What documents do I submit for a visa application?

    • Your appointment confirmation, visa fees receipt
    • A valid machine readable passport or travel document
    • Copy of your valid machine readable passport
    • Duly completed online application form
    • All supporting documents as per the checklist relevant to your application.
  • Do I need to attend an interview?

    Interviews are not mandatory for Temporary Residence Visa. Home Affairs officer can request for an Interview with the applicant if he wishes to see the applicant in person.

  • How long will it take to process my application by Department of Home Affairs?

    This depends on the category of visa application; however applications have a minimum processing time of 8-10 weeks for Temporary Residence Permit applications and 8 – 10 months for Permanent Residence Permit applications. The Department of Home Affairs cannot guarantee the outcome or the length of time an application takes to process; neither can it guarantee the return of decision within a certain timeframe. This is due to the fact that applications are assessed individually and individual circumstances can mean processing times may vary and result in longer decision times. Therefore you are requested to wait until a decision on the application is taken since VFS Global does not have any control over the processing times.

  • Is there a way of getting my application processed sooner than the regular?

    There is no way an application can be processed sooner than regular. VFS Global doesn’t offer expedite services for visa processing. The processing time is completely dependent on Department of Home Affairs.

  • Where can Financially Independent Permanent Residence applicants pay the required R120 000?

    The mandatory R120 000.00 must be deposited into the Department of Home Affairs account before the permit can be Issued. Proof of payment to be forwarded for attention: or

  • How do I collect my decision back?

    Choose whether you would prefer to collect your decision in person at the Visa Facilitation Centre or have a representative collect the decision on your behalf. Your original machine readable passport is required to collect the decision. In case your original machine readable passport is not available at the time of collection, VFS Global shall not handover the decision to the applicant or representative. A representative needs to carry an authorization letter with name of the applicant and his passport number followed by name and ID number of the representative collecting the application. The representative is requested to carry a copy of his / her ID along with authority letter which will be retained by VFS Global.

  • What is the refund process?

    Refunds need to be completed by downloading the VFS Global Refund Form, completing all mandatory fields, print and return to the nearest Visa and Permit Facilitation Centre with your original proof of payment. Please note handwritten refund forms will not be accepted.

  • How long do refunds take to process?

    All refunds take up to 30 Calendar days to process.

  • What are the important points to consider when requesting a refund?

    • All fields are mandatory and incomplete information will delay the processing of your refund.
    • Ensure the original proof of payment along with the refund request form is submitted at the nearest Visa and Permit Facilitation Centre
    • Signature of the Applicant and VFS Centre supervisor is required.
    • All payments will only be paid into a South African Banking Account
    • No handwritten refund forms will be accepted
    • Ensure the application reference number is correctly stated on the refund request form
    • If payment made via debit / credit card online, ensure transaction ID is correctly stated
  • What are the security procedures that I have to undergo in the VFS Global Visa Facilitation Centre?

    For security reasons the following items will not be permitted inside the Visa Facilitation Centre or stored on the premises.

    • All battery operated or electronic items such as cameras, audio/video cassettes, compact discs, MP3s, laptops, or portable music players.
    • All bags such as travel bags, back packs, briefcases, suitcases, leather, jute or cloth bags and zip folders are subject to a security search
    • Sealed envelopes or packages.
    • Any inflammable item such as matchboxes/ lighters/ fuel.
    • Any sharp objects such as scissors, pen knives or nail filers.
    • Weapons or weapon - like objects or explosive material of any kind. Other items may be prohibited based on security staff discretion.
  • How can Companies increase the number of seasonal workers granted on Corporate Permit?

    Companies need to ensure that any request on a corporate visa must be corroborated by the Department of Labour. The applicant needs to approach DOL to find assistance with the recruitment of workers. Only when Labour says there were no workers to be found can Labour issue a certificate to the employer to lodge a new application at Home Affairs.

    Please note: The Visa Facilitation Centre is unable to store prohibited items. Applicants should make other arrangements to store their belongings before they enter the Visa Facilitation Centre.

  • All current holders of Quota work permit who are required to submit annual reports as a condition of their permit are advised to follow the procedure mentioned below:

    • Previously the client would approach the regional office of Home Affairs and submit the required documents as part of their reporting. With the repealing of the Quota work permit this function has not be carried over to VFS. To remedy the situation and to ensure a smoother transition, an email address: has been set up to allow the clients to continue to comply with the condition of Quota Reporting. Clients will not be required to approach VFS for this service.
    • Current holders of Quota work permits are advised to submit CLEAR and READABLE copies of the following documents via the email address mentioned above:
      • Valid contract of employment,
      • Certified Proof of registration with relevant professional body, board or council, where required,
      • Comprehensive CV,
      • Testimonials,
      • Certified Proof of SAQA evaluation certificate of qualifications; and
      • Certified copies of pages in passport reflecting personal details and quota work permit obtained.
    • On receipt of the required documents the Department of Home Affairs will issue the client with a compliance letter confirming whether the client continues to comply with the conditions of the work visa issued to them. The compliance letter will be signed and scanned back to the applicant via the email from which the applicant sent the required documents.

      This process is only applicable to persons who are due to report. This email will not receive any new applications and should not be used to make enquiries. All enquiries in this regard should be made to (012) 425-3000

    • Replacement of the South African Police requirement with the biometric background checks in the application process for temporary residence visas and permanent residence permits at VFS Global Visa application centres within South Africa

      • As part of the continuous service improvement and efficiency, the Department of Home affairs will be introducing a Biometric background check service which is linked to the South African Police service database.
      • This service which will be provided at a value added cost of R175.00 (incl.VAT) will replace the requirement to submit the manual police clearance certificates obtained from SAPS.
      • Applicants will no longer be required to submit the old format of the South African Police clearance certificate when making an application for a renewal or extension of their visa within South Africa. Applicants are to note that this process will only apply to the RSA police clearance. Where the applicant is required to submit a police clearance from the country of origin the current procedure will remain unchanged.
      • South African police clearance will be validated upon biometric enrolment at the VFS center effective as of 01 October 2016 at a fee of R175 (Inclusive of Vat) Per Applicant

      For more information please click here