Immigration news update for the AMER and EMEA regions
The visa interview waiver program of the State Department has been extended and will take effect from January 1, 2024. It will be reviewed annually and is in place until further notice.
Consular offices now have the authority to waive an interview for first time applicants of H-2 visa (agricultural and non-agricultural workers) and applicants for non-immigrant visa classification. The latter group must have a previously issued nonimmigrant visa (in any classification, unless the only prior issued visa was a B visa) and apply within 48 hours of the recent nonimmigrant visa expiration date.
To be eligible for an interview waiver, the applicant must have no previous visa refusals and no apparent or potential ineligibility. The applicant must also apply in their home country.
The applicants that are renewing a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification within 48 months of the expiration date, are eligible for the waiver of the interview.
This summary was prepared using the information from the U.S. Department of State
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Roberta Carnaccini (Global Director of Immigration)
Due to the ongoing backlog of processing in various visa applications, the Department of Home Affairs has published a circular announcement, introducing temporary measures, to resolve the current situation. These measures apply to those who have applied through the VFS Centre before November 30, 2023, and only to foreign nationals who have been legally admitted to South Africa.
The measures described are the following:
1.Pending waiver applications:
Long-term visa waiver applications, that are still pending on November 20, 2023, will be automatically extended until June 2024, to provide more time for processing. If any applicants want to give up their waiver applications and leave the country can do so by the means of a port of entry before June 29, 2024, without being declared undesirable. If a non-visa exempt applicant wants to travel out of the country, they must apply for a Port of Entry visa, that will let them re-enter South Africa.
2. Pending long-term visa applications
The current visa status of those applications, that are still pending on November 30, 2023, shall be granted a temporary extension of the current status until June 30, 2024. Those who wish to give their visa applications up can leave the country through a port of entry before June 30, 2024, without being declared undesirable. It is prohibited to engage in any other activity than the visa rules include.
When wanting to travel out of the countries, the following rules apply:
Long-term visa pending for visa-exempt nationals: Applicants must present VFS receipts upon arriving back in the country through the port of entry, to collect visa outcomes.
Long-term visa pending for non-visa exempt nationals: Applicants must travel out of their countries while presenting their VFS receipt and must apply for a Visitors Visa to enter back into the country, where waiting for the outcome of their visa-renewal.
3. Pending visa appeal applications
A temporary extension visa to June 30, 2024, shall be granted to those who have appealed a rejected long-term visa application.
If any applicants wish to give up their visa appeal, they can leave the country at a port of entry before June 29, 2024, while not being declared undesirable. Those wanting to continue their ongoing visa appeal process but wish to exit and re-enter can also do so by June 29, 2024, through a port of entry.
All appeal applicants must carry a copy of their rejection letter and a receipt for an appeal application when departing and re-entering the country.
4. Extension of Short-Term Visas (90 days)
Those applicants that have not received a visa extension by November 30, 2023, and have applied for a visa renewal but have not gotten the decision by February 23, 2024, must depart the country by before February 29, 2024. Otherwise, they shall be declared undesirable.
This summary was prepared using the information from the Department of Home Affairs of the Republic of South Africa
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Roberta Carnaccini (Global Director of Immigration) and Veronika Vitkova (Team Leader, EMEA).
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