The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) processes hundreds of visa applications daily, however foreign nationals often face rejections when prescribed requirements are not met, or perhaps just a mere oversight from adjudicators.

This places foreign nationals in South Africa in a disconcerting position and unsure where to turn to next.

Here are some of the Most Common Reasons Why Applications are Rejected

According to Marisa Jacobs, Managing Director at Xpatweb, one of the main reasons is a failure to meet the requirements in terms of the visa type being applied for.

Other reasons include:

  • Eligibility of the visa that was applied for;
  • Fraudulent existing visa and/or documents; or
  • Material and technical errors within the application pack.

Appealing Your Application Outcome

Jacobs confirms that you may appeal the rejection within 10 days of receiving the outcome should you feel that the decision by the DHA materially and adversely affects your rights and/or is unfair.

An appeal application may be submitted within South Africa, or abroad, dependent on the place of the original submission, however, should you be in South Africa at the time of a pending appeal application, and hold an expired visa, you may not leave the country until the appeal is finalised, as you will be declared undesirable upon departing the country.

Other Alternatives

In many cases, the best recourse may be to apply for a brand new application as an initial application may be too flawed to defend or otherwise convince the DHA adjudicator to reconsider the applications based on the reasons stated for the rejection, or, otherwise considering the processing timeframe of an appeal application that can take between 2 – 12 months, whereas a visa application is between 4 – 8 weeks.

Tips to Improve Your Chances of a Favourable Outcome:

  1. Ensure that you are applying for the correct visa category and that you comply with ALL of the requirements for the relevant visa application.
  2. When applying from another country, ensure to check the South African Embassy’s / High Commission’s specific requirements. These differ slightly depending on the place of submission.
  3. All documentation must be genuine and original. Where copies are provided, always ensure that they are certified/notarised by a Commissioner of Oaths or Notary, or relevant authorities in the country in which you are submitting.
  4. Double-check your documents to ensure that all of the information is completed correctly and consistently.

It is advisable that it is always best to seek professional guidance and/or assistance from an Immigration Expert as rejected applications are daunting and can often be avoided. Experts in the field will be able to point out the legality, as well as technical aspects of a rejected application and provide optimal solutions on the best way forward.

Contact us at should you be facing an adverse decision and require guidance to maintain your stay in South Africa legally.