Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fun & Games at Home Affairs

I always knew living abroad would be full of fun and games. Now that I've been living in South Africa for four years, my original permit has expired and I've applied for a visa - a visa extension, to be exact. The Home Affairs guy said it's a routine application - so routine, it's for free. Here's a little insight into the process and how you might be able to have almost as much fun as me:

Hoop #1 Go to the Home Affairs web site to download the application and list of required documents – review this information very carefully – dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s

Hoop #2 Go to Home Affairs in person to submit said-application form and documents – get told, “No, no – this is ALL wrong – who gave you this?” “The web site,” I reply. I take a new application form and start over again.

Hoop #3 Dutifully gather required documents including letters from my employer and my partner. Visit the local police station – secure official stamps. Make affidavits and declarations. Copy, repeat.

Hoop #4 Go back to Home Affairs, my partner in tow. They need to see it to believe it. Wait for 2 hours. I notice that Immigration lawyers have a special que – I think how much money I’m saving this time, doing this myself, all for free. More time passes. Finally I submit, receive a receipt and leave with false hope that everything is now sorted – “just 30 days,” I think, “then I’ll get the new stamp.” That was easy.

Hoop #5 The 30 days pass – I go back to Home Affairs. Wait. Wait for 3 hours. Get told they can’t find my application, jeepers, where could it be? They ask, “How long do you want to wait?” They look tired now – like I’ve asked for too much. I wait some more – I tell them they have to find it. I leave a few hours later with a phone number to call – more false hope, otherwise empty-handed.

Hoop #6 I call the number. No one answers the phone.

Hoop #7 I call a few days later and get disconnected. I call back – it’s as if they know it’s me – again. No one answers the phone.

Hoop #8 I call and get told to “Come in with your receipt.” I say “but I already did that – they told me to call.” She tries to transfer me – about five times – then I get disconnected. I call again. No one answers the phone.

Hoop #9 Hire an immigration attorney. Continue waiting for my new visa stamp – and the bill. Can’t believe they said this was free.


  1. Hey Theresa, would love it if you could post some of your sea related blogs on the Hooley.co.za website...please call me on 0727634486...


  2. I like your Home Affairs story. Did this all really happen? Is it all sorted now? Sue

  3. Hi, Sue- Yes, it's all true... and I'm still waiting... for the stamp and the bill. But I think it's at least in good hands now - I hope!

  4. Wow, I didnt know they were jerking you around like that! Have you gotten your Visa renewed yet or are you still waiting? Unfortunately, I guess you have to play the game. I thought the way you wrote the article was good. Hope it comes thru soon if it hasnt already.