The Department of Home Affairs, has designated 13 October 2014, as the effective date of dispensing with the statutory requirement for a repatriation deposit as a term or condition for the issuing of temporary residence visas in accordance with s11,13,14,15,17,18,20 and 22 of the Immigration Act, No 13 of 2002 (Immigration Act).

Repatriation deposits were refundable upon the final departure of a foreigner or after a permanent residence permit, in terms of s25 of the Immigration Act, had been issued to the foreigner. It can be argued that the reasoning behind the dispensing of this requirement may be found in numerous applications where the process has been frustrated due to the requirement of securing the said deposit. Thus the effect of such cancellation enviably means that the process of issuing temporary residence visas has become less strenuous in respect of cost.

Furthermore the Director-General has invited any person to apply for a repatriation deposit refund who prior to the coming into operation of the Immigration Amendment Act, No 13 of 2011, paid such deposit as a guarantee of the return of an applicant. All refund applications can now be made up until 28 February 2015, however such applications are limited to persons who have acquired permanent residence or have changed their status in the Republic prior to 26 May 2014.

All refund applications are to be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Application for refund of repatriation deposit (available at South African Foreign Missions or Department of Home Affairs Local Offices);
  • Original passport (for verification purposes);
  • Proof of banking details/warrant vouchers (cheques);
  • Proof of final departure from the Republic of South Africa on or before the expiry of the temporary Residence permit; and
  • In the case where an application for refund is made in the Republic, proof of change of status prior to 26 May 2014 or proof of permanent residence permit.

However, such refund applications do not apply to persons who have overstayed their permit as such overstay is regarded as a violation of the terms and conditions their temporary residence permit, hence the exclusion.

In conclusion, all persons who qualify for a refund are called to apply within the prescribed period as failure to claim a refund by 28 February 2014 will result in the forfeiture of the refund to the State.