Passport expats

Photo: Philippe Lazaro / Flickr

Concerns raised for SA expats over ‘bizarre’ passport renewal laws

South African expats across the globe are encountering difficulties when it comes to renewing their passports – but will Home Affairs step-in?

Passport expats

Photo: Philippe Lazaro / Flickr

The DA has raised an urgent issue with Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, after swathes of South African citizens abroad raised issues about their passport renewals. Global lockdowns mean that many of our expats have been unable to update their travel documents, due to closed offices and unclear messaging.

SA expats face passport renewal dilemma

In a statement posted earlier on Friday, the political opposition noted that, although visas for foreign nationals in Mzansi have been extended, similar schemes have not been introduced at our foreign missions:

“Aaron Motsoaledi recently announced a further extension of visas for foreign nationals in South Africa. However, he has bizarrely refused to make any provision for South Africans abroad whose passports will expire as a result of the extended lockdown. We will not rest until this situation is rectified.”

“Since writing to the Minister, proposing a passport validity extension stamp, the only step taken was the opening of passport renewals at SA missions abroad. However, this has made little difference as the DA has been inundated with calls for help off citizens facing closed signs, evasive treatment and unanswered calls.”

DA statement

Disarray at foreign missions reported

Both Adrian Roos MP and Dr. Rory Jubber are trying to pick up the pieces from this mess, in order to ensure that South African expats across the world are able to renew their passports and relieve themselves from any potential stress caused by this administrative nightmare. The party has received complaints from all over:

  • The largest Home Affairs office outside of SA, in London, remains closed. Calls, emails are going unanswered.
  • There’s a two-month waiting list just to get an appointment to submit a passport application at the UAE mission.
  • Dozens of applications from expats in Hanoi, Vietnam have been waiting since as far back as March 2019.
  • The DA also claim an SA missionary in South America has waited two years to get her passport renewed.