What is the change? As of June 1, all Indian-based applications for South African visas must be lodged through VFS, the South African government’s outsourced visa processing provider; applications are no longer accepted by South African embassies or consulates in India. As a result, an additional VFS logistics fee of 1,382-1,643 Indian rupees (about US$20-25) will be charged per long-term visa application, over and above the current South African government fee.

What does the change mean? Before June 1, South African long-term visa applications, including work visa applications, were submitted directly to the South African High Commission in Delhi or the Deputy High Commission in Mumbai, while visit visa applications were submitted via VFS. In line with the advance notice of the process change that was published on April 30, employers should be aware that as of June 1, all applications for South African visas for foreign nationals applying in India will now only be accepted through VFS.

  • Implementation time frame: The change took effect June 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: All South African long-term visas, including work visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying in India for South African long-term visas.
  • Business impact: To avoid delays, India-based applicants should make sure their applications are lodged with VFS and not with South African missions.

Background: Before the recent process change, South African work visa applications and other long-term visa applications were submitted directly to the South African missions in India; only visit-visa applications were lodged with VFS. Now, all India-based applications for South African visas must be submitted via one of the VFS offices, whether for a visit visa or long-term visa.

BAL Analysis: Employers should be aware of this significant change in process for foreign employees applying in India for South African work visas and should budget for the additional VFS filing fees.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Copyright ©2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact