What is the change? VFS Global processing centers and other offices and agencies providing immigration services will close or limit operations for roughly two weeks during the Christmas and New Year holiday season.

What does the change mean? Services will be limited. Visa and work permit applications that are pending may be delayed by two weeks or more. Applicants should submit applications as soon as possible.

  • Implementation time frame: Roughly Dec. 22 through Jan. 3.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas, permits and other immigration services.
  • Who is affected: South African and foreign nationals in need of immigration services from now until early January.
  • Impact on processing times: Processing times will be delayed due to the closures and resulting backlogs.
  • Business impact: Businesses may need to adjust timelines due to expected delays in visa and work permit processing.

Background: VFS Global processing centers in South Africa will be closed for submissions and appointments from Dec. 22 until Jan. 3. During some of that time, offices will remain open for collections between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Date VFS Global Processing Center Holiday Schedule
Dec. 22-23 Closed for submissions; open for collections only.
Dec. 24-27 Offices closed.
Dec. 28-29 Closed for submissions; open for collections only.
Dec. 30-Jan. 3 Offices closed.
Jan. 4 Offices reopen for submissions and collections.

The South African Qualifications Authority will be closed from Dec. 23 until Jan. 4. During SAQA’s closure, qualifications evaluations for Critical Skills Work Visa and General Work Visa applications will be placed on hold. Most professional boards and councils will also be closed during the holidays, some as early as Dec. 18 until Jan. 4 or Jan. 11. These closures also affect qualifications evaluations for Critical Skills Work Visas. South African embassies and consulates will be closed to the public for varying periods between Dec. 24 and Jan. 4. Foreign embassies and consulates in South Africa will also be closed for varying periods between Dec. and Jan. 11.

BAL Analysis: Holiday closures will cause processing delays, so those in need of immigration services are advised to submit applications as early as possible. Those with questions about specific closures should contact the relevant office or agency or their local BAL professional.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in South Africa. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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