David Vollenhoven’s wife Kelly was told upon flying out of OR Tambo International in December last year that she would be banned from returning to South Africa because her spousal visa had expired, despite the fact that she had applied for a renewal in July, with the documents seemingly “lost in dispatch”.
Kelly Vollenhoven, who has been living in South Africa since 2013, said the renewal of her spousal visa was only supposed to take eight weeks.
“It should have been processed by the end of October, but by the time we flew out in mid-December it was still not available,” said Kelly.
Her husband, who is a financial adviser, had already started making enquiries about the processing of the visa by the end of October, realising that there could be trouble should it not be delivered by the time his wife left for their holiday to New Zealand.
“All they could tell us was that there was no further action on the system and (promised) that they would escalate the matter,” said David.
Despite the assurances, nothing happened and the couple were told that should they travel out of South Africa without the spousal visa, Kelly would be banned for a year, even though her application had been approved as far back as October.
Kelly then applied for a waiver from Home Affairs which would have allowed her back into the country, but seemingly nothing came of this application.
The couple had been told by Home Affairs officials that even though Kelly would be banned from re-entering South Africa, they could appeal from New Zealand.
While in New Zealand David made calls to immigration lawyers, trying to appeal his wife’s ban.
He says officials started paying attention to his case only once he contacted the Cape Times to publicise his wife’s battle to stay in the country.
Vollenhoven came back to South Africa on January 4 and was told by his lawyer that his wife’s application for a waiver had been granted by Home Affairs and that she was free to come back to Cape Town.
“He did advise me, though, that she can come back on a visitor’s visa and that we still have to get the outcome of her visa application. We were told that if the outcome was negative, she would have to leave the country again to appeal,” said David.
The visa waiver had been granted on December 30, 2015. The Vollenhovens were supposed to return to Cape Town on January 3, but David was told that due to the holiday season there was no one who could process the document.
“I was seriously peeved off, thinking that my whole family could have been here,” said David.
His wife eventually arrived back in Cape Town on Sunday night after flying for 24 hours.
Source: IOL ZA