Foreigners who apply for certain types of temporary permit or visas have to pay a repatriation fee, which has to be paid to the Department of Home Affairs.
The purpose of this cash deposit is the reassurance for the Republic that a foreigner can always return to his home country even if he has no available funds when this may be necessary. The amount of the repatriation fee is therefore fixed by the authorities but varies, depending on the home country of the applicant.
The applicant should get the repatriation fee back when he either leaves South Africa to return to his home country or upon approval of his permanent residence status. To do this, the original receipt for the payment is required; the authorities may otherwise not pay back the deposit.
After someone applied for a refund of the repatriation fee, there is no time frame how long he has to wait until he gets the money back. The Department of Home Affairs says, that it’s going to take up to 2 month. But in truth it’s going to take much longer. People actually have to wait up to 1 year until they finally have the full amount of money back.