Voluntary Return can only be facilitated to areas which are considered safe.
You can find more information below and in our Voluntary Return (Repatriation) Brochure.
Voluntary Repatriation is the return of any refugee and asylum-seeker to their country of origin based on a free and informed choice.
UNHCR facilitates Voluntary Repatriation for refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa to go home in safety and dignity.
UNHCR is currently only able to facilitate Voluntary Repatriation for applicants holding documentation issued by the Department of Home Affairs (Section-22 and Section-24 only), as some form of documentation is required to apply for travel documents.
UNHCR is currently facilitating departures to most countries on the continent with some restrictions to volatile areas in Eastern DRC (no returns to Kivus, Tanganyika, Ituri), Somalia (returns to Central and Southern parts only), Ethiopia (situation fast-evolving).
UNHCR is guided by UNHCR global positions on returns to various areas of origin and will only facilitate returns to safe areas not to place returnees at risk.
UNHCR attempts to respond and to process all applications for voluntary returns as quickly as possible, but there are no established time frames. Each case will be assessed individually, as particularities can affect the time required for processing the request.
The main causes of delay are operational – Noting that the interest has grown much faster than what UNHCR was able to address right away; UNHCR is looking for ways to speed up departures with possible group returns.
We have been noticing large number of cases which are unreachable, and this can negatively impact the processing of the request to repatriate. If you change your contact details or have an alternative number, please urgently inform UNHCR through the toll-free Helpline 📞 0800 100 030.
Download the RedSafe app from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or visit the web app for trusted and reliable information on this topic. RedSafe is a digital humanitarian platform providing safe and secure services for people affected by conflict, migration and other humanitarian crisis. It provides trusted and reliable information on humanitarian services as well as a digital vault in which to store important personal documents. Certain features of RedSafe are available offline and personal data is safely stored on the ICRC servers protected by ICRC Data Protection rules. The app can be downloaded in google play, the app store, or accessed in the web. For more information visit our landing page.