I was previously declared undesirable in South Africa for a period of 12 months from June 2014 to June 2015. For background, I overstayed my visa by 12 hours 4 days after the visa laws changed in 2014. I didn't appeal because I would be studying back in the USA for 12 months and was given legal advice that I did not need to spend up to 36 months and hundreds of dollars appealing it if I did not want to return to South Africa during the period for which I was banned.
Flash forward to 2017. I have gotten a job back in South Africa and qualify for a Critical Skills visa. I have completed all necessary paperwork, spent dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars gathering paperwork and called several embassies in the US to confirm that my prior "undesirable" status would not be an issue for this current application. All embassies confirmed that since the ban on entry was for 12 months and expired in 2015, I would be fine with my current visa application. Confirmed this 2 months ago with DC, Chicago and New York.
I arrived yesterday in DC to submit my critical skills visa application. Only then did the consulate decide that I needed an additional letter from DHA confirming that my undesirable status was no longer in effect. I have contacted DHA overstay appeals office, but I am concerned that since my overstay was so long ago that they will not write the letter I now apparently need. SA consulate in DC seemed to think that if I was once declared undesirable, no matter for how long, then I was always "undesirable" without a letter from DHA even after the 12 month period listed on my paperwork had passed.
Will my critical skills visa application be fine without this letter? Am I really considered "undesirable" forever without a DHA letter despite the fact that all of my paperwork says 12 months?