Visa policy of South Africa
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The visa policy of South Africa is how the South African government determines who may and may not enter their country.... Visitors to South Africa must obtain a visa from one of the South African diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries, in which case they get what is called a "Port of Entry Visa". Visitors who require a visa must apply in person and provide biometric data.
all visitors must hold a passport valid for 1 month after departure and with one blank page (two if a visa is required).
South African Government announced that an e-Visa system would be introduced in February 2021.
On 25 March 2020 the South African government removed 12 countries and territories from its visa-free exemption list. Citizens from these countries previously did not have to pay any sort of visa fees but now have to do so until further notice. More countries may be added to the list of removed countries if the South African government feels like they are a risk. A statement from the Department of Home Affairs reads "Take note: visa exemptions for travellers from COVID-19 high and medium risk countries has been withdrawn temporarily until further notice."
Visa policy map
1 – for ordinary passport holders only.
2 – the maximum stay is 90 days per year.
Citizens of the following 25 countries/territories who hold valid national passports are not required to obtain South African visas for visits of up to 30 days:
1 – for ordinary passport holders only.
2 - the maximum stay is 90 days per year.
|Date of visa changes|
Diplomatic, service and official passports
Citizens who are holders of diplomatic, official or service passports of the following countries do not require visas for visits of the indicated period and transit for up to 90 days (unless otherwise noted):
1 – 120 days
2 – 30 days
Eligible international organizations
Individuals holding the following travel documents are not required to obtain South African visas for visits of 90 days or less:
- Staff members of SADC who travel on SADC laissez-passer are exempt from visa requirements for bona fide official business visits of 90 days or less and transit.
Visas issued by South Africa are for:
- Tourism or visits to family or friends
- Medical treatment
- Working in the entertainment industry
- Attending a conference
- Treaty conditions compliance
- Maritime crew
- Cultural, economic and social exchange programmes
Temporary residence visas issued by South Africa are:
- Business visas
- Work visas
- Quota work visas
- General work visas
- Critical skills work visa
- Intra-company Transfer Work visa
- Corporate visas
- Study visas
- Exchange visas
- Retired persons' visa
- Relatives' visa
- Medical Treatment visa
The Department of Home Affairs announced during a parliamentary presentation on 18 February 2020 that a new e-Visa system would be introduced to simplify entrance into the country. The government department revealed that it had successfully trialled the e-Visa in Kenya, with further plans to extend this to India, Nigeria and China in the months following.
The pilot trials were conducted in November 2019. The estimated time for an e-Visa application process would take 20 minutes, according to Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza, granted that all the relevant travel documents are readily available.
According to the amended South African Immigration Act 13 of 2002, foreign nationals overstaying the expiry of their South African visas will be determined "undesirable" and, consequently, face being banned from the Republic for a period of up to 5 years.
From 1 June 2015, all minors under the age of 18 travelling in and out of South Africa must hold, in addition to their passport, an unabridged birth certificate with particulars of both parents. The requirement applies to both domestic and foreign citizens. If the child is travelling with only one parent, an affidavit with the absent parent's consent is required. If the child is travelling with another adult and without both parents, an affidavit with consent of both parents must be produced. An unaccompanied minor, in addition to holding an affidavit and birth certificate, must provide the requisite information of the local South African host. The rule has been widely criticized by the tourism industry, but officials claimed that the rule was implemented to fight widespread human trafficking and unilateral child custody abuse in South Africa. By October 2016 over 13,000 tourists had been prevented from entering the country due to the unabridged birth certificate requirement, thus having a negative impact on the economy.
In September 2018 the Cabinet announced that they intend on scrapping this controversial requirement for children travelling.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for South Africa.|
- Visa requirements for South African citizens
- List of ports of entry in South Africa
- List of diplomatic missions of South Africa
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