A country of pure diversity, South Africa offers visitors one of the best chances to see the Big Five game animals in their natural habitat, as well as a myriad of outdoor activities for thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies. It also boasts vast, diverse landscapes, from semideserts to urban jungles, and over two thousand kilometers of golden coastline.
Travelers from New Zealand will be the first in what should be a long list of tourists from around the world to try out the first ever South African eVisa program, which is set to be launched in April.
The new South Africa eVisa system was initially announced in 2018 and is now becoming a reality for travelers from New Zealand. It aims to speed up and facilitate the process of applying for a visa to travel to South Africa and improve tourism in the country.
The CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, has stated that the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) plans to launch the eVisa in April 2019.
Phase One of the South African eVisa
Many of the specific details are yet to be announced, however, the government is calling this initial implementation ‘Phase One’. This is the first step toward rolling out electronic visas for South Africa, ultimately making it much easier and faster for foreign travelers to obtain a travel authorization to enter South Africa.
Although many electronic visas for tourists around the world often allow travelers to submit their application for a visa entirely online, the pilot of the South Africa eVisa will still require applicants to attend a foreign mission, embassy or consulate in their home country in order to complete the application. However, their details will be stored electronically and the visa will be granted through the generation of a QR code.
The primary phase will relate to applications for temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas, and applications for visa waivers.
Passport biometric data for each traveler will be taken at the embassy and notifications for the status of the South Africa eVisa application will be sent via email.
The plan is to gradually progress with the implementation of the South African eVisa system in order to ensure stable and steady development.
Benefits of the South Africa eVisa for New Zealand
There are many advantages to a country and the eligible nationalities who are able to visit it when an eVisa system is put into place. In South Africa, the government hopes that this process will speed up the issuance of travel documentation while maintaining a high level of security for travelers’ information.
In addition, the eVisa system will benefit the tourism industry within the country by helping to secure the jobs of 1.4 million South Africans working in the sector, as well as allow for new employment opportunities in the area.
Both the government and the TBCSA hope that this initial pilot program for the eVisa for South Africa will help the growth of tourism in the country enough to permit further development of the visa policy and amplification of the list of eligible citizens.