The government of South Africa has announced a number of changes to the South Africa visa policy to facilitate entry of travelers and goods to the country over the festive period.
Department of Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced the new visa requirements for South Africa in a presentation on December 1st, confirming the implementation of proposed changes to the visa system made in July.
Motsoaledi said that a high priority for his department has been working with border law enforcement agencies to ensure sufficient facilities for ease of entry for travelers to South Africa over the busy festive season.
The minister confirmed that between 4th December 2019 and 13th January 2020, South African ports of entry with high volumes of traffic will have their operating hours extended by between 1 and 7 hours, and are prepared to handle increased volumes of passengers and goods.
Additionally, the Home Affairs department has confirmed that over 400 additional immigration officials will be deployed to offer technical support to those arriving at specific border entry points: the Beit Bridge crossing with Zimbabwe, the Maseru Bridge and Ficksburg crossings with Lesotho, and the Lebombo Port of Entry.
All travelers entering and leaving South Africa over the festive period are also advised to ensure all necessary travel documents are in order to further guarantee expedited entry at border checkpoints. This includes any visas, passports, documents for vehicles, health certificates, and any permits required for certain goods, plants, and animals.
South Africa Electronic Visa to Facilitate Entry for Travelers
Alongside the new border procedures for the festive period, Motsoaledi also announced that testing and piloting has begun for an electronic visa for South Africa, which allows eligible citizens to apply for a visa online without having to visit an embassy or consulate.
The new eVisa is currently being piloted for citizens of Kenya who arrive at either the Lanseria or OR Tambo airports in South Africa. Motsoaledi confirmed that the first Kenyan citizens to make use of the SA tourist eVisa successfully arrived in South Africa on 30th November, and that many more are on the way.
Once testing on the new system for Kenyan citizens has been completed, the South African eVisa is expected to be rolled out to other countries such as China, India, and Nigeria in 2020, Motsoaledi confirmed.
The minister expressed his pleasure at the introduction of the electronic application, expressing his belief that the new system is “reliable, client-friendly and convenient for visa applicants, airlines, trading partners and Home Affairs officials”.
Once fully implemented, eligible citizens will able able to submit an eVisa application from anywhere in the world outside of South Africa.
New Visa-Free Travel to South Africa from Tunisia
Motsoaledi also confirmed that the new visa policy for South Africa will involve relaxed visa requirements for certain nationalities, in order to further boost tourist arrivals to the country.
The first country to benefit will be the Republic of Tunisia, as it was announced that visa-free travel to South Africa for Tunisian citizens is being introduced.
Tunisian passport holders will now be able to visit South Africa without a visa for short stays, after a reciprocal agreement was reached which will also allow South Africans visa-exempt travel to Tunisia.
The new addition to the visa-exempt list for South Africa means that there are now over 80 countries, who can travel to the country without a visa for either 30 or 90 days, depending on nationality.
To discover more worldwide visa information, visit onlinevisa.com.