South Africa has now launched its electronic visa (eVisa) service, allowing foreign visitors to apply for a visa online.
The South Africa eVisa is currently available to nationals of 14 different countries around the world. It is likely to be expanded to other nationalities in the future.
The digital visa platform has been in the works for some time now, with March 2022 planned for the launch date. The eVisa has now been introduced for the first 14 nationalities ahead of schedule.
According to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the government is streamlining and modernizing the visa application process. The introduction of the eVisa is one example of this.
Thanks to the online application system, it is now easier than ever to get a visa for South Africa for tourism or business. Travelers from eligible countries can apply from their own homes, avoiding a trip to an embassy or consulate to deal with a longer, in-person application.
Which Nationalities Can Apply for the South Africa eVisa?
At the time of launch, the South Africa eVisa is available to citizens of 14 countries worldwide.
The eligible 14 nations are as follows:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- The Philippines
- Saudi Arabia
Before launching officially to travelers from these countries, South Africa trialed the eVisa system with visitors from Kenya. The trial was then expanded to include passengers from China, India, and Nigeria.
The trial was deemed a success and the plan to launch the South Africa eVisa system in 2022 was given the go-ahead.
Now that the eVisa system is active, travelers of 14 different nationalities can apply. This will likely be expanded to even more countries further down the road.
How the New eVisa for South Africa Works
The new change in South Africa’s visa policy means that international travelers with a passport issued by any of the 14 countries listed above can now apply online for an eVisa.
This digital visa allows the holder to enter the country for holidays and business trips.
According to the South African Department of Home Affairs, the online service “provides a convenient and secure option to process an eVisa application”.
Eligible travelers simply enter their details into a brief online form. This can be done using any computer or device. Any necessary supporting documents are uploaded in digital format.
Once approved, travelers must print a copy and show it at border control when arriving in South Africa.
South Africa’s Modernizing Approach to Visas
The new eVisa system is part of a drive from the South African government to modernize the visa application process and make it easier for foreign nationals to get the travel authorization they need.
The electronic visa platform has already vastly improved the process for tourists and business visitors. It is also paving the way for further changes.
President Ramaphosa has said that the work visa system is also being comprehensively reviewed, stating:
“This review is exploring the possibility of new visa categories that could enable economic growth, such as a start-up visa and a remote working visa.”
Ramaphosa went on to say: “the ability to attract skilled immigrants is the hallmark of a modern, thriving economy”.
The review is being headed by former Director-General of Home Affairs, Mavuso Msimang.
The possibility of a remote working visa is an intriguing one. Many countries have developed similar schemes during the pandemic due to the unique circumstances it has created.
Many companies now give the option or mandate that their employees work from home. This has led to a rising trend of digital nomads — people working remotely from another country.
If South Africa introduces a visa for digital nomads, this may be added to the existing eVisa system.