The South Africa Department of Home Affairs has announced that the country’s new electronic visa system will be launched in November this year. South Africa has also added seven new nations to the list of countries that can visit South Africa without a visa.
Njabulo Nzuza, deputy minister of Home Affairs, said that the Department of Home Affairs is moving forward with the implementation of the country’s eVisa program. Nzuza said, “this regime will place technology at the centre of our operations by making it easy, yet secure, to enter South Africa,” he said.
The eVisa for South Africa will allow foreign nationals of eligible countries to apply for a visa online. Once an application has been completed, it will be sent to a central adjudication and approval office. The applicants can simply wait for their visa approval to arrive by email.
The new electronic system will contribute to making South Africa a more desirable destination. By simplifying the visa application process the deputy ministry hopes that this will have positive implications in the tourism sector. The eVisa system is expected to be available in November 2019.
7 countries are now able to travel to South Africa visa free
Besides announcing the introduction of the electronic visa in November, the ministry also announced that 7 new countries will be able to travel to South Africa visa free.
Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Home Affairs, declared that citizens of seven countries will be able to travel to South Africa without applying for a visa. “Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that tourism is very important for job creation”, Motsoaledi said.
“Out of the 193 countries who are member states of the United Nations, the Department has granted visa-free status to 75 countries. Of these 16 are in our continent and are SADC members and 59 are from all over the world.”
Home Affairs announced that the next following countries will be able to travel to South Africa without a visa:
- New Zealand
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
The Ministry of Home Affairs will enter into discussions with these seven countries about how the visa-free regime will work. The ministry also hopes to work on agreements with China, India, and Nigeria.
Motsoaledi added, “while we are busy tackling the matter of the three countries, we shall this financial year increase two and a half times the number of people who work for Home Affairs to process visas in both China and India. We shall double the number of people who process visas to our country in Nigeria.”
The department noted that Qatar and Ghana already have visa-free or visa on arrival agreements with South Africa. South Africans, for their part, can travel to 99 countries around the world without applying for a visa.
Tourism in South Africa contributed R136,1 billion, about 2.9% of the total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. Furthermore, the tourism industry in the country supported about 1,5 million jobs the same year. By easing visa policies and introducing an electronic system, South Africa is investing further in this growing industry.