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Update on Travel Regulations Released

Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has arranged an all-inclusive meeting involving senior immigration officials and ports of entry managers to discuss South Africa’s travel regulations and the challenges it brings.

This includes the reopening of the tourism and trade sector to speed up economic recovery.

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane was consulted before and during the meeting and fully supports its outcome.

Visa-free status

The visa-free status of citizens from some other countries and territories was temporarily suspended at the start of the lockdown.

Now though, to address the economic and tourism inactivity brought on by Covid-19 and the resulting lockdown, the visa-free status of citizens from the following countries and territories has been re-instated:

  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • USA
  • UK
  • France
  • Portugal and
  • Iran

However, this change in status doesn’t alter the current Covid-19 regulations.

Minister Motsoaledi has told officials to forward this decision to the aviation industry, embassies, and other stakeholders as soon as possible.

Guidelines regulating the movement of goods

“The port managers have been instructed to adhere to the SADC protocol and guidelines regulating the movement of essential goods under Covid-19 regulations.

“The guidelines regulating truck drivers travelling across the border will continue to apply as has been the case for the past seven months,” the Department of Home Affairs said in a statement. 

The department said that, given the confusion around the 72 hours negative test requirement, business professionals offering services across the borders of SADC are allowed multiple entries, as long as they produce a certificate proving that they have tested negative; the certificate cannot be older than 72 hours from the time of departure.

This certificate is valid for 14 days.

Motsoaledi says he is aware of the issue of airline- and maritime crews and that the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, is working to resolve the matter.

A statement is expected to be issued by the Minister of Transport today.

“Immigration officers will be required to assess the movement and place of origin of the traveller and not the country of origin of the airline concerned.

“Transit travellers through South Africa by air will be allowed to connect to their destinations, subject to them complying with applicable health protocols but need not produce the 72 hours negative certificate,” the department said.

Visa services resume

As of 30 September 2020, visa services, including the submission of applications via VFS Global, have resumed in the following categories:

  • Visitor’s Visas,
  • Study Visa,
  • Treaty Visa,
  • Business Visa,
  • Crew Visa,
  • Medical Treatment Visa,
  • Relative’s Visa,
  • General Work Visa,
  • Critical Skills Work Visa,
  • Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa,
  • Retired Person Visa,
  • Corporate Visa, And
  • Exchange Visa,
  • A Waiver of Prescribed Requirement, As Contemplated in Section 31(2)(C), And
  • Appeals or Reviews Contemplated in Section 8 Of The Immigration Act.

Covid-19 business travel

Anyone from a high-risk country wanting to travel to South Africa, may - in writing - apply to the Minister of Home Affairs and provide reasons why they want to enter the Republic for business purposes.

Such applications must be emailed to [email protected] along with the following documents:  

  • A copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa,
  • Proof of business activities to be undertaken in the Republic,
  • Proof of travel itinerary, and
  • Proof of address or accommodation in the Republic.

List of high-risk countries

See the list of high-risk countries as published on 30 September.

Immigration officers have been ordered to be flexible to allow applications for business travel to be lodged at the ports of entry when necessary and wait for an outcome before allowing entry into the country.

Travellers from medium and low-risk countries must produce proof that they have tested negative of Covid-19, provided that the results aren’t older than 72 hours from their time of departure.

Anyone who fails to provide this certificate of proof will be placed under quarantine at their own expense.

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