South Africa e Visa to be Launched in March 2022.
The foreign affairs minister for South Africa, Enoch Gondongwana confirmed the official launching of the country’s e-visa services, which is set to take place in 2022. This comes after the government’s trial of the services, which started in 2019 proved successful and major South Africa’s airports have been equipped with smart technology to facilitate the checking of electronic documents.
Electronic visa services will be beneficial to both tourists and the country’s domestic economy. Tourists will enjoy a simplified visa application process, quicker visa processing and lastly the whole process would be online; therefore, physical visits to visa offices won’t be necessary. As a result, no physical visit to the visa office is required.
On the other hand, South Africa’s economy would have made it easier for foreign investors to visit the country and would therefore also encourage more tourists to visit the country. This is because South Africa online visa services ease the traveling protocols resulting in improved tourism around the world. This will help South Africa double tourist arrivals into the country by 2030, as stipulated by president Cyril in 2019.
This is because online visa services boost tourism by making travel procedures easier all over the world. This will help South Africa meet one of its goals, which is to double tourist arrivals by 2030, as stated by Cyril Ramaphosa, the country's president in 2019.
South African businesses and investors will easily hire foreigners with desired skill sets from the selected countries..
As much as the Covid-19 pandemic has been a major setback for the country’s tourism sector, the e-visa is expected to play a vital part in growing the country’s tourism sector in the years to come.
Eligible Countries for the South African e-Visa services
In his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement presentation on 11th November 2021, Minister Godongwana stipulated that visitors from fifteen countries will access South Africa’s e-visa services by March 2022. These countries are;
Minister Godongwana stated during the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement on November 11th, 2021 that by March 2022, South Africa's e-visa services will be available to visitors from fifteen countries.
These are the countries:
It should be noted that the list above is subject to updates. It's important to keep in mind that the above list is subject to change. Tourists and investors from the above-listed countries will be able to benefit from the new system and therefore apply for a South African visa online.
Applying for South Africa’s eVisa
With online visa services, the application process of the visas will be more efficient and convenient. Additionally, the movement of travelers through the South African international airports will be made easy.
The use of online visa services should make the visa application process more efficient and convenient. As a result of this travelers will be able to move more easily through South African international airports.
The country’s department of home affairs backed up the South Africa e visa services, terming them as client-friendly, reliable and convenient for airlines, visa applicants, trading partners and officials of the home affairs.
The department added that prospective travelers will be able to apply for their visas at their comfort once the implementation is complete. Remote visa applications will reduce administrative workloads on the existing staff handling different stages of visa application.
Prospective travelers will be able to apply for visas from their homes, offices, and places of work once the system is fully operational, according to the department, which will reduce administrative workloads such as receiving applicants at visa offices, returning passports to the respective applicants, and printing visa stickers.
Blessing Manale, South Africa’s Ministry of Tourism spokesperson had earlier on highlighted that South Africa’s visa regime had been one of the country’s major set back for tourism. Therefore, the roll-out of the electronic visa system will instill more confidence in prospective travellers to South Africa.
Currently, travelers that require a visa to enter South Africa have to apply at a South African Embassy or consulate physically and provide biometric data. All eligible applicants of the visas will however be able to apply online once the e-visa system is rolled out. The online visa will eliminate the need to visit a South African embassy for a traditional tangible visa or wait in line at the airport for the visa on arrival.
An applicant for the South African online visa will have to meet certain requirements. These requirements are;
- A valid passport. It is required that the applicant’s passport has at least 30 days remaining from the intended day of departure. The passport must also have two blank pages for entry stamps.
- Birth certificate. Adults travelling into South Africa with minors under the age of eighteen or rather seventeen years and below will need to show a birth certificate that indicates details of both parents. If the child is travelling with one parent, a parental consent affidavit signed by the other parent will also be required.
- Yellow fever vaccination certificate. Travellers from countries prone to yellow fever will have to provide certification of the vaccination against yellow fever.
Eligible travellers will be able to complete the application process in just a few minutes. Applicants will have to provide their personal information, passport information and answer a few security questions, to receive an approved electronic visa via email.
eVisa Implementation Timeline
The government of South Africa proved its devotion to its low-risk travelers by starting up the e-gates project, aimed at easing the travelers' experience of South Africa and making a contribution to its development. The government targeted setting up and implementation of the Biometrics Movement Control System at the country’s major airports. This project followed the government of South Africa’s electronic visa trial programme which first started with Kenyan nationals, towards the end of 2019.
In early 2020, the government of South Africa extended the trial program to Chinese, Nigerian and Indian nationals. On May 2021, South Africa’s home affairs minister made an announcement confirming the introduction of the smart passport gates at the country’s major airports and extension of the electronic visa to ten more countries. The confirmed launching date for the South African electronic visa, as confirmed by the foreign affairs minister will be in March 2022, and the online visa services will be available to nationals from 15 countries.
Covid-19 Travel Restrictions on the South African eVisa Programme
The government of South Africa put up protocols and measures in the whole of 2020 and 2021,to maximize the safety of residents and travellers.These measures against Covid-19 included travel restrictions, mandatory PCR covid testing, medical screening and completion of a traveller health questionnaire.
These Covid-19 measures delayed the rolling out of the online visa services.However, the government of South Africa has now confirmed the roll out date of the eVisa services in 2022.
South Africa’s Visa Exempt Countries
It is possible that with the rolling out of the online visa services, nationals of some visa exempt countries might need to apply for the South Africa electronic visa, in order to be allowed into the country. Nationals from the following 28 countries can currently enter South Africa for a period of up to 30 days without a visa.
And Citizens from some countries can enter South Africa for different given periods of stay, without a visa. Nationals from these 52 countries can enter and stay upto a period of 90 days without a visa;
Visa Exempt Countries List
Citizens from the following countries, as of up to now, will have to apply for a South African Visa in person from a South African Embassy or consulate in their country.