Embassies in the dark over postal visa applications

Despite an undertaking from the department of Home Affairs to process visa applications by post for travellers from countries where SA has no missions, embassies are insisting travellers make their applications in person.

In October the department stated that within three months applications would be accepted by post for travellers from countries where SA had no missions, following a directive from the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) tasked with reviewing South Africa’s immigration regulations.

“The idea is that applications will go to the nearest embassy,” said Mayihlome Tshwete, Spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), told Tourism Update.

However, while Tshwete implied that the visa application process would be as simple as downloading a form, filling it out and posting it, embassies have said that applications must be made in person. South Africa’s Embassy in Finland, which processes visa applications for Estonians, told Tourism Update that Estonians needed to apply for visas in person.

Similarly, South Africa’s Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, told a traveller in contact with Tourism Update that, while they were aware of the statement from DHA dated October 21, 2015, there had been no implementation as yet.