South Africa Adopts New Visa Rules

The reversal of the unabridged birth certificate rule is just one of the many changes implemented by the Department of Home Affairs.

South Africa will implement some changes to its visa system in December 2018 which will likely impact tourism and immigration procedures.

This was revealed by the Department of Home Affairs, which recently published its regulatory amendments pertaining to the Immigration Act of 2002. This official government notice, published on 29 November, has been reported on by Business Tech in the wake of former Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba’s, disgraced exit from the department.

No more unabridged birth certificates

While Gigaba’s dubious tenure came to an abrupt halt following serious allegations of corruption, mismanagement and Constitutional violations – his time as Home Affairs minister will forever be stained by the unabridged birth certificate debacle. This rule, which required minors entering or leaving South Africa to produce an unabridged birth certificate, has been overturned.

The controversial rule, implemented by Gigaba during the start of his term, allegedly cost South Africa R7.5 billion due to a noticeable drop in lucrative the tourism sector.

The reversal of the unabridged birth certificate rule is just one of the many changes implemented by the Department of Home Affairs, due to take effect on 1 December. Let’s look at some other revised regulations which will affect the visa system in South Africa.

Spousal visa for entering South Africa

Visa applications concerning spouses in a “permanent homosexual or heterosexual relationship” have been revised in the latest amendment of the Immigration Act. The adjustments to the regulatory act define new policies relating to the rights of spouses entering South Africa. The notice makes a few important points:

  • Applications need to prove to the Director-General that the applicant is a spouse to a citizen or permanent residence permit holder.
  • Applicants need to sign an agreement stating that the permanent homosexual or heterosexual relationship has existed for at least two years before the date of application for a relevant visa and that neither of the parties is a spouse in an existing marriage.
  • Documents detailing the financial support the partners provide to each other need to be provided.
  • Both partners to a permanent homosexual or heterosexual relationship may be interviewed separately, on the same date and time, to determine the authenticity of the existence of their relationship.

Travelling with a child

Revised regulations relating specifically to children in transit have been noted in the Department of Home Affairs’ document. In addition to no longer needing an unabridged birth certificate, here are some points for parents and guardians to be aware of when travelling to and from South Africa.

Parent(s), legal guardians, or any other person travelling with a child who is a South African citizen, must produce the following before departing or entering South Africa:

  • a copy of a birth certificate or passport containing the details of the parent or parents of the child
  • a letter of consent from the other parent or parents of the child authorising such person to depart from or enter South Africa with the child he or she is travelling with
  • a copy of the passport, or identity card in the case of South African citizens, of the parent or parents or legal guardian of the child
    the contact details of the parent or parents, or legal guardian, of the child
  • a copy of a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child

An unaccompanied child must produce the immigration officer with the following:

  • a copy of his or her birth certificate
  • a letter of consent from one or both his or her parents or legal guardian, as the case may be, for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa
  • a copy of the passport of the parent or parents or legal guardian of the child
    the contact details of the parent or parents or legal guardian of the child
  • a letter from the person who is to receive the child in the country, containing his or her residential address and contact details in the country where the child will be residing
  • a copy of the identity card or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in the country

General work, business, and corporate visas

Visa revisions have also been made concerning foreigners who intend to establish a business or invest in a business that is not yet established in South Africa. These revisions include providing detailed account information and registering with various state institutions, including SARS and the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Applications for general work visas have also been revised and must include a letter issued to the prospective employer by the Department of Labour stating that:

  • despite a diligent search, the prospective employer has been unable to find a suitable citizen or permanent resident with qualifications or skills and experience equivalent to those of the applicant
  • the applicant has qualifications or proven skills and experience in line with the job offer
  • the contract of employment stipulating the conditions of employment, signed by both the employer and the applicant, is in line with the labour standards in the Republic and is issued on condition that the general work visa is approved.

Corporate visas also need to pass through the Department of Labour, following a similar process by engaging integral state institutions.

To make use of the Department of Home Affairs’ e-services, click here. To find your nearest Home Affairs office, click here.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

How to Deal with Culture Shock while Studying Abroad

Special thanks to Mandi Schmitt (Go Overseas) for the below insights.

The minute you land in your new study abroad country, you’re busy taking in the newness around you. You’re smiling at the street vendors selling fruit on every corner. You’re captivated by the sudden openness of the people around you. Or perhaps you’re noticing a discreet segregation of genders, ages, or confused by why your host mother shies away from some of your questions. This, brave study abroad student, is called culture shock.

Many people who have traveled more extensively than a brief vacation have heard the term. Whether you’ve just long ago been bitten by the travel bug, or are heading off on your first time abroad, you’ll need to understand culture shock and how to cope with it on your study abroad trip.

What is Culture Shock?

Photo credit: Rod Waddington via Flickr.

When you study abroad, your daily routine, culture, and the attitudes of people around you are no longer familiar. The process of recognizing, understanding, and adapting to these changes is called culture shock.

In our normal environment much of our behavior, like gestures, tone of voice, how we wait in lines (or don’t wait), and interact, rely on collectively understood cultural cues. However, we don’t actively pay attention to these — they’re our unspoken norm.

In a new country, we become more aware of these cultural subtleties because they are different from our norm.

You may not literally be shocked, but this act of feeling disoriented and processing new ways of life, attitudes, and cultural norms is by definition culture shock. There are four stages of culture shock:

  • Initial Euphoria / The Honeymoon Stage – After first arriving to a new place, you’ll likely be caught up in all the wonderful things your new chosen home has to offer. During this stage, you are more likely to recognize cultural similarities and be charmed by the differences.
  • Irritation and Hostility / The Negotiation Stage – Gradually, the euphoria will diminish. You’ll get lost. You’ll get mad at the apparent “disorganization” of things. You’ll become overwhelmed with all the things you have to adjust to and either feel irritated or compelled to make things go “your way”.
  • Gradual Understanding / The Adjustment Stage – You’re finally able to relax. You’ve come to terms with your new home and have achieved a balance of emotions. Instead of feeling irritated, you’re understanding of differences. You’ll start to have a more positive outlook, interest in learning more about your host country, and make more effort to fit in.
  • Adaptation or Bi-culturalism / The Mastery Stage – Reaching a high level of comfort in your new home is the final stage of culture shock. The order of things makes sense, you can talk to strangers with ease, and you understand cultural nuances. Your routine is more natural. Sure, you still miss your friends and family, but your new friends and activities have become part of your daily life.

Culture Shock and Depression

In some cases, culture shock can resemble or trigger study abroad depression. If you fear you are on the verge of or already in this state, don’t try to get through it alone. Talk to your study abroad directors or volunteer coordinators. Don’t isolate yourself.

Tips for Dealing with Culture Shock

Photo credit: Nicolas Vollmer via Flickr.

So you understand what culture shock is and how to recognize it. Lets get down to real strategies and tips for dealing with culture shock.

1. Learn as much about your host country as possible
Read through travel forums, guidebooks, news reports, or novels. Talk to people who have been there or — better yet — are from there.

Get to know as much as you can about what’s considered polite or rude (for example, did you know it’s rude to step over someone’s bag in Madagascar?) and prepare yourself for some of the differences before you go.

2. Ask study abroad coordinators for advice
Specifically, ask them what other students have had a hard time adapting to and what they’ve done to cope. Each country has it’s own nuances, so you’re going to face a different situation in France as you would in Thailand. Ask those who know best!

3. Set learning goals for your study abroad trip
This may be obvious, but make sure you have goals for your study abroad trip, and make sure they include learning about your host culture. Do you love food? Make it a goal to learn how to cook a local dish.

4. Write down what you love when you first arrive, and look back later
During the honeymoon phase, write down all the things you love about your new host country (maybe even in your new study abroad blog?). Later, when you’re feeling frustrated or irritated, use this list to remind yourself of all the good things about your host country, instead of the things that annoy you.

5. Find a healthy distraction
Especially in stage two, when you may have negative feelings towards your host culture, find a healthy distraction. Take some time to yourself, watch an episode of your favorite TV show, cook a meal from home, or have a solo dance party in your house.

It’s OK to feel overwhelmed and need a break from your host country – just make sure it’s a healthy distraction.

Photo credit: The Visionary Agency via Flickr.

6. Talk to other students about how you feel
You’ll likely know other students who are studying abroad with you. Talk to them about how they feel about your host culture. Ask them about how they feel, strategies they’ve used to cope with cultural differences.

Also, learn from them. They may have figured out something you’re still confused about — like why everyone keeps saying a particular phrase or how to politely say “no” when your host mom insists you finish everything on your plate.

7. Push yourself to make local friends
Of course, you’ll learn even more if you make local friends. They’re experts in their own culture and will be able to explain all the crazy little questions you have. And if they’re a truly good friend, they’ll pull you aside and tell you if you’re unwittingly doing something offensive or weird. *Phew*!

8. Try to see things through your host culture’s eyes
Put on your anthropology hat, kiddos. After all, your anthro class is likely where you first heard about culture shock, right?

Throughout every stage of culture shock, try to put your own worldview in your pocket and try to understand the world the way your host culture does.

Maybe you don’t agree with some philosophies, and maybe it doesn’t make sense within your own cultural context, and it doesn’t have to. Just try to understand where they’re coming from. Ask questions, be non-judgemental, be an anthropologist!

9. Get involved with the local community
Part of your feelings of culture shock may be because you feel like too much of an outsider, so get involved in your local community as much as possible. If you went to church at home, go to church there. If you volunteered at home, find a volunteer project in your host city. Join a sports team, go to major festivals, and make this new home a home!

10. Make an effort to learn the local language
Even if your program is in English, make an effort to learn a few basic phrases (or more!) in the local language. It’s not just a way to understand more of the culture (language and culture are linked), but also to make friends, feel more included, and hey — it’s just fun!

So How Exactly Will It Affect Me?

Photo credit: Johnny Silvercloud via Flickr.

Culture shock affects everyone differently, and can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Largely, this depends on:

  • The countries you’ve previously traveled to … if any. Have you experienced new cultures before?
  • The country you’re now traveling in. How different is it from your own culture?
  • The purpose and structure of your current trip. Do you have someone to help you understand the new culture? Are you willing to learn and adapt?
  • How well you adjust to new situations. How do you generally react to being outside your comfort zone?

If you visit multiple countries that have similar cultural practices, over time, you may get more used to these, and your past experiences could help you adapt to the new cultures quicker.

Don’t Let Culture Shock Stop You from Studying Abroad

Study abroad isn’t all weekend getaways and late night parties. It’s a challenge, an introduction to a new culture, and an emotional roller coaster at times. However, it’s one worth taking. It’s an opportunity to come home with treasured memories, new friends, and a better understanding of who you are.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: Mandi Schmitt (via Go Overseas) [1], [2]. Image sources: Vitaliy Lyubezhanin (via Unsplash) [1], [2].

Former Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille Starts New Political Party Ahead of 2019 Elections

Former City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says her new political party has everything in place to contest the 2019 elections.

The announcement comes a month after she resigned from her position as the city’s first citizen and as Democratic Alliance (DA) member last month.

“I am inviting all South Africans black, white, coloured and Indian, who are in search of something new that will disrupt our current political system. I am making a call for people to do good things for our country,” de Lille said.

Party specifics

The party will contest the 2019 elections in all nine provinces, she said. While the party has yet to be launched, a website has already been set up under the name “For Good”. The name of the party has yet to be made public De Lille said, as her team is still doing “research to test the collateral of the name”.

De Lille revealed, however, that the name of her former party — the Independent Democrats — is being tested as a potential name, as well as a “new name” she is considering. It is the first indication that the former mayor might be reviving the ID — which is still registered as a political party with the Electoral Commission of South Africa.

De Lille said that she had already referred to global marketing giant Ipsos to research whether support existed for her and a new political party. She said that the survey indicated that support did exist. “I am ready to continue to serve my country under a new political movement and I have made the decision based on information and evidence,” De Lille said.

In her announcement, the former mayor spoke extensively on the legacy of apartheid and how her focus would be addressing the imbalances created by the past — including apartheid spatial planning in Cape Town, which has meant that most black people still live on the outskirts of the city, rather than in close proximity to economic opportunity.

She said that volunteers have been working on the project for some time, readying to make the announcement. “We were underground, now we can come above board,” she said. The party, she said, is currently unpacking its policy positions in consultation with members of the youth, who she said the party has been working with.


Opposition parties have widely welcomed De Lille’s announcement of a new political party.

United Democratic Movement’s leader Bantu Holomisa says that De Lille has some value to add to the country’s political space.

“She should be given the opportunity to outline her vision and mission, not in the too distant future.”

The African National Congress’ Dullah Omar region chairperson Xolani Sotashe said: “She is welcomed to the space of politics once again. I have a lot of respect for De Lille. She is a seasoned politician.”

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Narend Singh says all the signs were there that De Lille might re-enter the political boxing ring.

“I think she has been pushed to such an extent in her own past environment to do this. I have no doubt she will be a formidable force in the politics of South Africa as an individual and as a collective and we want to wish her well.”

De Lille says her new political party will live up to the vision she had when she joined the DA and is about providing South Africans with a better alternative.

“You know, the project that I started with Helen Zille in 2010, which unfortunately now is no longer there, was exactly to build that alternative because we believed that by building that alternative, we would be able to get people to vote for it. You can only use your vote for bringing about change in South Africa.”

Meanwhile, the DA says it’s unshaken by De Lille’s decision to start a new political party.

This is de Lille’s fourth act in South African politics: from the Pan-Africanist Congress, to the Independent Democrats, to the Democratic Alliance, and now to her second attempt at an independent party. de Lille says her new political party will focus on empowering the youth.

The party’s official launch will be in January 2019, De Lille confirmed.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4]. Image sources: [1], [2].

SA Home Affairs Considering Discontinuing Birth Certificates for Foreign Children

Lawyers for Human Rights says the new regulations propose that foreign children be issued with a ‘confirmation of birth’ and not a birth certificate

Legal groups have raised concern over the Home Affairs Department’s plan to discontinue birth certificates for foreign children born in South Africa.

Lawyers for Human Rights, the Centre for Child Law, the University of Cape Town’s Refugee Rights and the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town say previously all children were issued with birth certificates, as is required by the Constitution and international law on children’s rights.

Lawyers for Human Rights says the new regulations propose that foreign children be issued with a ‘confirmation of birth’ and not a birth certificate.

The organisation’s Liesl Muller says every child has the right to a birth certificate.

She adds in terms of international law, it is the responsibility of the country of birth to issue a birth certificate, regardless of whether citizenship is granted or not.

“The problem with this is that no child can live a normal life without a birth certificate, and the child cannot access basic education and healthcare.”

Muller says the draft regulation requires children to present their confirmation of birth to their embassy in order to obtain a birth certificate from their country of nationality.

“There are certain groups with children who are particularly vulnerable who won’t be able to, for instance, they’ve fled their country and their refugee protection will be removed.”


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Home Affairs Legalizes Zimbabweans Living, Working and Studying in SA

Over 180,000 Zimbabwean nationals living in South Africa have applied for official documentation to allow them to stay, work, study and conduct businesses legally in the country, the department of home affairs said.

“The Department of Home Affairs is pleased to announce that it has completed the adjudication and printing of 178,172 applications for the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP),” said spokesman Thabo Makgola.

The opening of applications for the ZEP was announced in September 2017 following the expiry of the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP).

“The ZEP is meant to regularise the stay of Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa for work, study or legal business,” said Makgola.

Of the 180,000 applications, 108,485 permits were processed and had been collected, said Makgola.

Meanwhile, 39,089 were in the process of being collected or sent to the various collection offices, he added.

The department has urged 1,932 applicants who had expired passports to contact the Zimbabwean consulate, as their application could not be processed.

While this may be a relief for many, it still denies Zimbabweans permanent residency in South Africa.

The department said it had met with the Zimbabwean Consulate which had undertaken to expedite the passport applications of those who did apply.

The ZEP came into effect in January 2018, and it will expire in December 2021.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].