Home Affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has announced visa-free travel for 11 countries in an effort to boost tourism to the country.
In a media briefing on Sunday (4 October), Motsoaledi said that the visa-free status of citizens of some countries and territories was temporarily suspended at the start of the lockdown period.
“In line with the commitment of Government to take urgent steps to address the economic and tourism stagnation brought about by the outbreak of Covid-19, visa-free status of citizens from a number of countries and territories has been reinstated.”
However, the minister said that visa-free status does not alter the current Covid-19 regulations, including with regards to the bans in place for leisure travelers from high-risk countries, as determined by the South African Government.
The countries include (bolded are high risk):
- South Korea;
- Hong Kong;
Motsoaledi said he has instructed officials to communicate this decision to the aviation industry, embassies and other stakeholders as a matter of urgency.
“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,” he said.
The minister said that 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.”
Motsoaledi said that any person from a country listed as having a high Covid-19 infection and transmission rate, who wish to undertake business travel into South Africa, may, in writing, apply to the Department of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter the Republic for business purposes during the period of the national state of disaster.
Such applications must be directed to email Covid19BusinessTravel@dha.gov.za and supported by:
- 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.
The list of these high-risk countries will be updated fortnightly, said Motsoaledi.
“Immigration officers have been instructed to apply the requirements with a measure of flexibility in order to allow applications for business travel to be lodged at the ports of entry if and when necessary and await the outcome before entry into the republic is allowed,” he said,
All other categories of travellers from medium and low-risk countries are required to produce a certificate of negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure, Motsoaledi said.
“Any person who fails to submit the certificate will be required to quarantine at his or her own cost.”
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