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15 Destinations South Africans Can Visit Visa-Free in 2019

Residence and citizenship planning company, Henley & Partners, recently published its Passport Index for 2019. With its citizens enjoying visa-free access to 101 countries in total, South Africa is the third highest African country on the index.

The number of counties is down from 102 in 2018, with South Africans now requiring a visa to enter Turkey – although this can be done through a simple online process designed to issue your visa within 48 hours.

Below are 11 countries South Africans can travel to visa-free right now.

1: Panama (Visa-free for 180 days)

Panama is a country on the isthmus linking Central and South America. The Panama Canal, a famous feat of human engineering, cuts through its center, linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to create an essential shipping route. In the capital, Panama City, modern skyscrapers, casinos and nightclubs contrast with colonial buildings in the Casco Viejo district and the rainforest of Natural Metropolitan Park.

2: Peru (Visa-free for 180 days)

Peru is a country in South America that’s home to a section of Amazon rainforest and Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city high in the Andes mountains. The region around Machu Picchu, including the Sacred Valley, Inca Trail and colonial city of Cusco, is rich in archaeological sites. On Peru’s arid Pacific coast is Lima, the capital, with a preserved colonial center and important collections of pre-Columbian art.

3: Philippines (Visa-free for 30 days)

The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country in the Western Pacific, comprising more than 7,000 islands. Its capital, Manila, is famous for its waterfront promenade and centuries-old Chinatown, Binondo. Intramuros, a walled city in colonial times, is the heart of Old Manila. It’s home to the baroque 17th-century San Agustin Church as well as Fort Santiago, a storied citadel and military prison.

4: South Korea (Visa-free for 30 days)

South Korea, an East Asian nation on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, shares one of the world’s most heavily militarized borders with North Korea. It’s equally known for its green, hilly countryside dotted with cherry trees and centuries-old Buddhist temples, plus its coastal fishing villages, sub-tropical islands and high-tech cities such as Seoul, the capital.

5: Thailand (Visa-free for 30 days)

Thailand is a Southeast Asian country. It’s known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern cityscape rises next to quiet canalside communities and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). Nearby beach resorts include bustling Pattaya and fashionable Hua Hin.

6: Macau (Visa-free for 30 days)

Macau is an autonomous region on the south coast of China, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. A Portuguese territory until 1999, it reflects a mix of cultural influences. Its giant casinos and malls on the Cotai Strip, which joins the islands of Taipa and Coloane, have earned it the nickname, “Las Vegas of Asia.” One of its more striking landmarks is the tall Macau Tower, with sweeping city views.

7: Hong Kong (Visa free for 30 days)

Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, and former British colony, in southeastern China. Its vibrant, densely populated urban centre is a major port and global financial hub with a skyscraper-studded skyline. Central (the business district) features architectural landmarks like I.M. Pei’s Bank of China Tower. Hong Kong is also a major shopping destination, famed for bespoke tailors and Temple Street Night Market.

8: Fiji (Visa-free for 120 days)

Fiji, a country in the South Pacific, is an archipelago of more than 300 islands. It’s famed for rugged landscapes, palm-lined beaches and coral reefs with clear lagoons. Its major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, contain most of the population. Viti Levu is home to the capital, Suva, a port city with British colonial architecture. The Fiji Museum, in the Victorian-era Thurston Gardens, has ethnographic exhibits.

9: Chile (Visa-free for 90 days)

Chile is a long, narrow country stretching along South America’s western edge, with more than 6,000km of Pacific Ocean coastline. Santiago, its capital, sits in a valley surrounded by the Andes and Chilean Coast Range mountains. The city’s palm-lined Plaza de Armas contains the neoclassical cathedral and the National History Museum. The massive Parque Metropolitano offers swimming pools, a botanical garden and zoo.

10: Belize (Visa-free)

 

Belize is a nation on the eastern coast of Central America, with Caribbean Sea shorelines to the east and dense jungle to the west. Offshore, the massive Belize Barrier Reef, dotted with hundreds of low-lying islands called cayes, hosts rich marine life. Belize’s jungle areas are home to Mayan ruins like Caracol, renowned for its towering pyramid; lagoon-side Lamanai; and Altun Ha, just outside Belize City.

11: Bahamas (Visa-free for 90 days)

The Bahamas is a coral-based archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. Its 700-plus islands and cays range from uninhabited to packed with resorts. The northernmost, Grand Bahama, and Paradise Island, home to many large-scale hotels, are among the best known. Scuba diving and snorkeling sites include the massive Andros Barrier Reef, Thunderball Grotto (used in James Bond films) and the black-coral gardens off Bimini.

12: Indonesia (Visa-free for 30 days)

Indonesia, a Southeast Asian nation made up of thousands of volcanic islands, is home to hundreds of ethnic groups speaking many different languages. It’s known for beaches, volcanoes, Komodo dragons and jungles sheltering elephants, orangutans and tigers. On the island of Java lies Indonesia’s vibrant, sprawling capital, Jakarta, and the city of Yogyakarta, known for gamelan music and traditional puppetry.

13: Ireland (Visa-free for 90 days)

The Republic of Ireland occupies most of the island of Ireland, off the coast of England and Wales. Its capital, Dublin, is the birthplace of writers like Oscar Wilde, and home of Guinness beer. The 9th-century Book of Kells and other illustrated manuscripts are on show in Dublin’s Trinity College Library. Dubbed the “Emerald Isle” for its lush landscape, the country is dotted with castles like medieval Cahir Castle.

14: Singapore (Visa-free for 30 days)

Singapore, an island city-state off southern Malaysia, is a global financial center with a tropical climate and multicultural population. Popular attractions include Gardens by the Bay, Universal Studios Singapore, Chinatown, the Singapore Zoo, the Merlion statue, Clarke Quay, and the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

15: Argentina (Visa-free for 90 days)

Argentina is a massive South American nation with terrain encompassing Andes mountains, glacial lakes and Pampas grassland, the traditional grazing ground of its famed beef cattle. The country is famous for tango dance and music. Its big, cosmopolitan capital, Buenos Aires, is centered on the Plaza de Mayo, lined with stately 19th-century buildings including Casa Rosada, the iconic, balconied presidential palace.

 

 

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

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Octavio Fossatti [1], [2], Cahal Pech Village Resort [3], Florian Wehde [4], Dennis Rochel [5], Fancycrave [6], Leighton Smith [7], Sander Crombach [8].

5 New Visa Changes South Africans Need to Know About Before Heading to the UK

UK immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, recently made a number of surprising announcements as the country prepares to make visa reforms.

Below, Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants broke down some of the most important changes and what they will mean for South Africans.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa to be replaced by innovator route

The current Tier 1 Entrepreneur route will be replaced by a new Innovator route, for more experienced business persons.

It will have a “similar emphasis on endorsement by a business sponsor, who will assess applicants’ business ideas for their innovation, viability and scalability”.

“We subsequently encourage applicants who still want to apply under the current Tier 1 Entrepreneur route, to contact us without delay,” Breytenbachs said.

New start-up visa route

Earlier in 2018, the UK Government announced that it will establish a new Start-up visa route. This route will build on the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route.

Applicants under this new route will have to be endorsed by either a business or higher education institution sponsor.

No clarity on Tier 1 investor route

The UK Government announced on 6 December 2018 that the Tier 1 Investor route is suspended.

It added this route will from 7 December 2018 no longer be open for applicants to apply, and that new rules will be put in place sometime during 2019.

However, the Home Office has since released an official statement to the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) stating the following:

“The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is not currently suspended. However, the Government remains committed to reforming the route. A further announcement will be made in due course.

“Any suspension would be implemented through changes to the Immigration rules.”

Tier 1 exceptional talent extended to architects

The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route will be expanded to provide for the inclusion of leading architects.

These architects will have to be endorsed by the Royal Institute of British Architects, under the remit of the Arts Council England.

Tier 5 religious and charity workers

Tier 5 Religious Workers and Tier 5 Charity Workers will in future have a cooling off period.

This cooling off period will prevent them from returning to the UK for 12 months, on another Tier 5 visa. This step is taken to underpin the fact that this is a temporary route.

 

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

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

Kenya, South Africa to Launch Long-term Multiple Travel Visas

Long-term visas will become available for South Africans wanting to travel to Kenya and Kenyans wanting to visit South Africa as of December 1.

The announcement was made by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and his Kenyan counterpart Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i on Monday after the two held bilateral talks and took a tour of Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp.

In September Gigaba announced that South Africa would be easing some immigration rules including agreeing to visa waiver agreements with more countries in an effort to boost investment and tourism as part of a broader economic turnaround programme announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The two leaders said both countries would continue working on ways to maximise their cooperation and allowing for passport holders to have long-term multiple entry visa arrangements for business people, academics and frequent travellers between the two countries.

“It’s a historic achievement, we made tremendous progress,” said Matiang’i.

He said as of the arrangement would benefit both countries tremendously.

“This is intended to improve trade between the two countries, interaction between the two countries and to support the people between the two nations engaging in various economic activities of mutual benefit,” said Matiang’i.

He told journalists at the briefing that the east African country viewed its relationship with South Africa as critical and that the presidents of both countries – Ramaphosa and Uhuru Kenyatta – had instructed both ministers to work towards removing barriers and impediments to the growing relationship.

“And today we made a huge achievement in removing those barriers, whatever is left, we will be able to sort out in the next three months,” said Matiang’i.

Praise for Lindela

The Kenyan minister said he believed relaxing visa requirements would lead to the most “seamless interaction between South Africa and Kenya in history.”

Matiang’i also praised the repatriation centre, which he said was a “luxury” for deportees waiting to be processed and taken back to their respective countries.

“The minister has taken me through this facility, I am basically floored, shocked that South Africa actually makes this kind of investment to address the needs of deportees,” said Matiang’i.

South Africa’s home affairs minister, in turn, thanked Kenya for its efforts in preventing illegal immigrants from making their way to the country.

“I thanked the minister for the work they continue to do to repel a lot of illegal immigrants destined for South Africa, on a daily basis hundreds of people are being stopped in Kenya who are destined for South Africa,” said Gigaba.

He added that Kenya contributed to keeping the country safe.

Gigaba said the partnership would contribute to tourism in the two countries and support the visions shared by both Ramaphosa and Kenyatta for free movement of people between the countries.

He said academics and business people would be able to get ten-year visas, while frequent travellers would be able to apply for three-year multiple entry visas, a feat Gigaba said would also alleviate administrative pressure on their respective departments.

 

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

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

SA Constitutional Court Issues Asylum Seeker Ruling

An application for leave to appeal against a decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal was settled this week in South Africa’s Constitutional Court. The case concerns the question whether asylum seekers, including those whose applications for refugee status have been refused, are eligible to apply for other visas and immigration permits in terms of the Immigration Act. The applicants also sought an order setting aside a Department of Home Affairs (Department) directive, Immigration Directive 21 of 2015 (Directive), which requires Departmental functionaries to refuse all applications for temporary and permanent residence visas made by the holder of an asylum seeker permit.

The order issued is as follows:

  • Leave to appeal is granted.
  • The appeal is upheld and the order of the Supreme Court of Appeal is set aside.
  • To the extent that Immigration Directive 21 of 2015, issued by the Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs on 3 February 2016, imposes a blanket ban on asylum seekers from applying for visas without provision for an exemption application under section 31(2)(c) of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002, it is declared inconsistent with the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 and invalid.
  • To the extent that Immigration Directive 21 of 2015, issued by the Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs on 3 February 2016, prohibits asylum seekers from applying for permanent residence permits while inside the Republic of South Africa, it is declared inconsistent with Regulation 23 of the Immigration Regulations, 2014 published under Government Notice R413 in Government Gazette 37697 of 22 May 2014 and invalid.
  • There is no order as to costs.

While this is good news for SA’s asylum seekers, it remains to be seen what the Department of Home Affairs’ reaction to the judgement will be.

To read the full case details, click here.

 

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

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

MPs Challenge Home Affairs on Still Unopened Refugee Centers

Parliament’s watchdog on home affairs is seeking answers as to why the department has not opened its two refugee reception offices.
On Tuesday, MPs grilled the department on the refugee reception office and why they had failed to open the offices in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. This was despite a court ruling to open refugee centres.

“Once public works hands over the tender installation, then we as home affairs can come in and do our installation of equipment and furniture, this process will take eight weeks to do,” acting director-general at home affairs, Thulani Mavuso, said.

The department has constantly maintained it was waiting on the Department of Public Works to provide suitable office accommodation.

MPs gave home affairs officials a grilling on what progress the department had made so far.

Advocacy groups Sonke Gender Justice and The Scalabrini Centre have recently decided to bring forward contempt of court proceedings against the Department of Home Affairs.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) found the department’s decision to close the refugee reception office to new applications for asylum unlawful and irrational, and ordered the department to reopen and maintain a fully functional office in the Cape Town metropolitan area by March 31.

It further ordered the department provide monthly reports on its progress in complying with the order.

The Nbaya case, launched in 2015 through the Legal Resource Centre on behalf of asylum seekers, relates to the renewal of the permits of asylum seekers at the refugee reception office.

This should happen even if they lodged their applications at other refugee reception offices around the country.

In this case, the Western Cape High Court found that the department’s policy of refusing to renew asylum permits from other offices was unlawful and ordered it to renew the permits of asylum seekers residing in Cape Town or to be informed of any decision relating to his or her application through the Cape Town refugee reception office.

“We never had a problem supplying monthly reports, we have concluded a discussion with the two groups to supply a report this week,” Mavuso said.

Portfolio manager of Public Works Reggie Ncobo said: “We have commenced with the procurement process, there were two options explored as a procurement model which the regional office has identified as state owned property in Maitland.

“The idea is for permanent and interim and thereafter we will be advertising a tender process.”

The department said the refugee centres would be opened next year.

 

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

Sources: Marvin Charles via IOL [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].