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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.

 

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