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More Travelers Allowed to Visit South Africa: List of High-risk Countries Revised

There’s an average of 335 investors per day applying to visit South Africa, ‘sending a strong message that South Africa remains an attractive investment destination’.

The government on Monday issued a revised list of what it deems “high-risk countries”, based on a risk categorization model, in light of the current pandemic.  The list is compiled by ministers of health, home affairs and tourism, and was done in a way that “strikes a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods”. 

No changes were made to travel in Africa. The only people from high-risk countries who are able to visit South Africa at the moment are those travelling for business, those that hold critical skills visas, investors, and those from sports, arts, culture and science international missions. 

Travelers from select European countries who usually visit South Africa in the summer to escape cold winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, many of whom own property, will also be allowed to visit South Africa.  However, this is subject to a three-month visitation period or longer, and Covid-19 protocols. 

Those seeking permission to travel to South Africa must email their requests, and provide a copy of their passport and temporary residence visa, proof of business activities to be undertaken, proof of travel itinerary and proof of address or accommodation. 

The email address that has been in operation has in the last two weeks received 4,701 applications. So far, 3,113 have been approved.  This amounts to an average of 335 investors per day applying to visit South Africa, “sending a strong message that South Africa remains an attractive investment destination”.  As such, capacity to manage the email account has been increased. 

Here is the latest list of high-risk countries still not allowed to travel to South Africa for leisure travel: 

  • Argentina
  • Germany
  • Peru
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Philippines
  • Belgium
  • Indonesia
  • Russia
  • Brazil
  • Iran
  • Spain
  • Canada
  • Iraq
  • United Kingdom
  • Chile
  • Italy
  • USA
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • France
  • Netherlands

 

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

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

Relocation Africa’s Algerian Immigration Interview

Our Immigration Lead, Lynn Mackenzie, recently had the pleasure of speaking to François, our Algerian immigration partner, about Algeria’s current immigration landscape.

To listen to Lynn and Nicole’s conversation about immigration in the current context, click here to view the recording, or view it below.

We would like to say a huge thank you to François for his insights. We hope you enjoy the recording.

 

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

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

How Much Does it Cost to Move Overseas? Here’s Part 1 of an SA to UK Example

This article was written by Sam Beckbessinger.

Part 1 of 2.

Hello, grownups 🙂

How are you hanging in there, chaps? I’ve pretty much degenerated into a pile of snack-crumbs and blankets by this point.

Today I’m taking a question about the costs of moving to another country.

Hi Sam! I know you moved to the UK recently. I wondered if you’d be comfortable sharing a rough estimate of your moving budget? My husband and I are talking about making a similar move sometime next year, and it would help our planning to have a better sense of how much we’d need to save up for it. Why reader, I LOVE sharing my budgets! Queen of Overshare, right here.

TL;DR: moving myself, my partner and our cat to the UK cost us about R185,000. I reckon if we’d been a bit more careful about a few things, we could have gotten that down to R150,000. If we hadn’t been so extremely lavish about it, we could have done it for R30-R50k.

Here’s a breakdown of what we actually spent, line by line.

Some notes on our budget:

We moved in January 2020. Prices have probably changed a bit since then, already.
We moved from Cape Town, South Africa to Cambridge, UK. If you want to know why, I wrote about that decision here.
My household consists of me, my partner, and our cat (Sir Digby Chicken Caesar).
We did get a moving stipend from my partner’s new company, so we were a bit less frugal than we would have been if it was entirely our own money.
Your budget will depend on a few variables. Obviously, the biggest one is where you’re moving to, but five other factors are:

  • How many people are moving?
  • How complicated is your visa situation?
  • Are you bringing pets?
  • Are you bringing any stuff?
  • Will you have to financially emigrate?

Obviously, if you’re 22 and single and naturally nomadic and you’re just bringing your clothes, moving overseas is hella simple. I, however, am no longer 22, and I’m a nester, so my move required about as much planning as a space shuttle launch. Many spreadsheets were involved.

Moving the people

You might be tempted to book your flights far in advance so you can get the best deal on flight tickets. Resist this temptation. You can’t fly until your visas are finalized and your pets are approved to travel (if you have pets), and both of these factors are hopelessly unplannable. This can all turn into some pretty complicated schedule-Tetris, so flights should be one of the last things you book.

When you’re building your budget, anticipate that you might need to pay a bit more than you think, in order to find a flight that works with your timing.

It’s worth paying for a couple of extra pieces of luggage to bring with you on the plane. You’re not going to have anything except what you bring on the flight with you, for a long time.

Our flight costs for 2 people from Cape Town to London, including 1 excess bag, were R17,372.

Securing visas/residence permits

My partner’s an EU citizen (lucky bastard) so the entirety of his application took 40 minutes and was totally free.

My own visa situation was a lot more complicated, so we decided it would be worth paying immigration consultants to talk me through the Vogonesque application process. We used a company called Breytenbachs, who were knowledgeable and reassuring. There were one or two small hiccups in the process, mostly because I made the questionable decision to try to move to England mid-Brexit, just as all their rules were changing.

Overall, I was glad that there were people that I could call with my questions when things got confusing. That said, this did end up being one of the most expensive parts of the process. I’d suggest to someone else going through this process that it’s worth paying for some specific consultations to clear up questions you have, but do the actual application process yourself.

My visa ended up costing us R16,838, but if we’d done more of the process ourselves we could have kept this under R10,000.

Moving the cat

Transporting my pavement-special cat across the world is probably the single most boujie thing I’ve ever done. It was also, without a doubt, the most stressful part of the whole experience.

Would I do it all again? Absolutely. I love that little furry idiot.

Different countries have different rules about what you have to do to import pets. For the UK, they don’t have to be quarantined, but they do have to go for a series of shots and tests over the course of four months before they can fly. This ultimately ended up controlling our timelines – we were ready to go long before our cat was. So, if you’re bringing a pet, getting the clock started on this process is the very first thing you need to take care of.

It’s also worth knowing that there are completely different protocols for travelling on the same day as your pet (you don’t have to be on the same flight), or travelling separately to them. You have to decide early on which approach you’re going to take, and if you’re travelling together, don’t book your own flight until you have solid timelines for your pet’s.

I did a lot of shopping around, trying to figure out if we could move the cat more cheaply by handling a lot of the admin ourselves. Ultimately, it didn’t seem worth it, so we decided to go with pet transport company called PetPort who walked us through the whole process from beginning to end. I can’t recommend PetPort highly enough. They were proactive, helpful and communicative.

We also got some good advice directly from our vet, who really went above and beyond for us (including rushing out to do a last-minute panicked house-call on the day before we needed to fly because I couldn’t wrestle the damn hellcat into his carrier, and I had a one-hour window to get his papers signed by the state vet on the other side of town).

Overall, including vet bills, bringing our cat cost us (GASP) R25,613. Ja, I know. I could have left the little shit behind and bought a literal tiger cub instead.

In the next article, we will share the rest of Sam’s story, including what to take with and what to buy; finding somewhere to live; and info about financial emigration. Stay tuned for the second part.

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

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

South Africa Has Opened Up Visa-free Travel to These 11 Countries

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;
  • Spain;
  • Italy;
  • Germany;
  • Hong Kong;
  • Singapore;
  • USA;
  • UK;
  • France;
  • Portugal;
  • Iran.

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.”

High-risk countries 

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.”

 

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

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

South Africa Has Published Its List of 60 Countries Banned From Leisure Travel

As of today, 1 October 2020, South Africa has opened its borders to international travelers. There are, however, numerous restrictions, including presenting a negative COVID-19 test, and visitors only being allowed to enter through select airports and land border posts. Furthermore, the South African Government has published a list of 60 countries that are banned from leisure travel to South Africa.

International Relations and cooperation minister Naledi Pandor said in a media briefing on Wednesday that the country’s infections rate has gone down and the country can return to a ‘more normal’ situation.

She said that the government has developed a list of high and low-risk countries which will be allowed to travel to and from the country based on World Health Organization guidelines over a seven-day period.

  • High risk travelers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of Covid-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa.
  • Medium risk travelers are from countries with relatively equal number of infections and death toll to SA.
  • Low risk travelers obviously originate from countries with lesser number of infections of Covid-19 and death toll than SA.

This list will be updated on a regular basis, reviewed every two weeks, Pandor said.

Leisure travelers from high-risk countries will not be permitted. The exception will be business travelers with scarce and critical skills including diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and, events will undergo the same health protocol screenings. “Travelers that intend to visit the country will need to produce a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin,” Pandor said.

“The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and must have the name and signature of the person who conducted the test.” Upon arrival, travelers will be screened for any Covid-19 symptom s and will also be screened for contract with people who have been in contact with others who could have had Covid-19.

Travelers will also need to provide proof of accommodation addresses in case they need to self-isolate. International travel around the world has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Those who are found to have Covid-19 after entering the country will be required to isolate for 10 days at their own cost. Travel insurance will be mandatory for all travelers. If the passport of the traveler from a high risk country indicates that they spent 10 days or more in a low risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low risk country.

Banned countries are:

  1. Albania
  2. Argentina
  3.  Armenia
  4. Austria
  5. Bahrain
  6. Belgium
  7. Bolivia
  8. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  9. Brazil
  10. Chile
  11. Columbia
  12. Costa Rica
  13. Croatia
  14. Czech Republic
  15. Denmark
  16. Ecuador
  17. France
  18. Georgia
  19. Greece
  20. Guatemala
  21. Guyana
  22. Honduras
  23. Hungary
  24. Iceland
  25. India
  26. Iran
  27. Iraq
  28. Ireland
  29. Israel
  30. Jamaica
  31. Jordan
  32. Kuwait
  33. Lebanon
  34. Luxemburg
  35. Maldives
  36. Malta
  37. Mexico
  38. Moldova
  39. Montenegro
  40. Nepal
  41. Netherlands
  42. North Macedonia
  43. Oman
  44. Palestine
  45. Panama
  46. Paraguay
  47. Peru
  48. Portugal
  49. Puerto Rico
  50. Qatar
  51. Romania
  52. Russia
  53. Slovakia
  54. Suriname
  55. Switzerland
  56. Ukraine
  57. United Emirates
  58. United Kingdom
  59. USA
  60. Venezuela

To read Home Affairs’ full speech on the reopening of the borders for international travel, click here. And to read the SA Government Gazette changes, click here.

 

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

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