10 Dec 2015 – Tourism Update
Biometric capturing will definitely be introduced at South Africa’s primary international airports by the end of January, and as a result, other immigration controls, such as the Transit Visa, could be reviewed the Director General of the Department of Home Affairs,Mkuseli Apleni, has assured stakeholders.
Mkuseli was addressing tourism and business stakeholders at the Ernst & Young headquarters in Sandton, Johannesburg yesterday (December 10).
“The implementation of the capturing of biometrics at Lanseria International Airport, OR Tambo International Airport, King Shaka International Airport and Cape Town International Airport are on track,” Mkuseli said. The modules had been developed, tested and were currently being piloted at certain ports of entry, he added.
“Consequently, the criticality of the biometric capability to manage risk allows the department to retract the requirement for certain travellers to hold a Transit Visa,” Mkuseli said.
He said the Department was re-evaluating the Transit Visa requirements in line with the Port of Entry biometric enhancements. The intended outcome of this evaluation, he said, was for the Transit Visa requirement to be retracted altogether.
“This is currently in progress but it depends on the successful implantation of the biometric capturing,” he said.
Mkuseli added that the Department would now initiate consultation with other member departments operating in the border control environment to ensure alignment on the new security standards introduced. “By January 31, we hope to issue an Immigration Directive advising all stakeholders of the change in requirements.”
Other changes introduced by the Department include:
Extending the validity of the parental consent affidavit from four months to six.
Adding parents’ details to South African children’s passports so that outbound travellers are no longer required to carry an unabridged birth certificate.
Introducing a long-term multiple-entry visitor’s visa for a period exceeding three months and up to three years.
Introducing a 10-year visa waiver for BRICs countries.
Introducing a long-term multiple-entry visa for travellers visiting South Africa frequently, such as business people, academics and tourists.