Visa and E-Visa Update

New visas

In the annual performance plan for 2023/24, published in April, The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) said that the groundwork for new visas was underway. Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that The DHA was exploring new visa categories, which includes start-up visas and remote working visas.

More recently, Bottom of FormThe DHA said they are committed to finalising the implementation of the new visa categories by the end of June 2023.

Initially, the Minister said that the current regulatory framework to introduce new visa categories did not exist and he went on to say that The DHA had no plans to change this.

However, the new visa categories has been key topics in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address for the last two years.

The Operations Vulindlela team recently submitted a comprehensive report to the President, recommending the possibility of new visa categories which would benefit the economy.

The DHA has subsequently drafted an implementation plan, in order to introduce these visas and they have confirmed that they intend to have the specific requirements for remote work visas and start-up visas detailed within the next three months. This will require the amendments of regulations 11 and 14 in the SA Immigration Regulations.

A consultation document is expected to be completed by the end of June 2023, with a whitepaper expected to be submitted to cabinet by the end of April 2024.


The DHA indicated that they will continue rolling out the e-visa system, with technology being at the centre of operations, in order to simplify and make it secure to enter and leave SA. According to The DHA, the e-visa system is in place for 14 countries. The DHA had experienced challenges as a result of slow network speeds which resulted in backlogs. However, the establishment of an e-visa hub contributed towards clearing the backlog. The DHA is planning to extend the e-visa platform to an additional 20 + non visa exempt countries.


The additional countries will include:

  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Belarus
  • Bulgaria
  • Cuba
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Croatia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Indonesia
  • Ivory Coast
  • Lithuania
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Morocco
  • Niger
  • Romania
  • Senegal
  • Slovak Republic


SA is revamping the system with the aim of attracting critical skills. However, despite their efforts, they have experienced many issues, resulting in visa processing backlogs. Towards the end of March 2023, The DHA issued a circular whereby granting an automatic extension of long term visa categories if applications were still pending, while it attempts to process the backlog of visa and waiver applications, which amounts to more than 62 000.

To put the extent of the backlog into context, in 2022, The DHA aimed to have most critical skills visa applications processed within four weeks of application. However, it is estimated that they only managed to process 20% of these applications in that time. This is down from 57% in 2021. The DHA has now set a goal of having 90% of these visas processed in 2023. However, it anticipates only being able to clear the current backlog some time in 2024, which means that their goal of processing 90% of these visas in 2023, is looking unachievable.


Should you need more information, please feel free to contact our expert immigration tea by clicking on the link below: