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Thursday, 11 July 2019

Ghana And Other Countries Get Extended Visa Waiver From South Africa Says More “Homework” Needed Before Adding Nigeria

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In a bid to boost tourism to the country, South Africa is finalising a number of visa waiver agreements with other countries, allowing travellers to enter the country without a visa.

This announcement was made by Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday in Pretoria.

Citizens from countries which will now no longer require a visa to travel to SA include Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iran, Lebanon, the State of Palestine, Belarus, Georgia, and Cuba.

These countries join the UK, US, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil and Canada whose citizens already have visa waiver agreements.

“We have implemented a visa waiver for all citizens of the Russian Federation and Angola, on 1 April 2017 and 1 December 2017, respectively, to travel to SA without having to apply for a visa,” Gigaba said.

Despite being part of the top 10 overseas tourism market, nationals from China and India still require a visa to visit SA. Gigaba, however, said his department is simplifying visa requirements for these countries.


This will include taking biometrics on arrival in SA, which will speed up getting through customs for tourists from China and India as well as allowing visa applications via courier and the issuing of five-year multiple entry visas, Gigaba announced.

“Easing movement in this manner will help in attracting larger number of tourists, business people, and families.”

Business people from China and India will also be issued with a 10-year multiple entry visa, given within days of application.

“They do not need to apply in person and can use courier services. This arrangement is meant to attract business people and prospective investors.”

Furthermore, Gigaba said that the development of the e-Visa is at an advanced stage and will be piloted in New Zealand by April 2019.

“This will significantly enhance efficiency in the issuing of visas to tourists and business people visiting our country,” Gigaba said.

Once concerns have been identified and addressed in the pilot phase, it will be rolled out in other countries.

These amendments follow the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday on changes to the visa regime as part of the economic stimulus and recovery plan.

South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, says his country needs to do more “homework” before adding Nigeria, India, and China to its list of countries that can visit the country visa-free.

Reports obtained indicates the list of countries released by the department on the Home Affairs’ Twitter handle. 

“Out of the 193 countries that are member states of the United Nations, the Department has granted visa-free status to 75 countries. Of these 16 are in our continent and are SADC members and 59 are from all over the world.

“Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that Tourism is very important for job creation,” BusinessTech Africa quoted Motsoaledi to have said.

The minister said his office would immediately enter into discussions with the countries about how a visa-free regime will work, with “homework” still needing to be done for countries like China, India, and Nigeria.

“While we are busy tackling the matter of the three countries, we shall this financial year increase two and a half times the number of people who work for Home Affairs to process visas in both China and India. We shall double the number of people who process visas to our country in Nigeria,” BusinessTech of South Africa quoted him to have said.

Speaking to BusinessTech a department spokesperson said that the countries announced by the minister only apply to inbound visas (citizens from the listed countries visiting South Africa) and that outbound visas (South Africans visiting the countries listed) need to be negotiated on a country-by-country basis.

The department noted that some countries, such as Qatar and Ghana, already have visa-free or visa on arrival agreements with South Africa.

According to the latest Henley Passport Index, South Africans can visit 99 countries around the globe visa-free.

Also speaking at the department’s budget vote, deputy minister of Home Affairs, Njabulo Nzuza said that the department is moving forward with the implementation of the country’s e-Visa regime.

“This regime will place technology at the centre of our operations by making it easy, yet secure, to enter South Africa,” he said.

The e-Visa system will allow tourists and visitors to South Africa to apply for their visas online. These applications will then be sent to a central adjudication and approval office, while the prospective visitors “sit at the comfort of their own home”.

The new system will also open South Africa as a desirable destination through the ease of its visa systems, the deputy minister said, adding that it will have huge tourism growth implications for the country.

The e-Visa regime is anticipated to be fully introduced in November 2019.

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