Global Alerts

SOUTH AFRICA – Visa Application Process Amended & Travel Rules for Minors Clarified

The immigration guidelines implemented in May 2014, have been amended by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) in order to simplify visa application processes and to ensure compliance. Foreign nationals without a South African consular post in their country of residence, may now submit their visa applications via mail and provide biometrics upon arrival to Cape Town International Airport, King Shaka International Airport or O.R. Tambo International Airport. The biometrics pilot program has only been implemented in the aforementioned airports thus far.

Those traveling to South Africa with minors must provide original birth certificates and in some cases, may additionally be required to provide parental consent letters or certified copies of birth certificates. Those leaving South Africa with minors must present the child’s complete birth certificate. The DHA announced that absent parents who are visa-exempt will be required to provide consent upon a minor’s entry and exit and proof of the relationship. The DHA is also expected to extend the validity period of a parental consent affidavit to six months.

Over the next few months, the DHA will review a proposed long-term multiple entry visa program with a validity period of three months to three years for frequent business and academic travelers. It is anticipated that the DHA will also consider a visa waiver program for foreign nationals from India, China and Russia among several other countries. Moreover, the DHA intends to open Visa Facilitation Centers in Botswana, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe and also open Business Visa Facilitation Centers in Durban and Port Elizabeth. To further improve risk assessment and complete automation of the visa and permitting system, the DHA will aim to install pre-flight check systems at international airports, upgrade Advance Passenger Processing systems and implement a Passenger Name Record system as part of their long-term plans.

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