09 February 2016
South Africa changes to the immigration regulations
South Africa. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA)has confirmed the following
Progress on measures prioritised for the immediate phase (0 – 3 months), between 1 November 2015 and 31 January 2016:
• Introduction of biometric facilities:
The development of a biometric capacity and its testing at ORTIA, Lanseria Airport, CTIA and KSIA has been successfully completed and the system is now being implemented. In view of this, transit visas are no longer required for persons travelling through the afore-mentioned ports of entry. Transit visas for the remaining ports of entry will be re-evaluated after biometric rollout at such ports.
• Accredited Tourism Company programme:
o Chinese Market:
* Given that the Chinese tourism sector is highly regulated, tourism operators are already accredited by Government in that country. In light of this, a list of accredited tour operators has been submitted to DHA and the
Department has waived the requirement to have a port of entry visa in person for Chinese travellers travelling as part of a tour group
* This allows accredited Chinese tour operators to apply on behalf of such travellers on condition that the biometric date for the traveller will be undertaken on arrival and on departure from South Africa.
o India and the Russian Market
* The Department of Tourism is undertaking research in relation to the accreditation of service providers in India and Russia. This therefore means the finalisation of the ATC for these markets will be delayed until further
• Issuance of long-term multiple entry visitor’s visa :
o The issuance of long-term multiple entry visitor’s visas for a period exceeding 3 months and up to 3 years has already been implemented.
o Furthermore, a 10-year visa waiver for business executives from BRICS countries has also been in existence since December 2014. This directive has been extended to bona fide business and academics from African countries.
• Travel requirements for minors
o School and sports tours: DHA has developed a standardised template for school principals to complete, which is available for download on the Department’s website. School principals are therefore now enabled to provide one affidavit confirming permission for South African children to travel on school tours, in lieu of having to
provide individual parent consent forms. A similar arrangement will apply in the case of sports teams, in the case of identified sports federations
o Parental Consent Affidavit:
The Parental Consent Affidavit has been extended from 4 to 6 months
o Issuance of a strong advisory: this applies in the case of travellers accompanied by minors from countries which are visa-exempt to ensure compliance with theUnabridged Birth Certificate-related directives.
DHA is working to ensure that the regulations are amended accordingly.
2. Focus areas for the short term (3 months -1 year) between 1 November 2015 to 31 October 2016
The Department has further highlighted the following as key focus areas for the period ending 31 October 2016:
• Addition of visa facilitation centres, including in Zimbabwe, UAE and Botswana;
• Consideration of a visa-waiver for India, China, Russia and other countries;
• Look at issuing visas on arrival for persons travelling to SA having in their passports
valid visas for the UK, USA and Canada or any other country that applies stringent
checks on visitors to their countries
• Open two Business Visa Facilitation Centres in Durban and Port Elizabeth
• Print parent’s details in the passports of South African minors so that they do not have to
carry birth certificates.
DHA further will schedule quarterly stakeholder briefings to continue providing
updates on progress made.