Receiving your first passport is an exciting milestone! It means you’re finally set to add globetrotting explorer to your list of achievements.
But there are a number of finicky things about passports, any newbie traveller wouldn’t know about - for instance certain countries' entry rules mean that your passport actually expires well before the date stipulated in your green mamba, as the South African passport is affectionately called.
Travelling has the ability to change our perception and gives us an adrenaline rush. It provides you with a thrill and excitement of jetting off into the unknown - but before we dive into the many opportunities our ‘green mamba’ can take us to, it’s important to be in the know about your South African passport application too.
For instance, did you know that in 2014 South Africa decided to do away with the temporary passports - meaning that unless it is an emergency you have to keep your expiring date in check.
How to apply for your SA passport? - Click here for all the details
With the country moving forward through digitisation and the introduction of the eHomeAffairs system, you can now apply online for ID’s and passports - a virtual and far more efficient experience! See the full story here.
And turn-around times have improved too, passports processing is done in 10 weeks, with home affairs updating you with sms notifications when ready for collection.
You can also apply for your passport through your nearest state-affiliated bank such as Absa - so the idea of standing in long lines are now,more often than not, a thing of the past.
Have you checked the passport validity window period for your destination?
Remarkably, South Africa allows for a narrow 30-day passport validity window. And while visas are granted on the nature of the visit, things can get tricky for a foreign visitor planning around a 90-day visa-on-arrival. If they stick to this 30-day window validity their passport would expire two months before their stay - so always double-check!
We’re slightly boggled by this window period and have contacted the department of home affairs to confirm but have yet to receive a response.
In the interim, if you’ve got your proposed trip diarised but you haven’t checked your passport validity - best you do with this detailed US Map Tool and then confirm that you have the required validity window period.
SEE: 6 Unintended things about your passport that could see you booted back home
South Africans have the privilege of being granted visa-free access or visa on arrival to 92 countries - SEE: Visa-free travel: Where your South African passport can take you
We recently had featured the most popular spots for South Africans to check out - see the full list of 18 here.
To help you along here are the basics on passport validity and visas upon entry for the top five.
1. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a really interesting destination for South Africans right now.
Visa required for South Africans?: 30 day e-visa.
Sri Lanka's Passport validity period: 6 months from date of arrival.
Traveller24 Tip: You won’t find a destination that is friendlier on your pocket - don’t believe us? Read this - Sri Lanka: An affordable Asian surprise
Indonesia is known for its lush vegetation and exotic flavors, South Africans flock to Indonesia, with Bali being a hot favorite.
Visa required for South Africans?: 30 - day visa upon arrival, proof of return ticket, accommodation and sufficient funds.
Indonesia's Passport validity period: 6 + months from date of arrival.
3. The Maldives
The Maldives can certainly be an affordable luxury holiday destination with an ultimate selection of beaches.
Visa required for South Africans?: No-cost 30 day visa upon arrival.
The Maldives passport validity period: Passport valid at time of entry.
Traveller24 Tip: Looking for the ultimate beach therapy? Read here - The Maldives + Beach Therapy
Morocco is known for its cascading architecture and eastern flavors. South Africans are visa- free unless the stay extends 90 days, requiring a visa application.
Visa required for South Africans?: None - over the 90 day period requires a visa application.
Morocco Passport validity period: Passport must be valid at time of entry.
Traveller24 Tip: The decadent marvels of Morocco, Read more here - 10 Moroccan marvels you don't want to miss.
Seychelles is visa- free for South Africans and requires passport validity for the duration of stay. It is the ideal place to disconnect and unwind.
Visa required for South Africans: Visitors permit upon arrival - proof of return ticket, accommodation and sufficient funds.
Syechelles' passport validity period: Passport must be valid for duration of stay.
Traveller24 Tip: Craving the sand between your toes, well there is a reason why we suggested it Read more - Seychelles : Why its good for the soul
Now that we have covered all the admin. It is time to plan your next trip, the only question is, "Where will you go next?"
What to read next on Traveller24:
- 12 Top SA winter holiday destinations for families
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- How to apply for your South African Passport