UPDATE: SA request to ease EU visa access referred to 'individual member states'

2017-08-17 12:32 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - South Africans who are hoping to hear positive news around a possible relaxing of visa access into the European Union will have to wait a bit longer it seems. 

This is the word from the department of home affairs (DHA) who has confirmed that a proposal submitted in March of this year has not been concluded.

“The EU as a bloc has referred the matter of visa requirements for South African passport holders to be negotiated with individual member states," DHA spokesperson David Hlabane confirmed to Traveller24.

SEE: #PassportGang: Passport nightmares that could see you making a 'u-turn' home

A formal proposal had been submitted in September, last year as talks were held with the European Union Ambassador Marcus Cornaro regarding the “relaxation or elimination of its visa requirements for South African passport holders”. 

Not specific details of which individual member states have indicated willingness to consider easing visa access for South Africans have been confirmed as yet. 

European Travel specifically requires a Schengen visa for SA citizens, with a few surprising destinations we can enter sans visa. These include Ireland, Kosovo and while not technically on the continent, France's Reunion Island.

And while not part of the European Union, this year Russia and South Africa also exchanged visa-free reciprocity. 

SEE: Russia to scrap visas for SA travellers from April 

EU visa access for US

The EU has been reviewing border controls in its entirety as access as part of its Brexit negotiations with Britain.

In March it had also been contemplating whether to end visa-free travel for Americans - following a tit-for-tat call  by the European Commission to the European Parliament asking it to block access for US citizens to Europe.

Americans currently do not need visa access for Europe, however EU citizens of five nations do - these being Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania. 

The New York Times reported in May that for now the motion has been denied, even though "European impatience with the American visa policy has been building for years". 

SEE: EU Visa-free travel: US loss of access to be SA's gain?

Brexit negotiations

As part of ongoing Brexit negotiations, Britain also confirmed this week that it might seek to remain in a customs union with the European Union for a time to avoid border chaos after leaving the bloc.

AP reported on Tuesday, 16 August that the Department for Exiting the European Union saying it is considering a future "customs partnership" could eliminate the need for a customs border between Britain and the EU.

SEE: 'Temporary customs union' with EU could avoid border chaos for UK

It says there could be "a temporary customs union between the UK and the EU." However the question of whether there will be economic barriers with the EU after Brexit in March 2019 continues to be the subject of mixed signals from UK government ministers.    

According to the report the UK government is trying to rebuff claims before a new round of talks later this month that it is unprepared for Brexit negotiations.

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