Cape Town - SA's Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday, 13 December 2016, announced that travellers from New Zealand will have to obtain a visa to enter South Africa.
The Department of Home Affairs in a tweet announced, "From 16 Jan 2017 New Zealanders will now be requested to obtain a visa to enter RSA".
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NZ travellers coming to SA for the latter part of the festive season, will therefore have to make provision to enter SA legally.
"Reciprocity is a national principle" Gigaba said as he imposed the new visa requirement for New Zealanders. "South Africa has, for some time now, adopted a visa policy which is based on the principle of reciprocity. Therefore, in view of the afore-mentioned, a decision was taken to reciprocate by withdrawing the visa exemption which New Zealand passport holders enjoy," Gigaba says.
In 1996 the Republic of South Africa and the Government of New Zealand implemented visa free movement to holders of diplomatic, official and ordinary passports from each other’s territory for visits not exceeding a period of three months. This meant that New Zealand was one of the visa-exempt countries for South African travel, and NZ travellers could enter the country for 90 days at a time free of charge and without having to apply for documentation beforehand.
The announcement follows New Zealand's announcement to enforce a visa restriction for South Africans in October this year, as a result of an increase in the number of South African nationals who have been refused entry at the New Zealand border in comparison to other visa waiver countries.
The New Zealand Government attributed certain factors which led them to the decision to withdraw the visa waiver arrangements for South African passport holders. It listed as among the factors the number of South African visitors who exploit the visa waiver arrangement to visit family and friends in New Zealand, as opposed to travelling to New Zealand for tourism or business purposes, the number of South African visitors who had overstayed the three months visa waiver limit or who did not return to South Africa, and the number of South African travellers who had been refused entry at the New Zealand border due to counterfeit or fraudulently obtained South African passports.
Previously, South African passport holders travelling to New Zealand for less than three months on business, as tourists, to visit friends or relatives or for short-term study under three months, were not required to apply for a visa before they travel as they qualified for a visa on arrival.
The new visa regulations came into effect on 21 November this year, and now requires South Africans to pay NZ$165.00 (about R1 637.07 at R9.92/NZ$), to visit the country.
SEE: Home Affairs finds New Zealand's 'fake SA passports' visa backlash unfortunate
At the time, the DHA said it found the move rather unfortunate - "given the vast improvements to DHA systems over the years.
New Zealand travellers need to apply for visa in person
New Zealand ordinary passport holders can visit the department of Home Affairs website to acquant themselves with the supporting documents that need to accompany a visa application before visiting the South African High Commission in Wellington to submit a visa application form and supporting documents "in person", the DHA says.
In line with South Africa’s global visa fees, the New Zealand visas will cost in the vicinity of "R425 for most of the visa categories and R1 520 for permits and work, business and corporate visas".
The Department warned, however, that it "will in due course increase its visa and permit fees to align with inflation".
At the briefing on Tuesday, Gigaba requested that travellers respect the rules" of SA's immigration processes and "get documented".
The move to enforce visa laws for New Zealanders may seem as a step backwards for the DHA, as Gigaba said at the briefing that "SA is open for business and recognizes the global community".
Gigaba also says that the DHA is "trying to get our nationals free visa entry into countries where there's vast economic opportunities".
The following countries are exempt from visa requirements when entering SA, according to the Department of Home Affairs website:
Members of the African Union (Laissez Passer)
Chile (only ordinary passport holders)
Germany (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of Germany in SA)
Namibia (only ordinary passport holders 90 days per annum)
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Tanzania (90 days per annum)
Trinidad & Tobago (only ordinary passport holders)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (only ordinary passport holders)
British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man. British Oversees Territories namely: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island, Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha), Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the Turks and Caicos Island.
United States of America (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of the USA in SA)
Zambia (90 days per annum)
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