Cape Town - The recent announcement of the changes to New Zealand's visa regulations for travelling to South Africa may not be the last change SA's Department of Home Affairs will be making to SA's relatively open immigration policy.
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 announcement came after New Zealand, in October this year, announced new regulations requiring South African travellers to purchase a visa before entering.
"Reciprocity is a national principle," Gigaba said on Tuesday. "Therefore, in view of the afore-mentioned, a decision was taken to reciprocate by withdrawing the visa exemption which New Zealand passport holders enjoy," he said.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE: New Zealand travellers now need visas to enter SA - DHA
But New Zealand's new visa requirement might just be the tip of the iceberg. Gigaba also alluded that the Department of Home Affairs will impose similar, more stringent visa requirement for other counties in future.
"We have noted that in recent times, a number of countries have imposed visa restrictions on South African passport holders. And in the past, we have not reciprocated due to reasons including tourism considerations particularly in the light of the new immigration regulations that we are implementing," he says.
He also said that Home Affairs has noted inconveniences experienced by South Africa citizens given the visa restrictions imposed on us, as well as the reputational risks of being perceived as unsafe by some countries.
"I have therefore directed the department to look closely at the decisions of these countries and advise accordingly whether or not South Africa should reciprocate also in these instances," Gigaba says.
He insists that is not the department's policy to deter foreign visitors or to reduce the flow of tourists, business people and other travellers to our country.
"Immigration, particularly for development, is high on our agenda," Gigaba says, and so also the current endeavour to comprehensively review the international migration policy.
HAVE YOU READ: SA minors' passports to change from February 2017
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)
What to read next on Traveller24:
- New Zealand travellers now need visas to enter SA - DHA
- DHA announces plans to curb delays, streamline immigration at airports this festive season
- Home Affairs finds New Zealand's 'fake SA passports' visa backlash unfortunate