When peak holiday periods roll round it is not unusual for Acsa
or various airlines to issue a travel advisory warning, about possible
congestion and for passengers to arrive or check-in early, as passenger volumes spike.
Certain airports, such as Gauteng’s hub OR Tambo International, have fallen victim to immigration congestion during these busy travel
seasons, especially on the arrival immigration processing side, with immigration manpower being an issue the Department of Home Affairs is all
too aware of.
READ: SA visa changes: We will not contribute to child trafficking and required travel consent remains for SA children
e-Gates pilots planned for 2019
This makes the e-gates announcement by DHA Minister, Malusi
Gigaba on Tuesday highly anticipated.
will begin piloting e-Gates at OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka International
Airports by 2019,” says Gigaba, who confirmed it would allow returning
South African citizens, as well as certain categories of trusted travellers, to
be processed electronically rather than having to interact with an immigration
expected result is an “increase in efficiencies and convenience, and improved
facilitation of movement of frequent travellers going through our international
says it will also create the capacity to service those that still require
manual assistance through physical availability of immigration officers.
Who are trusted travellers?
Gigaba also announced pilots related to e-visa and Long
term multiple entry visas.
The DHA says in order to further ease movement of
travellers, for purposes of tourism, business meetings and academic exchange, it
will be introducing long term multiple entry visas for frequent travellers:
- A three-year multiple entry visa for frequent
trusted travellers to South Africa, and
- A ten-year long term multiple entry visa for
business people and academics from Africa.
New Zealand e-Visa
pilot to start in 2019
Gigaba stressed that South Africa’s
introduction of an e-visa would significantly contribute to easing travel to
South Africa. He says the development of e-Visa is at an advanced stage and will be piloted in
New Zealand, by April 2019.
This is significant in that South Africa introduced a visa
requirement in 2016, after New Zealand restricted travel for SA citizens. The
result had seen a 17% drop in travellers to SA from New Zealand in 2017.
“Once the concerns identified during the pilot phase have
been addressed, it will be rolled out in other countries,” he says. These countries have
yet to be revealed,
Travel growth to South Africa hampered by onerous visa application
processes includes the world’s fastest growing travel population, the Chinese. While
travel for ordinary passport holders between South African and China will still
need to apply for a visa, Gigaba confirmed it would be piloting bio-metrics on
arrival for Chinese citizens.
“Our agreement with China is based on what has been put on the
table by both countries - visa waiver for ordinary passport holders is not on
the cards for both countries right now.”
A list of visa exemptions and requirements is available
under the Immigration section of the Home Affairs website – Click here for more
Six core changes to SA’s
visa regime in a nutshell:
says the amendments will have a noticeable and positive impact on tourism,
trade and investment in the Western Cape and South Africa for a number of reasons.
Cape Town and the Western Cape's Official Tourism, Trade and Investment
Promotion Agency it plans to host a visa
stakeholder engagement - to allow for the details of the amendments to
be elaborated upon for Western Cape businesses and to provide support for
the implementation of these changes.
- Increasing the number of
countries that will be visa exempt, particularly the Middle East,
will help unlock new tourism markets for our province and country, helping
boost visitor numbers;
implementation of 3 to 10 year multiple visas especially for China and
India is critical for the growth of our economy, with China boasting the 2nd
largest economy in the world and the biggest tourism spend globally, and India
ranked the 7th largest economy with a rapidly growing tourism spend - ranked
17th according to UNWTO;
the requirement for visa applications to be made in person in India and
China will significantly increase ease of travel – travellers wishing to
visit South Africa currently have to apply in person often having to
travel great distances to the very few visa application stations in these
of documentary requirements for minors travelling with foreign nationals
– the strict requirements for parental consent and unabridged birth
certificates caused major upsets for bona fide travellers visiting South
Africa with children;
review of the critical skills list and offer of permanent residence for
foreign students studying critical skills degrees is an important measure to
ensure that South Africa remains a strong contender in the global skills
economy, and potentially a big boost for our universities and tertiary
announced to ease congestion at ports of entry particularly land ports could
have a significant impact on South Africa’s trade with the rest of Africa
and ease of doing business on the continent; and, implementation of
e-visas and e-gates will ease congestion and enhance efficiency at boarders,
making South Africa a more attractive destination to visit and do business with.
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