Visa-free travel: DHA to release details on eased travel restrictions for China

2018-07-26 06:30 - Selene Brophy
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Beijing is pressing down on airlines to rename Taiwan as part of China. (Photo: iStock)

The details around eased visa-restrictions for certain types of travel to China for South Africans are yet to be released, following the announcement of high-level agreements with China ahead of the BRICS summit.

DHA spokesperson Thabo Mokgola told Traveller24, "The Minister will unpack the specific details of the MOU at a date to be announced soon."

This follows the announcement that South Africa and China have signed several agreements, including relaxed visa requirements for "certain categories of visitors", according to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies. 

The move to ease travel restrictions is expected to target business travellers, as investment between SA and China grow, following a commitment by China to invest some R200bn locally.

Currently, South Africans require a visa to enter mainland China, with the processing time estimated at a week.  The costs according to the Chinese Embassy in South Africa are as follows:
  • Single entry visa: R250
  • 2 entry visa: R380
  • Multiple entry visa valid for 6 months: R500
  • Multiple entry visa valid for one year: R750

A group of teachers were recently detained in China for travelling on the incorrect visa. The group alleged they were incorrectly advised by their travel agent to travel on study visas, in order to obtain the work visas once there - Read News24's coverage here.

In February, China unveiled plans to permit visa-free travel to its southern island of Hainan, as Beijing pushes international tourism to the tropical destination in another step to open up the region.

The new policy excluded SA at the time when it kick-started in May and allows travellers from 59 countries to visit Hainan for 30 days visa free.  Other BRICS country Russia was included, as are the United States, France, Britain and Germany.  The new rule gives Hainan less stringent visa requirements than in the rest of Mainland China, where travellers have to apply for visas through Chinese consulates abroad. 

South Africans do not need a visa to visit Hong Kong.

SEE: Quick guide to Hong Kong: Visa-free travel for South Africans