DHA monitoring e-visa pilots closely - as China, India and Nigeria pegged for testing in early 2020

2019-12-03 06:46
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BEIJING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 18: The Palace Museum is

BEIJING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 18: The Palace Museum is illuminated for the upcoming Lantern Festival on February 18, 2019 in Beijing, China. The Palace Museum opens to the public at night for the first time in 94 years to celebrate the Lantern Festival, which falls on February 19. (Photo by Wang Tiezhong/Qianlong.com/VCG via Getty Images)

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has started testing the electronic visa application system, or more commonly known as e-Visas, ahead of the festive season.

To start off, visitors from Kenya to South Africa can now apply for visas online with the DHA, making travel much easier, it does not require the person to visit a South African embassy. Once fully rolled-out, prospective visitors will be able to apply online for visas, at home, office or place of work.

As part of the pilot, a team of DHA immigration and IT officials are on an official visit to Kenya. This team is scheduled to return to Kenya next week, on 09 December 2019.

READ: South Africans can now visit Tunisia visa-free + ports of entry hours extended for festive season

"The first Kenyan tourist who applied for the visitors’ visa on the new e-Visa system arrived yesterday afternoon (Monday) and more are expected this week as part of the pilot. We are continuously monitoring this pilot process to ensure that user experience is not compromised," says the DHA.

"In early 2020, we’ll include China, India and Nigeria to the pilot which will run until March 2020."

READ: SA scraps visas for new list of countries, including New Zealand and UAE   

South Africa has been rolling out much-needed reforms to its visa regime, with reciprocal visa now in place for Tunisa. Earlier in October the DHA confirmed visa-free entry for residents of New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with visa waivers in the pipeline for Ghana, Cuba, and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Africa's visa openess for pan-African travel

According to the Africa Visa Openness Report 2019 - created by the African Development Bank and the African Union Commission - the continent was the second-fastest-growing tourism region in 2018, with a growth of 5.6%, against a global average of 3.9%.

INFOGRAPHIC: Which African country is the most visa-friendly for other Africans?

Part of this includes a will from many of the continent's countries to improve their visa regimes, especially for fellow Africans. The report also created the Africa Visa Openness Index to rank how each country is faring.

The two top countries that offer visa-free travel to all Africans are Seychelles and Benin, while the worst-performing country was Equatorial Guinea. South Africa ranked in 35th place.

From 2018, 87% of African countries either improved or maintained their score, while 13% decreased their score.

READ: Travel Africa like an African

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