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South Africa’s visa reform welcomes more travellers

By July 17, 2019January 24th, 2023FinGlobal

South Africa’s visa reform welcomes more travellers

July 17, 2019


With the announcement of the latest additions to South Africa’s list of visa-free countries, the Department of Home Affairs aims to not only ease visa access to South Africa for citizens of these countries, but also to assist South African Tourism in achieving their 5-in-5 goal, which includes an increase in international tourist arrivals by 4 million in the next five years.


The new list of countries that will enjoy the South African visa waivers forms part of South Africa’s revised visa requirements and will certainly boost tourism and stimulate growth in the industry as it improves the overall appeal of South Africa as a travel destination.


Who needs a visa for South Africa

Seven names were added to the list of countries that will be able to travel to South Africa without applying for a visa, namely New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe. With the inclusion of NZ, it is clear that the reciprocal policy that was usually required by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), now falls away. This bold policy decision is in the best interest of travel and tourism to South Africa as it comes after a significant dwindling number of international tourist arrivals, and repeated calls for visa reform from many role players, including President Cyril Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) in February and June this year.


The full implementation of the new list is expected to realise in November 2019, and this will coincide with the planned launch of the electronic visa system for South Africa. This new efficient online e-visa system, eVisa, will undoubtedly also boost the influx of travellers as it will make it easier for foreign visitors to obtain a visa to travel to South Africa. In addition, eVisa is also expected to make it easier for South African companies to acquire foreign employees with specialised and critical skills.


South Africa electronic visa

The pilot eVisa scheme will soon start with a few select countries, and will include applications for temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas, applications for waivers, and notifications to the applicant via email. To compliment the introduction of the eVisa system, South Africa is also developing a new biometric movement control system at South African airports, starting with e-gates at Cape Town International.


With the relaxation of South Africa’s visa regime and the many convenient measures that will aid the flow of international travellers to and from South Africa, it is natural to wonder how other countries treat South Africans travelling or emigrating overseas. As of 2 July 2019, South African citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 99 countries and territories. For a complete list of these visa-free countries, countries that require visas form South African citizens, and general assistance with your application for a relevant visa, you can contact DIRCO directly.


On the other side of the coin, quoted numbers differ, but it is safe to say that over the last three decades, thousands of South Africans have either emigrated, or are permanently living abroad. This process is more complicated than applying for a tourist or business visa, as each person’s circumstances are unique. In fact, South African emigrants will definitely need specialist advice and an expert cross-border financial services provider to unlock South African wealth in their new country.


As a leading provider of cross-border financial services and a Reserve Bank-approved foreign exchange intermediary, FinGlobal can assist with all aspects of financial emigration, including retirement annuity transfers, financial emigration, foreign exchange services, and a full suite of other financial services for South African emigrants. In short, we offer a safe, simple, yet comprehensive solution for the international flow of funds from South Africa.


FinGlobal is a cross-border financial services company that provides premier financial emigration services to South Africans all over the world. FinGlobal is a licensed South African financial services provider and proud partner of Bidvest Financial Services.



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