New visa requirements for high-risk countries

Six high-risk countries – which, to date have enjoyed visa-free entry into South Africa – will now be required to apply for visas.

They are Italy, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.

“It is through these visa applications that we will be able to control their movement in and out of the country,” said the Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, speaking at an inter-ministerial media briefing held earlier today.

The briefing was held following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a travel ban on a total of eight high-risk international countries. He said Chinese and Iranian nationals would have their existing visas revoked, with no further applications to be processed.

“Between January and February we had issued 8 389 visas to China and they will be revoked immediately,” said Motsoaledi. “In the same period, we issued 429 visas to Iran and they will be revoked as well.”

Tourists from medium-risk countries – Portugal, Hong Kong and Singapore – still required visas to enter South Africa and would be subjected to high-intensity screening, he added.

“We will also require that foreign nationals from the medium-risk countries provide a medical certificate that they have been tested and are clear of COVID-19.”

“Those already in the country on study visas or work visas and the like, will not be affected in any way,” Motsoaledi elaborated. “Things will only change if they want to go home to one of the countries identified as high risk.”

There is no clarity on when these bans will be revoked, with Ramaphosa highlighting that these travel  policies would be “continually revised” as the levels of risk changed.


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