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Coronavirus travel restrictions for South African

On March 18, 2020 / by Sherone Lewis / Leave a comment

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The Department of International Relations and Cooperation issued a travel advisory with more information on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Coronavirus travel restrictions.

All entry into South Africa, regardless of compliance with visa requirements, of foreign travellers with ordinary passports, travelling from or transiting through high-risk countries will be prohibited until further notice. As at the time of writing, the countries declared as high-risk were:

  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom,
  • United States of America

The restrictions apply to persons who have travelled through these countries. Passport holders from high-risk countries, who have not been in any high-risk country in the past 20 days, will be allowed entry into South Africa. Any foreign national who has visited a high-risk country in the past 20 days will be denied access to South Africa.
All travellers who have entered South Africa from a high-risk country since 15 February 2020 will be required to present themselves for testing.
Foreign nationals affected by the travel restrictions who need to travel to South Africa for emergencies or other compelling reasons, may apply for a visa regardless of the restrictions. Such visa applications will be considered on merit and a case-by-case basis.
Changes to visa rules
Of the high-risk countries, only individuals from China and Iran were previously required to apply for a visa before travelling to South Africa. During January and February 2020, around 8 000 visas were issued to Chinese nationals and around 40 were granted to Iranian nationals. The visas of these individuals who have not yet entered South Africa will now be revoked.
Individuals from medium-risk countries, such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Portugal, may apply for visas, but must include proof of being medically cleared for COVID-19. If cleared of COVID-19, then visas will be issued to individuals from these countries if their applications are good and proper in all other respects.

Passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America were previously visa exempt. Individuals from these countries must now apply for visas. If the visas are not granted, then individuals may not enter the country.
Individuals who have been in high-risk countries during the past 20 days will not be issued with visas, even if they have been medically-cleared of COVID-19. Foreign nationals presently in South Africa who fear travelling back to countries of origin due to COVID-19 will be allowed to extend their visas until July. Good reasons must accompany extension requests.
If you’re looking for assistance with your visa, we’re here to help! By using an immigration consultant, you also get the peace of mind of knowing that your application is in the hands of someone up to date on all immigration legislation. Our immigration consultants know relocation procedures back to front. Make sure you get in touch with us today!

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