COVID-19: South African immigration and travel rules

On October 13, 2020 / by Michaela / Leave a comment

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South Africa has recently moved to Lockdown Level 1 – which has some changes that will also affect travel to and from South Africa. There have been many developments over the recent weeks when it comes to immigration and travel rules. The aim was to open up the tourism industry and to promote trade in order to stimulate South Africa’s economy. Here are some important immigration and travel rules that you should know about.

VFS Global has opened for submissions

As of 22 September 2020, VFS has opened for submissions in South Africa. Not all visa services have resumed. For now, VFS only accepts temporary residency and waiver applications. You are also able to collect the outcome of your application, however, you must book an appointment to do so at the relevant VFS application centre. Unfortunately, VFS is not accepting permanent residency applications yet but these and other visa services will resume over time.

Visas have been extended until 31 January 2021

VFS Global is not accepting visitor visa extensions at the moment. Instead, the South African government has catered for all those who have expired during lockdown. All legally issued visas have been granted an extension until 31 January 2021. Holders of these visas can stay in South Africa under the current conditions of their visa until 31 January 2021. Those who depart prior to this date can do so without being declared an undesirable person.

The borders have opened

As of 1 October 2020, the borders have opened for international travel. With that being said, the South African government has classified countries as high, medium and low risk. High-risk countries are not able to travel to South Africa at the moment. Please note that the list will be updated every two weeks and can be viewed in full here. Those countries that are in the medium or low risk group are able to travel to South Africa. However, travellers will have to adhere to the relevant safety protocols. This would include a negative COVID-19 test not older than 72 hours at the time of departure for South Africa.

If the passport of the traveller from a high risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low risk country.

If you’re looking to use an Immigration Consultant for all your immigration needs, make sure you get in touch with us today!

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Michaela heads up the marketing department for Initiate Holdings. An expat herself she understands the unique challenges immigrants are facing in South Africa.

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