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Expats returning to South Africa under exceptional circumstances

On July 22, 2020 / by Sherone Lewis / Leave a comment

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Expats are now allowed to enter South Africa during the National State of Disaster under exceptional circumstances. This follows the announced amended regulations by the Minister of Department of Home Affairs. Before the amendment, only South Africans or Permanent Residency holders were able to return to South Africa with special repatriation flights.

The Department of Home Affairs now allows long-term temporary residency visa holders, such as those on intra-company transfer and critical skill work visas, to return to South Africa. However, certain categories of expats remain excluded from entering South Africa. These include expats who are travelling from visa exempt countries for short-term visits, which include business trips; and holiday / tourism, as well as expats traveling from high-risk countries.

Current high-risk countries are the following:

  • China
  • United States of America (USA)
  • United Kingdom (UK)
  • Germany
  • Iran
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • South Korea

The minimum requirements for a successful application, would typically include:

  • Compelling motivation outlining need to enter South Africa
  • Copy of passport title page
  • Copy of temporary residency visa for South Africa

The application is then submitted directly to the Minister of the Department of Home Affairs, which subsequently undergoes adjudication by a joint multi-departmental committee meeting held once a week.

The approval of these applications is strictly to the discretion of the Minister of the DHA and his supporting office. This approval must be obtained prior to scheduling any flight bookings to ensure a secure entry into South Africa.

Once the DHA has approved an application for entry to South Africa, the expat will be required to undergo prescribed screening and quarantine measures. Accordingly, these new regulations may aim to provide relief towards South African Employers and their current global mobility- and risk policies that have been implemented in effort to curb COVID-19.

If you’re looking for some visa or immigration assistance, make sure you get in touch with one of our qualified immigration consultants today!

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