If you’ve travelled to any of the countries not featured on the list of places that your South African passport gets you into visa-free, then you’re familiar with the stress of a visa application.
It can be a forest killer, and paper applications always leave room for error. One lost page and it all goes to hell.
South Africa is on a mission to attract investors and highly skilled people who can contribute to the growth of the economy.
One of the ways that Home Affairs is helping with this mission is through the introduction of an e-visa system.
Welcome to the 21st century. We’ve been waiting.
BusinessTech spoke to Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza about the testing phase for the new e-visas, which will be implemented this month.
“The pilot will be conducted with Kenya first at the OR Tambo and Lanseria airports,” he said. “At the end of the month, we will evaluate the project and look at which other countries to expand the e-visa system to.”
He also says that the system will be efficient and user-friendly, with the entire application process taking roughly 20 minutes.
This sounds promising. Maybe we could get the same system for all applications at Home Affairs? If it only took 20 minutes to apply for an ID book, we’d be a much happier country.
Back to the visas.
Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi said that his department is also lowering turnaround times for critical work skills visas, which are now issued within four weeks in 88.5% of applications.
By comparison, business and general work visas are issued within eight weeks in 98% of applications, he said.
Visa requirements have also been simplified for countries like India and China, both of which are key markets for tourism in South Africa.
If you’re wondering how this affects you as a citizen, you’ll be happy to hear that negotiations are in the works to make more countries accessible to us, visa-free.
South Africa recently waived visas for travellers from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, New Zealand, Cuba, Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe.
While countries such as Qatar and Ghana already have visa-free or visa on arrival agreements with South Africa, it would be considered a serious boon if South Africans could travel visa-free to countries such as the UAE and New Zealand.
Home Affairs is hoping that by allowing certain countries to travel here visa-free, we will, in turn, be able to visit those same countries visa-free.
Sounds good to me.
We’ll keep you updated.
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