Lonely Planet Writer

A new visa system is about to make travel to South Africa smoother

If a trip to South Africa has always been on your bucket list, then you’ll be happy to now that new visa regulations have just been announced that will make travelling there much easier.

The new regulations for a South African visa have been announced this week. Photo by Herman du Plessis/Getty Images

The new amendments have been announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa and further explained by the Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, and they’re all expected to help boost tourism— especially for tourists travelling with minors.

Up until now, to travel with a minor in South Africa a parent needed the minor’s unabridged birth certificate with details of both parents, and a sworn affidavit from the other parent. This requirement “has been a hurdle that damages our competitiveness as a destination,” said Chief executive of South African Tourism Services Association David Frost in a statement. “It creates a barrier to entry for a prospective tourist.” And so, those requirements have been scrapped.

Looks like getting to the colourful streets of Cape Town will be much easier. Photo by mj17/Budget Travel

The country is also planning to introduce multiple-entry visa applications (which will last ten years for visitors from Brazil, Russia, India and China and three years for frequent travellers from other countries) and start delving into the realms of the e-visa. The e-visa programme will start this autumn and will be piloted with travellers to and from New Zealand, but of course, the hope is to make it efficient for as many tourists as possible. Together with the e-visa, South Africa’s biggest airports, Cape Town International and Lanseria International, will introduce e-gates as well.

South Africa is also working to grant its visa-free entry to nineteen more countries— among these are other African countries like Algeria, Egypt and Morocco; Middle Eastern countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon; Belarus in Europe and Cuba in the Caribbean.

Cape Town airport will be one of the first to get new e-gates for faster border controls. Photo by kwalker99/Budget Travel

If you’re now ready to pack your bags and head for Cape Town, you can visit the official visa application page of the South African Department of Home Affairs here.