Beautiful South Africa has more than the Big Five to offer visitors. This, the most Southern tip of the continent and the doorway to the rest of Africa, is also home to unique national parks, 46 bright Blue Flag beaches, bustling cities bursting with culture and 10 UNESCO heritage sites – making it the perfect travel destination.
But did you know that the South African Visitor’s Visa is one of the easiest to obtain? Announced in last week’s budget speech Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said that even more Visitor Visa red tape will soon be cut in an effort to entice more world travelers to visit the country which is already attracting 10 million visitors a year!
If you are planning a trip to South Africa it is best to speak to a professional about what travel documents you will need but we came up with a list of South African Visitor Visa facts you may want to take note of.
- Passport: Visitors to South Africa need to have a passport that is valid for at least 30 days longer than the length of their intended stay.
- There should be no less than two blank pages in your passport.
- Find out if you need a visa: In some cases you may not need a visa! Consult home affairs' list for an up to date list of visa exempt countries. Currently special conditions apply for travelers from over 50 countries around the world. This means that if you are visiting South Africa using a passport of one of the exempt countries you may not need to apply for a visa before traveling to the country. Check with your immigration / travel agent if this is the case
- Applications in person: Regulations require visa and permit applicants to present their application in person
- Apply for the right visa: If you have a temporary visa (tourist visa of less than 90 days), you will not be able to change the status of these visas while in South Africa. Foreign nationals will have to return to their country of origin and reapply for the relevant long term visas.
- Have it extended: If you wish to extend your tourist visa or existing residence visa, this must be done no later than 60 days prior to the expiration of the current visa
- New World Immigration can, in some instances, have a 90 day visitor’s visa extended by another 90 days
- Don’t’ over stay: Visitors who stay in the country after the expiry of their permit will be declared "undesirable" and will not be granted to South Africa for up to five years
- Travelling with Minors: While the South African laws about traveling with minors have been somewhat relaxed after strict new rules in 2014 saw tourists turning back home, it is still advisable to make sure that your child has a valid visa and passport. Make very sure you are able to present an unabridged birth certificate for every child with the information there-on matching your own passport information.
- If you’re travelling with children but without their other parent you will be required to present an official Parental Consent Affidavit from the Department of Home Affairs. The non-travelling parent must complete and sign this form. This document MUST be certified in order for it to be valid. It must also be accompanied by a certified copy of the non-travelling parent’s ID or passport.
Source: Independent Online, Wikipedia, South African Department of Home Affairs, travelers24, capetown.travel, Times Live